MT. ORAB — With a 14-3 run to close it, the East Clinton boys basketball team defeated Williamsburg 60-51 Saturday afternoon and won its first tournament game since 2004.
At the Division III Sectional at Western Brown High School, the Astros (12-8) trailed 48-46 with 3:30 to play. After leading most of the game to that point, East Clinton battled through a Williamsburg rally to turn things around.
“We have to fight,” EC head coach Phil Shori said after the game. “If we keep that mentality, we’re going to be in every ballgame.”
Leading by as many as 13 in the first half, East Clinton’s lead was gone late in the game but Dakota Collom tied the game then put EC on top for good with a three-pointer, 51-48.
From there, Branson Smith had a steal and basket; Quinten Tolle fed Smith for another two and it was 55-49. After two WHS free throws, Collom’s spinning move in the lane resulted in an easy two for Tolle, who then drew a defensive foul at the other end of the floor for a Wildcat turnover that all but sealed the game.
The win was the third this season over Williamsburg (4-14).
“I’m a big believer in the three-time thing,” Shori said. “It’s hard to get through that mental block (of not being able to beat a team three times in a season).”
The Astros will now face Clermont Northeastern 5 p.m. Tuesday at Western Brown. East Clinton also defeated CNE twice during the SBAAC National Division season.
The last sectional tournament win for EC came during the 2003-04 season against the Stivers School for the Arts by 13 points. EC then lost to Versailles who went on to be Div. III state runnerup.
Branson Smith had 21 points, five assists and six steals to lead EC in each category. Quinten Tolle added 15 points with four rebounds and four assists. Branson Smith and Tolle were a combined 16 for 20 from the floor.
Dakota Collom and Jared Smith grabbed five rebounds each. Jared Smith also had three blocked shots.
Dan Jones led WHS with 16 points and three assists. Jace Canter led with seven rebounds.
The Astros came out hot from the field, hitting 10 of 13 in the first quarter and 15 of 22 in the half. The reason was simply great passing. East Clinton had 11 assists on 15 made field goals.
“We preach it a lot,” Shori said. “There’s bad shots. There’s average shots. There’s good shots. There’s great shots. It’s a tough habit to break … keep moving (the ball). In practice we’ll tell them they can’t score on anything but a layup. It’s been evident but it’s developing that they’re becoming good passers.”
The Astros gave up a few second-chance baskets in the first quarter, but held the lead for good on Branson Smith’s three at the 5:13 mark, 8-6.
But the Wildcats were never far away. East Clinton’s biggest lead was 31-18 on a Tolle to Collom basket.
Feb 20, 2021
Div 3 Sectional
@Western Brown HS
East Clinton 60, Williamsburg 51
(60) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) B. Smith 9-1-2-21 Collom 4-1-2-11 J. Smith 2-0-0-4 Runyon 3-3-0-9 Tolle 7-0-1-15 Arnold 0-0-0-0 Bean 0-0-0-0 TOTALS 25-5-5-60
(51) WILLIAMSBURG (fg-3fg-ft-tp) D. Jones 6-1-3-16 Sunderman 3-3-0-9 Ervin 0-0-0-0 Canter 3-0-1-7 Klopfstein 5-0-0-10 Selm 1-0-2-4 E. Jones 0-0-0-0 Earley 2-1-0-5 TOTALS 20-5-6-51
FIELD GOALS: W 20/51 (D. Jones 6/9); EC 25/41 (B. Smith 9/12, Tolle 7/8)
3 PT FIELD GOALS: W 5/20; EC 5/11
FREE THROWS: W-6/10; EC 5/9
REBOUNDS: EC-23 (J. Smith 5, Collom 5, Tolle 4, B. Smith 3, Runyon 1)
ASSISTS: EC-13 (B. Smith 5, Tolle 4, Collom 3, J. Smith 1); W-6 (D. Jones 3, E. Jones 2)
STEALS: EC-8 (B. Smith 6, J. Smith 1, Tolle 1); W-6 (Klopfstein 2, Sunderman 2)
BLOCKED SHOTS: EC-7 (J. Smith 3, B. Smith 2, Collom 1, Tolle 1); W-2 (E. Jones 2)
TURNOVERS: EC-11, W-11
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports