FAYETTEVILLE — East Clinton needed every point of a huge first half run Saturday night in its 72-69 non-league win over Fayetteville-Perry
Trailing 18-17 with 6:36 left in the first half, East Clinton outscored Fayetteville 20-4 over the next 3:11. The Astros built a huge lead and appeared to be cruising to victory.
“We wanted to make this an up-and-down game,” EC head coach Tony Berlin said. “We did that in the first half. In the second half, our press didn’t work as well.”
Fayetteville (6-6) cut a 15-point deficit to eight with 4:40 remaining in the third quarter. Then, the first of two huge momentum swings resulting from technical fouls took place.
Zak Smyth, who sat out the entire second quarter with three fouls, was called for a charge with 4:06 left in the third. Angered by the call, he was then hit with a technical, fouling him out of the game.
East Clinton’s JT McCarren made both technical free throws. Matt Mitchell buried a three on the ensuing possession. Three more McCarren free throws followed, and EC had pushed the lead to its largest of the game, 52-36, with 3:04 left in the third.
East Clinton’s advantage remained double figures until midway through the fourth quarter. A Clayton Ramey three pulled the Rockets within 12 with 4:47 left. Fayetteville took a timeout after the shot was made.
During the time when the teams separated, McCarren lost his cool. According to Berlin, someone said something to the EC guard. McCarren was hit with a technical foul.
CJ McCulley made the technical free throws, followed by a three-point play on the ensuing possession just 20 seconds later. It was an 8-0 Rocket run in 20 seconds.
The run went to 10-0 as the EC lead dwindled to five with 3:58 left. That was when Wyatt Floyd caught fire for the Astros.
Floyd scored back-to-back field goals to push the Astro lead back to nine, 64-55, with 2:50 left.
Fayetteville got the game down to a one-possession game twice in the final minute. Each time, the Astros hit huge free throws. Floyd and McCarren made 5 of 6 from the line in the final 47.3 seconds to help the Astros hang on.
McCarren led the Astros with 25 points, 11 rebounds and four steals. Floyd had 21 points.
In addition, Berlin was pleased with the play of Brendan Jenkins. He had nine points and five steals. He had a huge deflection on an attempted lob that led to a Floyd basket at the other end.
“Brendan Jenkins was excellent,” Berlin said. “Diving on the floor. As a program, we’re taking charges left and right. It’s a snowball effect. When Jenkins does that, it’s contagious.”
Christopher Murphy led the Rockets with 20 points and eight rebounds. McCulley added 18 points and five rebounds.
It was a game filled with fouls and free throws. Fayetteville committed 33 fouls, while the Astros were whistled for 21. East Clinton shot 43 free throws, making 27, while the Rockets made 16 of 26.
January 20, 2018
@Fayetteville-Perry High School
East Clinton 72, Fayetteville 69
(72) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Brendan Jenkins 3-2-1-9, JT McCarren 6-0-13-25, Alex Pence 1-0-0-2, Dylan Michael 3-2-0-8, Wyatt Floyd 5-0-11-21, Jacob Olds 1-0-1-3, Matt Mitchell 1-1-1-4. TOTALS 20-5-27-72.
(69) FAYETTEVILLE (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Colin Conner 1-0-0-2, Bowen Doane 1-0-3-5, Luke Wiederhold 5-0-1-11, Christopher Murphy 8-1-3-20, CJ McCulley 5-2-6-18, Clayton Ramey 4-0-2-10, Zak Smyth 1-0-1-3. TOTALS 25-3-16-69.
FIELD GOALS: EC 20/43 (McCarren 6/15, Floyd 5/11, Michael 3/5, Jenkins 3/7); F 25/49 (Murphy 8/15, McCulley 5/8, Wiederhold 5/11)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: EC 5/11 (Michael 2/4, Jenkins 2/4); F 3/6 (McCulley 2/2)
FREE THROWS: EC 27/43 (McCarren 13/19, Floyd 11/18); F 16/26 (McCulley 6/6)
REBOUNDS: EC 28 (McCarren 11, Pence 5, Jenkins 3); F 34 (Murphy 8, Wiederhold 7, Ramey 7, McCulley 5)
ASSISTS: EC 12 (Jenkins 3, Floyd 3); F 8 (Murphy 3, McCulley 3)
STEALS: EC 11 (Jenkins 5, McCarren 4); F 10 (Doane 4, McCulley 3)
BLOCKED SHOTS: EC 0; F 4
TURNOVERS: EC 17; F 21
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @ByMattSexton