HILLSBORO — Going ice cold in the fourth quarter, the East Clinton boys’ basketball team dropped its season opener, 50-38, to Greenfield McClain in first-round action Friday of the fifth annual Ohio Valley Hoops Classic held at Hillsboro High School.
The Astros stayed right with the Tigers through the first three periods, and held a one-point going into the final quarter. But the Tigers caught fire, reeling off seven unanswered points in the first 90 seconds of the final stanza taking a 32-27 lead, which prompted EC head coach Tony Berlin to call time out, hoping to get his squad back on track.
Unfortunately, it did not break the Tigers’ momentum.
East Clinton could not find the basket while the Tigers widened the gap to double digits (39-27). The lack of offense was apparent in the second half, as McClain seized control of the game, with a 28-19 advantage.
It was a back and forth contest between the two former South Central Ohio League rivals, as McClain held a 9-7 lead at the first quarter break.
The score was tied three times during the second quarter — at 9, 11 and 17 — before the Tigers scored the final three points of the period, taking a 22-19 lead at halftime.
In the third period, it was basically a defensive standoff as the teams combined for 12 points, with EC’s 8-4 edge giving the Astros a one-point advantage at 27-26. A pair of buckets by Matt Mitchell helped put the Astros in the lead.
Behind the shooting of Kobe Penwell who had nine points in the fourth, including a trey the Tigers put the game out of reach at the four minute mark.
Devin Carter led all scorers with 14, and was selected as the Most Outstanding Player of the game. Seven different players were in the scorebook for the Tigers
East Clinton’s high scorer was Colton Vadnais with eight points, while Branson Smith and Gunner Neanover both added seven points each. Mitchell added six points, while Matt Hall came off the bench to add a pair of fourth quarter baskets for EC.
The game marked the debut of McClain High School alumnus Joe B. Stewart — a Wilmington College graduate and former highly successful Hillsboro Indians coach — as the Tigers’ new head coach.
McClain . 9-13-4-24—50
(38) EAST CLINTON (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) B. Smith 3-0-1-7, Rolfe 0-0-1-1, J. Smith 0-0-2-2, peterman 0-1-0-3, Neanover 2-1-0-7, Mitchell 3-0-0-6, Vadnais 4-0-0-8, Hall 2-0-0-4.
Team Totals: 14-2-4-38.
(50) GREENFIELD (2fg-3fg-ft-tp) Penwell, 3-0=1-0-9, Cockerill 1-1-1-6, Banks 2-0-2-6, Carter 5-0-4-14, Schlep 2-0-0-4, Mischal 3-0-0-6, Dehecq 2-0-1-5.
Team Totals: 18-2-8-50.