LEES CREEK — East Clinton scratched and clawed Saturday night to hang in with an experienced Fayetteville boys basketball team.
However, the Rockets dialed up the pressure in the third quarter and pulled away for a 61-43 victory over the Astros.
Fayetteville tried to pull away from the Astros in the first half on several occasions, only to see East Clinton answer. A 6-0 Rocket run ended the first half with Fayetteville leading 27-21.
East Clinton came out of the locker room and scored the first seven points of the third quarter to take its first, and as it turned out, only lead of the game. EC led 28-27 with 4:30 left in the third.
Over the final four minutes of the third quarter, Fayetteville extended its pressure defense into the backcourt and started forcing Astro miscues.
What was a one-point Astro lead turned into a 12-point deficit by quarter’s end thanks to a 17-4 Rocket run. East Clinton got no closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
Fayetteville forced East Clinton into 22 turnovers, but 16 of those came in the second half. In addition, the Rockets shot 50 percent in the second half (13 of 26). The combination proved too much for the Astros to overcome.
CJ McCulley shared top scoring honors for the Rockets with Bowen Doane. McCulley had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Doane had 17 points and five steals. Blake Coffman added seven points and 10 rebounds.
Doane had seven of his 17 points during the critical 17-4 Rocket run. McCulley had six and Levi Wiederhold had the other four.
Matt Mitchell led the Astros with 15 points. Branson Smith and Colton Vadnais each had nine points.
East Clinton struggled on the boards against the taller Fayetteville post players. The Rockets outrebounded the Astros 40-23, including 14-3 on the offensive glass.
Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019
@ East Clinton High School
Fayetteville 61, East Clinton 43
(61) FAYETTEVILLE (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Levi Wiederhold 4-1-0-9, Bowen Doane 7-1-2-17, Christopher Murphy 4-0-1-9, CJ McCulley 6-0-5-17, Blake Coffman 3-0-1-7, Hayden Brockman 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 25-2-9-61.
(43) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Branson Smith 3-0-3-9, Austin Rolfe 1-0-0-2, Jared Smith 1-0-0-2, Dylan Peterman 1-0-4-6, Matt Mitchell 6-3-0-15, Colton Vadnais 4-1-0-9. TOTALS 16-4-7-43.
FIELD GOALS: F 25/53 (Doane 7/14, McCulley 6/12, Wiederhold 4/5, Murphy 4/9); EC 16/42 (Mitchell 6/11, Vadnais 4/7)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: F 2/8; EC 4/19 (Mitchell 3/8)
FREE THROWS: F 9/18 (McCulley 5/8); EC 7/13 (Peterman 4/6, B. Smith 3/3)
REBOUNDS: F 40 (McCulley 11, Coffman 10, Brockman 5); EC 23 (J. Smith 6, Vadnais 4, B. Smith 4)
ASSISTS: F 11 (Murphy 5, Coffman 3); EC 10 (J. Smith 5)
STEALS: F 14 (Doane 5, Coffman 3); EC 10
BLOCKED SHOTS: F 1 (Murphy); EC 3 (B. Smith 3)
TURNOVERS: F 15; EC 22
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton.