CLINTON — Once the playoffs roll around, throw win-loss records out the window.
Cedar Rapids Washington, which entered Monday’s Class 4A substate quarterfinal with just five wins, came into Yourd Gym and defeated Clinton 69-58.
“If you watched that team tonight, there’s no way you would think that team won just five ballgames all year,” Clinton coach Nick Lawrence said. “They get after it, have some nice pieces; they did to us what we want to do to our opponent.”
The Warriors started fast on an 11-3 run, and once the Warriors started making virtually every shot, the River Kings knew it was going to be tough getting out of a deep, early rut.
“Our defense got torched in the first quarter,” Lawrence said. “We came out on our heels; they started making some tough shots, but we just got steamrolled.
“I give credit to the guys for chipping away and not giving in, but it was just too much.”
Washington scored 10 more points in the quarter, making the lead 23-13.
“It was really tough to stop them in the first quarter; it’s tough to stop a team that has things rolling already,” Clinton senior Jalen Jones said.
Washington wasn’t done making its shots left and right. The Warriors started another quick 7-3 run in the first three minutes of the second quarter.
“We never had the intensity starting out,” Jones said. “They were hitting their shots and started getting comfortable.”
“We just had missed box-outs, and a big turnover at times, and we looked out-of-sorts tonight,” Lawrence added.
Lawrence didn’t think it was a lack of effort that ended the River Kings’ season. Instead, he thought there was a lack of focus during Washington’s two big first-half runs.
“I never questioned the effort of these guys once all season, but it was mental breakdowns. We lost shooters ... just not quite sharp mentally,” Lawrence said.