By Zach James Herald Assistant Sports Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — 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.
The River Kings didn’t choose to lay down, however. Clinton got within three points early in the third quarter, then halfway through the fourth quarter, but the Warriors responded with a basket each time.
“I thought we had a couple turnovers down the stretch that hurt us the most,” Lawrence said. “We got stagnant on offense, and I don’t think we managed end-of-game situations well for the first time all season.
The Warriors had two players who were in the top 10 of the Mississippi Valley Conference scoring, and neither had a quiet night. Jared Printy had a team-high 20 points (nine points off 3-pointers) while Maurice Arrington scored 17 points.
“Jared likes to do one thing, and one thing only,” Lawrence said. “He likes to come off of those screens, and see if he can get an open shot, and he had a few too many tonight.”
Meanwhile, Brady Ernst posted a Clinton-high 23 points that included shooting 9-of-14 from the free-throw line in his second game back from being sidelined by a hand injury.
Clinton bids farewell to three seniors — Jalen Jones, Robbie Thacker and Jon Cady. Jones said it was an honor to put on a Clinton uniform for four years.
“It meant a lot,” Jones said. “We started out a little rough, but we battled through it, and we had a really nice season; it just didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.”
Lawrence echoed the commitments those three have gone through.
“I’m really proud of those guys for sticking it out through the get-go when things were down, those three bought in and knew we could win,” Lawrence said. “They put in full effort every single day they were here, and we finally sent them out with a winning record.”
Jones will continue to play basketball at the collegiate level with the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks.
CEDAR RAPIDS WASHINGTON 68, CLINTON 59
WASHINGTON (6-16) — Montaves Anderson 2 2-4 6, C.J. Nelson 0 0-0 0, Drew Hoeger 1 2-2 4, Razadon Taylor 2 0-0 5, Reid Snitker 0 0-0 0, Jake Kramer 2 4-8 8, Maurice Arrington 6 5-9 17, Jared Printy 7 3-5 20, Steven Kramer 1 0-0 3, Tyler Soenksen 1 0-0 2, Terry Jenkins 0 0-0 0, Keegan Moore 0 1-4 1. Totals 23 17-32 68.
CLINTON (13-7) — Robbie Thacker 0 0-0 0, Zach Pope 3 0-0 9, Jalen Jones 6 3-3 15, Jon Cady 0 2-4 2, Colin Nelson 0 0-0 0, Ashley Jones 0 0-0 0, Derrick Howard 3 2-4 8, Cole Pennock 1 0-0 2, Justin Horst 0 0-0 0, Brady Ernst 7 9-14 23. Totals 20 16-25 59.
Washington 23 13 14 18 — 68
Clinton 13 18 11 17 — 59
3-point goals — C.R. Washington 5 (Printy 3, Taylor, Kramer); Clinton 3 (Pope 3). Total fouls — C.R. Washington 22, Clinton 22. Fouled out — J. Jones, Nelson.