The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

High School Sports

January 5, 2013

River Kings end 36-game MAC skid

CLINTON — Many basketball coaches and players in Iowa complain about not being allowed to play games during the Christmas holiday break. Clinton boys coach Nick Lawrence counts himself among them.

This year, however, being limited to practice time might have been the best thing for the River Kings.

“This year we kind of limped into break. ... The timing played out fairly well for us,” Lawrence said. “We were able to get back, give the guys a handful of days off to kind of rejuvenate themselves and get back to the basics. We really stressed a lot of fundamentals and conditioning the first couple of days, we got a scrimmage that was definitely beneficial for us. I’m glad things played out the way they did for us.”

The end result certainly went well.

They returned to action Friday night and ended a 36-game losing streak in Mississippi Athletic Conference play, beating Muscatine 68-57 in W.J. Yourd Gymnasium. The last time the River Kings won in MAC play was Feb. 19, 2010, when a Clinton team that went on to play in the state tournament closed the regular season with a 68-61 victory against Davenport North. David Johnson, the standout of that Clinton team and now a starting running back at the University of Northern Iowa, was among the spectators at Friday’s game.

“It feels great,” said Clinton junior Jalen Jones, who led the way with 26 points. “We’ve been together 2 1/2 years and haven’t got a win yet. Today’s finally the day. It feels awesome.”

Clinton (3-6) did beat a MAC opponent — North — earlier this season, but that was at the River City Classic, so it wasn’t a league game.

“I think this one means a little more; it’s a conference game,” said Clinton sophomore Brady Ernst, who finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

It also marked the first conference win for Lawrence, who moved up from an assistant coach on that 2009-10 team and had experienced just one win the past two years.

“It’s a good feeling for me, but every win should be,” Lawrence said. “It shouldn’t matter if it’s your first or 800th.

“The people I’m most happy for is these kids. Some of these kids weren’t around when that streak started. Fortunately for me, I was able to be part of that team that went to the state tournament. These kids have to go to school day in and day out, they’re out and about in the community and they hear some of the negativity that surrounds that. Kudos to them for showing up to practice every day and working hard. I know it can be difficult to tune some of that stuff out, but at the end of the day when you step onto the court and the other 10 to 15 guys that are with you all have your back, that’s what’s important. That’s what matters. I’m happy that these kids have something to show for their efforts now.”

The River Kings had the fans feeling positive for a different result from the start. They raced to an 18-2 lead in the first 6 1/2 minutes.

“We knew they were down a couple of guys from last year,” Jones said. “We just had to come out and attack them hard to begin with and get them in a hole. It felt like we were clicking real well. Passes were falling to each other. We got nice open looks under the basket.”

Freshman Derrick Howard started the early onslaught, scoring in the lane just 18 seconds in after Muscatine’s Tyler Sanders had an open lane to the basket off the tip but missed a layup.

Tyler Thacker added a 3-pointer, then Jones assisted on baskets by Howard and Justin Michel and Clinton was up 9-0.

A layup by Luke Rauenbuehler, who led Muscatine (1-6, 0-4) with 13 points, ended that run, but Clinton responded by reeling off nine more in a row. Howard scored again, Jones made a 3-pointer and Ernst scored back-to-back baskets, the first on one of Jones’ seven assists.

“It’s important to get my guys going to get their confidence up,” Jones said. “It comes down to late games if they’re double-teaming me I can pass off and be confident they’re going to knock it down.”

After the horrendous start, Muscatine did make things interesting. The Muskies scored the final five points of the first quarter and opened the second with a 3-pointer to close within 18-10.

When they trimmed the lead to 20-14, Jones responded with a crowd-thrilling dunk, but the Muskies kept coming.

“We expect that; it’s part of basketball,” Lawrence said. “Teams are going to make runs. It’s how you weather the storm and move forward from that, and I thought our guys did a nice job. Each time they came in and made a run, we responded to it. In years past and games past, we probably would have hung our heads a little bit and created more of a problem for ourselves. But, we didn’t. We found a way to knock down open shots, to get stops, to do what we had to do.”

Muscatine closed within 22-21 on a putback by Rauenbuehler, but Ernst answered in kind at the other end. Later in the half, Rauenbuehler cut it to 26-24 and had a chance to make it a one-point game but missed a free throw — part of string in which the Muskies missed 6 of 9 shots from the free-throw line — and Clinton closed the half on a 4-2 run.

The River Kings started the second half much the same as the first, scoring 13 straight points. Once again, Muscatine tried to whittle the lead away, but it was much more difficult. Finally, the Muskies got 53-49 on a 3-pointer by Tyler Lloyd (12 points) with 3:19 remaining.

This time, Ernst had the answer. He scored back-to-back baskets to push the lead to 57-49, and Muscatine didn’t threaten again.

“I was just in the right place at the right time,” Ernst said. “I just put it in. My teammates set me up and I put them down. We grew the lead back.”

And they finished off an opponent, something they hadn’t done the past 2 1/2 years in the MAC when they had the chance.

“Tonight was what I think is a great example of a team win,” Lawrence said. “Every person that stepped into that game had a big play at one point or another, whether it was Rodney Witherspoon coming in and getting a five-second call on defense or Brady Ernst snagging almost every rebound, Jalen knocking down shots, Jon Cady finishing on the break (or) Tyler Thacker knocking down 3s.”

Now, the key is keep things going. The Kings will try to make it a winning streak Tuesday when they play at Davenport West.

“The goal is to not be complacent,” Lawrence said. “It’s one win, and we celebrate that tonight and then we come back tomorrow and we start prepping for West.”



CLINTON 68, MUSCATINE 57

MUSCATINE (1-6, 0-4) — Hutton 2 2-4 8, D. Miller 1 0-0 2, Beatty 2 0-0 5, Kovach 0 2-2 2, Sanders 0 0-0 0, Lloyd 4 2-4 12, Rauenbuehler 6 1-6 13, Minder 2 0-0 6, Lohman 1 0-0 2, A. Miller 2 2-3 7, Hickey 0 0-0 0, Calvert 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 9-19 57.

CLINTON (3-6, 1-4) — Witherspoon 0 0-0 0, T. Thacker 3 0-0 8. Howard 6 0-1 12, Jones 9 6-8 26, Ernst 7 0-0 14, Cady 2 0-0 4, Judd 0 0-2 0, Michel 2 0-0 4. Totals 29 6-11 68.

Muscatine    7    19    9    22    —    57

Clinton    18    22    19    19    —    68

3-point goals — Muscatine 8 (Hutton 2, Lloyd 2, Minder 2, Beatty, A. Miller); Clinton 4 (Jones 2, Thacker 2). Total fouls — Muscatine 17, Clinton 17. Fouled out — None.

1
Text Only
High School Sports
  • Interest in Ernst rises as his game does, too

    Brady Ernst is having a summer to remember.
    The rising River King senior is spending the summer playing for the Iowa Barnstormers traveling basketball team. This weekend they're playing in the Fab48 tournament in Las Vegas.

    July 26, 2014

  • Jones leaves UNO program

    Jalen Jones is done with basketball — for now, anyway.
    The 6-foot-5 Clinton High grad who had committed to play for Nebraska-Omaha, has left the program, and according to his Facebook page, has enrolled at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.
    The enrollment office at the community college confirmed that Jones was registered for classes this fall at Kirkwood. Kirkwood coach Bryan Petersen, a Clinton High graduate, declined to comment and gave no indication that Jones would play basketball for the Eagles this winter.
    "College basketball isn't for everybody," Clinton coach Nick Lawrence said. "A little time away might do him some good."
    Jones came home to Clinton after spending just a few days with the Mavericks, and enrolled to Kirkwood shortly thereafter.
    Jones, the Herald's Player of the Year, averaged 19 points a game for the River Kings in his senior season and finished with the second-most rebounds with 160.
    He shot 41 percent on the floor and 28 percent from 3-point territory. He committed to Omaha before last season started in October.

    July 26, 2014

  • 7-25-14 Football field Football facility receives makeover CAMANCHE — Camanche School District administrators expect updates to the high school football facility to be completed next week.Camanche Superintendent Tom Parker said crews have worked to make sure everything is complete before next week’s Clinton

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-25-14 1B-Photo, Clinton track Clinton king of Brady DAVENPORT — It might not have been the blue oval, but Clinton track can place its mark at the top of the hill.The quartet of Barrion Collins, Marquis Robinson, Quavon Jones and Deshond Robinson won the high school boys division of the Battle Up Brady

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-24-14 1B-Photo, Choice 2 Cinderella run ends DUBUQUE — The playoff run was fun while it lasted. Dubuque Hempstead, the No. 1-ranked baseball team in Class 4A entering Wednesday, ended Clinton’s chances at back-to-back appearances in the state tournament in Des Moines. The Mustangs knocked out t

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-23-14 3B-Photo, Clinton baseball Kings feel re-energized (with VIDEOS & PHOTO ALBUM)

    CLINTON -- There’s nothing like a postseason run to get the juices flowing again and jumpstart a baseball season that at times was trying.The atmosphere around the Clinton High School program is upbeat these days. One game away from a second consecut

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • AGWSR silences Marquette Catholic FORT DODGE — AGWSR of Ackley pitcher Ashley Sicard can add another win to her state tournament resume.AGWSR defeated Marquette Catholic (34-7) 2-0 with both runs coming in the third inning for the Cougars (28-6).In that third inning, the leadoff hitt

    July 23, 2014

  • Trio of Queens earn honors ELDRIDGE -- Three members of the Clinton High softball team were named to the All-Mississippi Athletic Conference honorable mention squad Monday.Junior Cara Brewer and sophomores Sydney Davis and Jenna Stremlow received the honors.Brewer, a catcher-t

    July 22, 2014

  • Assumption spoils Sabers' strong start MAQUOKETA—Things fell apart quickly for the Central DeWitt Sabers on Monday night, as they fell 5-4 to the Davenport Assumption Knights in the Iowa Class 3A District 7 baseball final, ending their 2014 season.The Sabers (21-19-1) had complete control

    July 22, 2014

  • 7-23-14 1B-Photo, Clinton baseball A rally fit for Kings (with VIDEO)

    ELDRIDGE — It would have been easy for Clinton sophomore Nick Houzenga to be discouraged as he took the mound in the bottom of the first inning of the River Kings’ Class 4A substate semifinal against North Scott.After all, the Lancers had already bui

    July 22, 2014 4 Photos

Sports Updates
Facebook