The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Breaking News

High School Sports

January 25, 2014

Jones provides lift for Clinton win

RIVERDALE — As Clinton coach Nick Lawrence brought his boys basketball team over for a timeout in the third quarter of the River Kings' 53-46 win over Pleasant Valley, Clinton senior guard Jalen Jones knew his team couldn't let another winnable game slip away.

After the teams had played the first half to a stalemate, the Spartans had started the half on a 9-2 run, and Jones knew that if he and his teammates didn't step up, Clinton would again fall short against a quality opponent.

This time, the River Kings did exactly what they needed to do — and Jones led them the entire way.

The senior scored 22 of his 28 points in the second half, and the rest of the River Kings backed up his efforts by either getting him the ball or getting to the free-throw line and converting. When it was over, Clinton finally had its signature win, outscoring the Spartans 8-2 over the final two minutes to earn what Lawrence called a tournament-style win Friday night at Pleasant Valley High School

“In my tenure at Clinton, that's the biggest win our program has had,” Lawrence said. “To be able to come back and knock them off is big for us. We got down by seven at one point and our guys didn't quit; they battled back and believed in themselves. They took care of the ball down the stretch, got to the free-throw line and knocked down their free throws.”

Down the stretch, the River Kings (9-4, 6-3 MAC) looked nothing like a team that lacked experience in pressure situations. Instead, Clinton handled both the situation and the Spartans (7-6, 5-4) like champions, sticking to its strategy and keeping its composure regardless of what Pleasant Valley tried.

The most obvious example came at the free-throw line, as Clinton converted 12 of its 14 attempts from the stripe, including its first 10. Only Jones missed, and by that time, the game was far enough out of the Spartans' reach that the misses didn't matter.

“We knew we had to attack the basket, get them in foul trouble and try to get to the line as much as we could,” Jones said. “It's a lot easier to score from the free-throw line than shooting threes.”

When the River Kings weren't attacking the basket, they were creating room for Jones to take over the game. Other than a Derrick Howard drive in the third quarter, Jones had every River King basket, taking advantage of every inch of space the Spartans left him.

His teammates were only too happy to keep feeding him the ball, knowing that the most likely result would be either a basket or a rebound that would lead to a trip to the foul line.

“He's really been a leader for us, making big plays at big times,” said junior Brady Ernst, who had 10 points and went 4-for-4 at the stripe in the final two minutes. “When we need him, he puts the team on his back and carries us to the win.”

None was bigger than this win for the River Kings, who moved into third place in the MAC and potentially gained a critical advantage in the substate playoffs in the process. With the teams in the same Class 4A substate, the River Kings knew that if they were going to break through against a quality foe, this was the game in which to do it.

As Clinton entered its locker room following the game, loud shouts of celebration could be heard through the walls, as the River Kings finally proved to both themselves and the MAC that they could win a big game.

“This is a huge confidence booster,” Jones said. “We knew going in that we were fighting for third in the MAC and third or higher in substate. They're a really good team, and we had to make a stand here.”

CLINTON 53, PLEASANT VALLEY 46

CLINTON (9-4, 6-3) — Zach Pope 1 0-0 2, Jalen Jones 10 6-8 28, Jon Cady 1 3-4 6, Derrick Howard 1 5-6 7, Brady Ernst 2 6-6 10. Totals 15 20-24 53

PLEASANT VALLEY (7-6, 5-4) — Noah Bryant 4 2-2 10, Chase Kipper 1 1-2 3, Will Carius 6 5-8 18, Jeffrey Kardell 3 4-4 11, Carter Milam 2 0-0 4. Totals 16 12-16 46

Clinton     12     7     14     20     —     53

Pleasant Valley     9     10     14     13     —     46

3-point goals — Clinton 3 (Jones 2, Cady); Pleasant Valley 2 (Carius, Kardell).

 

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