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February 5, 2014

Queens turn up pressure

CLINTON — Tied at halftime, the Clinton River Queens knew what they had to do in the second half to earn a second victory this season against Davenport Central.

“We knew we had to come out and shut them down,” Clinton sophomore Elle Tubbs said.

The River Queens turned up the pressure and did just that. They limited Central to five points over the first 12 minutes of the second half, and by then they had a wide-enough margin to finish off a 41-26 girls basketball victory Tuesday night in Yourd Gym.

“We needed that one real bad; it felt real nice,” Clinton coach Mike Halac said.

Clinton ended a six-game losing streak and improved to 4-14, 3-11 in the Mississippi Athletic Conference. The victory also came against the team Clinton will face in the first round of the regional tournament.

Tubbs played a key role in the win. She scored a game-high 18 points, grabbed nine rebounds and came up with several key steals early in the second half to set herself up at the free-throw line, where she converted 11 of her 12 attempts.

“It’s a great feeling, especially since we play them in the first regional game,” she said. “We definitely needed this.”

Halac said: “Elle had a great game, especially from the free-throw line. She could have easily scored 35 tonight if the ball rolls right.”

Neither team established much in the first half that had six lead changes and four ties, the last at the halftime score of 15-15. The second half offered a stark contrast.

“We played together and played amazing defense tonight,” Tubbs said.

Erin Wenzel scored down on the block just 20 seconds into the third quarter to give Clinton the lead for good. Clinton’s defense made sure the Blue Devils (2-16, 2-11) never pulled even again.

“We started off in a zone,” Halac said. “We played a little too passive in the zone, so we said, ‘Let’s play pressure.’ I love to press.”

Tubbs made a steal in the backcourt and was fouled as she shot with 6:19 left in the quarter. She went to the line and scored her fifth and sixth points of the night.

Central pulled within 19-16 on its next possession, but the next time Clinton went on defense, it went back to the press. Once again, Wenzel, a 6-foot-2 senior, hounded the inbounder and Tubbs, a 6-2 sophomore, came up with the steal and was fouled. She made two more free throws to push the lead to 21-16.

Central answered with a basket, but at the other end, Tubbs fed Wenzel inside. Wenzel was fouled as she scored and converted the free throw. Then, it was back to the press, and this time Hannah Burken intercepted the inbound pass and stuck in an 8-foot shot for a 26-18 lead.

Tubbs continued the scoring run with two free throws, then she opened the fourth quarter with a 3-point basket, followed by a putback basket and two more free throws to make it 35-18 with 5:48 remaining.

“I’m getting a lot more confident. I started off as just a shooter, but the team as helped me drive to the basket, too,” Tubbs said.

The lead grew as large as 20, 40-20, before Central trimmed it late as the teams played out the game with their reserves on the floor.

“I’m proud of Erin, too,” Halac said. “She was double-teamed but was getting Elle and McKenzie (Petersen) open. Hannah (Burken) was diving all over. McKenna Greenwalt came in a gave us really great minutes. Jordan (Nelson) did a nice job, too.”

Nelson finished with 10 points, and Petersen grabbed 18 rebounds.

The Queens are back in action Friday in the opener of girls-boys doubleheader against Burlington, another team Clinton beat earlier in the year.

“One win this week isn’t good enough,” said Halac, whose team also plays Saturday at Camanche.

CLINTON 41, DAVENPORT CENTRAL 26

CENTRAL (2-16, 2-11) — Naomi Elias 2 0-0 4, Makayla Buck 2 1-2 5, Gabriele George 0 0-0 0, Atavia Rush 1 0-0 2, Letha Wallace 0 0-0 0, Sydney Mayes 5 0-2 10, TeNesha Hawkins 2 1-4 5, Aaliyah Serrano 0 0-2 0, Savannah Moeller 0 0-0 0. Totals

CLINTON (4-14, 3-11) — Halle Davis 0 0-0 0, Erin Wenzel 2 2-5 6, Elle Tubbs 3 11-12 18, Hannah Burken 2 0-1 4, McKenna Greenwalt 0 2-2 2, Jordan Nelson 4 0-0 10, Allysa Butt 0 0-0 0, Emma Gettes 0 0-0 0, Avery Coppess 0 0-0 0, Shalaya Austin 0 0-0 0, McKenzie Petersen 0 1-2 1. Totals 11 16-22 41.

Central     9     6     3     8     —     26

Clinton     5     10     13     13     —     41

3-point goals — Clionton 3 (Nelson 2, Tubbs). Total fouls — Central 22, Clinton 8. Fouled out — None.

 

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