Herald Staff Report
Jalen Jones became the first Clinton boys basketball player to reach the 1,000-point mark Friday night, but the River Kings came up eight points short in a 67-59 loss to Davenport Assumption on Friday night.
The River Kings (12-7, 8-6 Mississippi Athletic Conference) put together a 14-point run late in the first half to take the lead, but Assumption (11-8, 8-6) opened the second half on a 9-1 run to go ahead for good.
"We talk to the kids all the time that it's a game of runs," Clinton coach Nick Lawrence said. "They had a big third quarter. We battled back and made it interesting.
Jones, who earlier this season passed Dick Farwell as Clinton's career scoring leader, scored his 1,000th point on a free throw with 2 minutes, 26 seconds remaining. It was his 27th point of the game. He finished with 30 points, three off his career high set against Davenport North on Dec. 1, 2012.
"What a great accomplishment for him," Lawrence said. "He's such a humble kid. He doesn't want to do anything to draw attention to himself. Other things he does on the court get overshadowed by his scoring, but he really does a lot for our team. He is starting to mature from a young kid into a young man."
Lawrence said the 6-foot-5 senior had taken on additional responsibilities with 6-8 junior center Brady Ernst lost for the season because of a broken finger on his shooting hand.
"I don't think there's any question in his mind he has to do that," Lawrence said. "But, you're not going to make up for a 17-point-a-game scorer, you have to do it collectively. We need other guys to look to score."
Jones scored 15 points in the first half, the final two coming on free throws that capped a 14-0 run.
Assumption had built a 26-15 lead when Connor Moellenbeck capped an 8-0 run with a 3-point basket.
Clinton started a comeback after a timeout with 4:15 left in the second quarter.
Sophomore Cole Pennock got it going with a basket.
"I was really pleased with Cole's performance," Lawrence said. Pennock finished with nine points. "Cole likes those big moments and likes to be put in those positions."
Jones followed with a dunk, Derrick Howard scored off a steal to cut the gap to 26-21 with 3:29 left, then Jones and Howard scored to bring Clinton within one.
Jones assisted on a Zach Pope layup to give the River Kings their first lead since 5-4, and Jones' free throws put Clinton on top 29-26.
Assumption ended the run on a basket by Evan Wadsager but went to the locker room trailing 29-28.
Clinton opened the second half with a Thomas Smith free throw, but Assumption scored the next nine points to go ahead to stay. The go-ahead point came on a 3-point basket by Addam Rouse.
"We said we had to defend the three, and we struggled at it at times," Lawrence said. "They have a bunch of hard-nosed kids who attack the glass. Right away in the second half we gave up multiple opportunities for them to score."
Assumption stretched its lead to 14 points, but a final Clinton run made things interesting. The Kings scored 10 in a row to pull within four on a pair of free throws by Jones. He made two more to get Clinton within four again at 56-52, but Assumption's Tim Doyle answered with a 3-pointer.
Jones scored his milestone point as Clinton got within 59-54, but that was as close as the Kings got the rest of the way.
DAVENPORT ASSUMPTION 67, CLINTON 59
CLINTON (12-7, 8-6) — Zach Pope 2 1-3 5, Jalen Jones 8 12-13 30, Jon Cady 2 0-0 4, Derrick Howard 2 0-1 4, Thomas Smith 0 1-2 1, Colin Nelson 2 0-0 4, Robbie Thacker 1 0-0 2, Cole Pennock 3 3-3 9. Totals 20 17-22 59.
ASSUMPTION (11-8, 8-6) — Connor Moellenbeck 2 0-0 5, Addam Rouse 3 0-0 8, Ryan Coughlin 2 1-1 6, Hunter Grenier 7 1-2 16, Tim Doyle 1 2-2 5, Evan Wadsager 3 2-2 10, Roman Youngblut 5 7-8 17, Jack Schwirtz 0 0-0 0, Jordan Allen 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 13-16 67.
Clinton 7 22 9 21 — 59
Assumption 16 12 22 17 — 67
3-point field goals — Clinton 2 (Jones), Assumption 8 (Rouse 2, Wadsager 2, Moellenbeck, Doyle, Coughlin, Grenier). Total fouls — Clinton 16, Assumption 19. Fouled out — Cady.