CLINTON — The Clinton River Kings couldn’t hang onto a lead and fell 45-35 to Davenport West at home Tuesday night in the last week on regular Mississippi Athletic Conference play.
“They’re a good team, they have a lot of athleticism and some big guys down low,” Clinton Coach Chris Powers said. “I like how our guys competed and we played well defensively.”
Clinton—who came into the game with only two wins—lost the first matchup with the Falcons 49-48.
Davenport West jumped to a 6-0 lead early, followed by a timeout from Coach Powers. That’s when the River Kings picked things up, and they only trailed by two headed into the second quarter.
Louis Harris scored first to tie everything up in the second quarter, and Davenport West responded with a three. There was some more battling and then Harris scored to put the River Kings within one, sitting at 16-15.
Then Lemke got a steal and found Rick Clay for the big dunk and the 17-16 Clinton lead.
That gave the River Kings some momentum. A couple of big threes from DeVonte McGee and Ty McGruder and Clinton took the 23-18 lead at the half.
The Falcons tied it up five minutes into the third quarter, but Ricky Clay sunk a basket to put the Kings ahead 29-27. A pair of free throws from Davenport West tied things up again with just two minutes left in the third. Coach Powers called a timeout to recollect his team. The next two minutes would pass without a score, but the Falcons drained a 3-pointer to end the third and take the 32-29 lead.
“The second half they went zone with some trapping after running basically man for the first half,” Powers said. “We got the ball where we needed to at the short corner and high post but we just didn’t get the finishes we needed.”
By the time there were four minutes remaining in the game, the Falcons had a six point lead. It wasn’t for lack of shots: a fast paced offense with a lot of touches was getting open looks for the Kings. Nothing was falling.
“It’s not like we aren’t getting the looks, I think sometimes we’re just shooting a little passively instead of more aggressive,” Powers said. “Especially when we get within 15 feet inside. We have to look to finish and score a little more. Second half, we had too many empty possessions that cost us.”
McGee drained a 3-point basket to cut the lead to three, but a foul send the Falcons to the line for the bonus shots, where they drained two.
Down by six after another free throw, Lemke sunk a shot from beyond the arc to cut it to 38-35. Another pair of free throws from Davenport West extended the lead back to four. Another basket and free throws helped the Falcons ride out from there.
Defensively, steals and blocks under the highlighted the effort. It’s part of what kept them in the lead in the second half.
“Our defense looked really good tonight,” Power said. “We did a good job rebounding, too. Our defense kept us in the game. You would think that it was a 2-3 point game with a few minutes left. We just missed a lot of shots.”
Clinton takes on a ranked North Scott team at home on Friday, and then will move on to take on Davenport West again in regional play on the road on Monday.
“Hopefully, Monday our offense shows up and plays as well as our defense did,” Powers said. “West is a good team and we’re going to have to play really well down there, especially on their home court. If we give that same effort, compete that same way, play that same defense and hopefully knock down a few more shots.”