CLINTON — Clinton coach Chris Powers has endured both winning and losing seasons over his lifetime at Clinton High School.
When Powers donned the River Kings' red and black, he saw the winning side. He was a part of the '92 Crew, which went 24-1 during the 1991-1992 season and won the state championship.
As a part of that team, Powers was a part of records. The team boasted the highest scoring average in Clinton High School history and was the only school only school in Iowa to be ranked No. 1 by both the Des Moines Register and the Associated Press.
Powers was inducted into the Clinton High School Hall of Fame just this last fall as a part of that basketball team.
Flash forward to the 2017-2018 basketball season: Powers is at the helm of a River Kings squad who has gone 3-19.
"It's been a trying season," Powers said. "But the coaching staff and all the kids have gotten in the gym every day and worked their tails off."
Still, Powers takes a lot of pride in being back in Clinton and being both a teacher and a coach at his alma mater.
He also boasts a work ethic from his entire team that's hard to beat.
"We said it was going to be a journey at the beginning of the season," Powers said. He stated at the MAC luncheon that his team probably wouldn't show what they were capable of until after the new year began. "These last couple weeks, in February we've been playing some of our best basketball."
The River Kings just picked up their third win with an upset victory over Davenport West on the road. That moves them on to the substate semifinals, where they will take on the No. 7 ranked North Scott Lancers. The Lancers beat Clinton 67-28 the first time and 59-32 the second.
North Scott is 18-3 and will be playing their first postseason game when the Kings come to visit The Pit on Friday night. They are led in scoring by brothers Corvon Seales and Cortavius Seales who put up a combines 25 points a game.
The two also combine for nearly 50 steals.
Still, the Lancers are not super high scoring, only averaging 55.8 points a game. This might play into the River Kings plan.
"I really like what we did against West, holding the ball and being patient on offense, not throwing up shots," Powers said. "We can't play into their game Friday, we have to play ours which is slow it down on offense and keep it low scoring."
Plus, the River Kings' defense has been solid all year. They hung with the Lancers in their last regular season game with them on Friday, Feb. 16. They never trailed by double digits in the first half. Powers says that's a sign that the Clinton team can hang with them if they can put a full four quarters together.
Clinton only averages 42 points per game, led by Bret Myli and LJ Henderson who both average about seven points. Myli has also pulled down the most rebounds with fellow forward Ricky Clay. Fully aware that offense is not their strong suit, Powers wants to see patience and control come Friday night.
"I just want to see them go in and take care of the ball, have patience on offense, and make good shots," Powers said.
The substate semifinal will be at 7 p.m. at North Scott High School in Eldridge.