CLINTON — The River Kings never found any offensive momentum against Mississippi Athletic Conference foe Pleasant Valley, and fell 57-30 in Yourd Gymnasium on Friday night.
“It was a first place team in the MAC that’s ranked and very good,” Clinton Coach Chris Powers said following the loss. “Offense, defense, they’re physical, they’re strong. Hopefully our guys can take something away from that and learn from it.
“We played well the last two games. I was happy with the way we played in those games, but PV is PV.”
The bleeding started early for the River Kings. The Spartans struck first with a 3-point field goal and another basket to take the 5-0 lead. Bret Myli grabbed an offensive board which Brennen Lemke used to draw a foul. He sunk both free throws to get the River Kings on the board.
Pleasant Valley would score again, but Lemke responded with a 3-pointer of his own to cut it to 7-5 just three minutes into the game. However, that would be the last time the River Kings would score until the second quarter. That would boost the Spartans to a 21-5 lead.
Scoring problems continued, and Clinton went into halftime down 31-9. The River Kings shot 2-22 from the field in the first half.
“Offensively, we talked about not getting frustrated after three or four passes and not getting a shot, then trying to do too much,” Power said. “We fell into that trap a little bit. We said we have to learn from it.”
After putting just four more points on the board in the third quarter, the River Kings came out with some big shots from bench players to boost their points a bit. This included threes from Tre Foley and Riley Burgland.
“Those guys show up to practice and get after it, so when there’s an opportunity to get them in the game, they’ve earned it,” Powers said. They deserve it.”
Pleasant Valley dropped nine 3-point field goals on the River Kings, and went 12-14 from the free-throw line.
“We battled. It’s not like we weren’t playing defense, PV is just a well-oiled machine. Our guys didn’t back down, though. They still played hard.,” Powers said. Powers said he was happy with how the defense looked, despite the fact that PV still found the holes. “It’s nothing to get discouraged about. PV is a really good team, one of the better teams in the state. I hope we bounce back next week.”
Clinton’s big men led the rebounding—Bret Myli and Jared Simpson each had four rebounds and Louis Harris had three. There wasn’t much of a chance for boards, however, because Pleasant Valley never seemed to miss.
“They didn’t miss anything,” Power said. The Spartans are shooting nearly 50 percent from the field as a team on the season, and almost 40 percent from beyond the arc. “No matter what we did they executed well. Man, zone, they scored on everything.”
Brennen Lemke led the scoring with six points, while Tre Foley added five. Both LJ Henderson and Riley Burgland had three a piece, and then five River Kings scored two points.
With the season winding down, Powers likes the way his team looks and hopes they can ride some momentum this next week into the first round of postseason.
“I said that in February I wanted to hit our stride. Besides this game, I’ve liked the way we’ve played in February,” Powers said. “We just need to make sure each possession counts on offense and defense.”
The River Kings falls to 2-17, and take on Davenport West and North Scott next week. In their first matchup with West, the River Kings fell just 49-48. The week after that, Clinton Will take on Davenport West in the first round of the postseason.