By Chad Seely
For the Herald
The night belonged to the ever-humble Jalen Jones.
The 6-foot-5 senior guard broke Clinton High’s all-time scoring record as he poured in 21 points to lead the River Kings to a 50-40 boys basketballwin over Burlington on Friday night at Yourd Gym.
Jones swished a free throw with 3 minutes and 40 seconds to play to break Dick Farwell’s record of 965 points, a record that had stood for more than 60 years.
Clinton (12-6, 8-5) got off to a great start as it raced to a 10-2 lead, only to see Burlington close the first quarter on a 13-0 run for a 15-10 lead after the first eight minutes.
The River Kings then switched things up and went to a 2-2-1 press that gave Burlington fits and led to some easy hoops for Clinton.
“We really wanted to jump them and force some turnovers. As soon as we got into that, we got easy baskets and got back in the game,” Jones said.
A Derrick Howard layup on a slick pass from Jones started a mini run, but Burlington still held a 22-18 lead at the half.
The press continued to work in the third as Clinton forced consecutive turnovers that led to a 6-0 run and a 24-22 lead.
Senior guard Zach Pope buried a 3-pointer to start the fourth to give the River Kings a 33-28 lead. They slowly pulled away and a pull-up jumper by Colin Nelson upped their lead to 37-28 midway through the quarter and forced Burlington to use a timeout.
It was Jones who put the game on ice by making all 11 of his free throws, including the record-breaker. The River Kings outscored Burlington 20-12 in the fourth quarter.
Coach Nick Lawrence called a timeout with 11 seconds remaining to let the crowd acknowledge his star guard when he checked out of the game.
“It was huge. My family was here and a lot of people have really supported me; it felt great,” Jones said of the standing ovation.
Jones currently stands at 973 points and has a chance at becoming the first player in the history of Clinton Boys basketball to surpass the 1,000-point threshold.
“What he has been able to accomplish, nobody else has done at Clinton High,” Lawrence said. “It’s an overwhelming sense of pride. He is a very deserving kid and he’s as humble as they come. I think he has grown into one of the best players in the state. What a great individual honor, and it’s a credit and shout-out to his teammates as well.”
Clinton again played without junior forward Brady Ernst, who will likely be sidelined for the remainder of the season with a finger injury on his shooting hand. The River Kings travel to Davenport Assumption next Friday.
CLINTON 50, BURLINGTON 40
BURLINGTON – Jerad Porter 3 0-0 8, Brice Plein 1 0-0 2, Trevor Martin 1 0-2 3, Dominique Fleming 2 1-2 5, Joe Mack 3 2-2 8, Josh Bloomer 1 0-0 3, Cam Chrisman 1 3-4 6, Raykwon Stevenson 2 1-1 5. Totals 14 7-11 40.
CLINTON (12-6, 8-5) – Robbie Thacker 0 0-0 0, Zach Pope 1 4-4 7, Jalen Jones 5 11-11 21, Jon Cady 2 3-5 7, Colin Nelson 1 0-0 2, Ashley Jones 1 0-0 2, Derrick Howard 3 3-5 9, Cole Pennock 1 0-0 2, Thomas Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 21-30 50.
Burlington 15 7 6 12 — 40
Clinton 10 8 12 20 — 50
3-point goals – Burlington 5 (Porter 2, Martin, Bloomer, Chrisman); Clinton 1 (Pope). Total fouls – Burlington 25, Clinton 11. Fouled out – Martin.