DAVENPORT — Following a huge night from Jordan Nelson at the charity stripe, Clinton started off the new year on a good note, knocking off Davenport Central 52-44 on the road, Friday. The River Queens never looked back after taking a 17-10 first-quarter lead. It's the type of win, said head coach Mike Halac, that has Clinton feeling optimistic for the second half of the season.
"I am hoping this is a game that is going to propel us onto a great run, and I couldn't be more proud of the girls' effort all night," Halac said. "There were a lot of floor burns tonight that earned us a win."
Nelson was a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line (making half of Clinton's total of 20 on the night). She added two 3-pointers in the first for a game-high 16 points overall, while teammates Elle Tubbs and McKenzie Petersen finished with 14 and 12, respectively.
Three of Tubbs' points came when she beat the buzzer in the opening quarter to give Clinton its 7-point lead. She also finished with 8 rebounds and a team-leading 3 blocks, a major cog in what Halac called an "outstanding defensive effort all night."
The Blue Devils (led by Noel Robinson's 15 points) held senior post Erin Wenzel from wreaking her usual havoc on the boards. But they couldn't hold off Petersen, who pulled down 10 en route to a double-double.
Clinton pushed its lead to 27-17 at the break. Central chiseled its deficit to 6 points in the fourth before a late River Queens push led by Nelson.
"There were many exciting moments all game," Halac said. "Jordan Nelson (took) a charge late in the game and that was a big momentum swing for us."
The win serves as Clinton's second on the year and first in the Mississippi Athletic Conference. The 2-7 River Queens will host Davenport Assumption on Tuesday in the opening game of a boys-girls MAC doubleheader.