The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

January 19, 2013

Lancers whip Kings

CLINTON — Scouting reports aren’t always accurate. This time it was spot on.

Time and time again Friday night, Clinton High boys basketball coach Nick Lawrence pointed to his team’s scouting report, warning of this or that about the Lancers.

Despite the preparation, the River Kings couldn’t find a way to stop the Lancers. Coming off back-to-back losses that knocked them out of the AP Class 4A state rankings, the formerly second-rated Lancers (11-2, 5-2 Mississippi Athletic Conference) returned to the winning column with a 60-31 victory at WJ Yourd Gymnasium.

“They had something to prove,” Lawrence said. “We hoped we’d catch them off guard, but that didn’t happen. ... After two straight losses, they wanted it. They punched us in the mouth, and we didn’t respond.”

The Lancers landed a hard 1-2 combination, building a 15-3 lead halfway through the opening quarter.

“I’m really disappointed with how we executed our gameplan,” Lawrence said. “Matchup-wise, they’re difficult for us. We had to be very active. They do shoot the ball well. They move the ball well. They attack the rim.

“We were a step or two slow all night.”

The first blows came on the inside. Creighton Clausen, a 6-foot 7-inch senior, scored three straight baskets after Clinton’s Brady Ernst opened the scoring with a free throw. Clausen scored from the left block first, then the right block. He added a putback with 5 minutes, 36 seconds left in the opening quarter for a 6-1 lead.

The next volley came from the top of the key: three consecutive 3-pointers. The first, from Eric Huber, was followed by a basket by Clinton’s Tyler Thacker, then Jordan Arp buried two more 3s from about the same spot and the lead was 15-3.

“Arp: All he does is shoot 3s,” Lawrence said, pointing to the scouting report. Arp finished the night with 12 points, all on 3s.

Huber (game-high 13 points) buried one more 3 moments later, and North Scott led 20-6 after one quarter.

“That was absolutely not the start we wanted,” Lawrence said. “They do a nice job, but we went through everything we had to do, then sometimes we lacked focus.”

There were few bright spots for the Kings (4-8, 2-6) after the rough start. The Lancers led 35-18 at the half and 47-21 after three quarters.

“We’ve got to slowly chip away, but sometimes I think we feel we have to force the issue too much,” Lawrence said. “We struggled a lot with unforced turnovers.”

North Scott finished the game with nine 3-pointers, compared with one for Clinton. Cortez Seales joined Huber and Arp in double digits with 10 points.

Jalen Jones led the River Kings with eight.

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