By Jon Gremmels
Herald Sports Editor
It wasn’t difficult to see how much the victory meant to the Clinton players after they beat Davenport Central 46-33 on Tuesday in Mississippi Athletic Conference girls basketball.
Erin Wenzel jumped off the bench as soon as the buzzer sounded, battered but gleeful, cheering on her teammates and jumping up and down.
“We knew we had to get a win tonight,” she said after keying the win with a 20-point, 12-rebound performance. “We played as a team. We had our mistakes, but we fought through them. Some nights we get frustrated. We knew we had to get this.
“Winning on the home court is the best feeling ever.”
The win was the Queens’ second in seven outings this season and came after a 63-31 loss to Burlington on Friday night in which their offense disappeared in the second quarter and the Grayhounds used several lopsided scoring runs to seize control.
Second quarters haven’t been kind to Clinton this season, but Tuesday that changed. There was an ominous start, though.
The Blue Devils scored the first three points of the quarter to take a 13-10 lead, but that didn’t last long.
McKenzie Petersen (11 points) dropped in a jumper from the left baseline to pull Clinton within 13-12, and her basket started an 11-1 run.
A long outlet pass to Elle Tubbs led to a layup that put Clinton on top to stay at the 6-minute, 22-second mark, then Petersen scored again from along the left baseline to increase the lead to 16-13.
“The last game we had a good first quarter; tonight we had intensity the whole game,” Petersen said. “(On the second basket) you just want to keep the momentum going and get the next shot.”
If the momentum hadn’t shifted enough, it did shortly thereafter.
First, with the 6-foot-1 Wenzel hounding the inbound passer under Clinton’s basket, she got her hand on the pass and deflected it to Tubbs. Tubbs then passed the ball right back to Wenzel for an easy basket and an 18-13 lead. Then, after a free throw ended Central’s scoring drought, Wenzel banked in a 3-point basket from the left wing for a 21-14 advantage.
“I can’t explain in words how it feels after that,” Wenzel said. “You could be out of energy and (suddenly) get it back.”