Clinton teams looking for offense in sweep by PV

CLINTON – The Clinton boys’ basketball team is still looking for answers when it comes to pushing points across the board.

The River Kings lost a Mississippi Athletic Conference contest 58-36 to Pleasant Valley Tuesday night at Yourd Gymnasium despite a rallying effort in the last two periods.

“I felt we were competitive through parts of the game,” Clinton head coach Andy Eberhart said. “They’re really good, they’re just so disciplined and play together. There’s a lot we can learn from that team – stay together, run the offense and don’t try to do too much.”

The River Kings had a hole to dig out of when they came into the first half. The last three minutes of the second quarter featured an 11-0 run by the Spartans, only broken by a pair of free throws by Isaiah Struve with 44.5 seconds to go in the half. By that point, it was 31-12 heading into half time break.

“We didn’t hit those rotations a few times,” Eberhart said. “Initial drive to the basket we covered, then we helped but didn’t help the helper at times.”

It was spurred in large parts by both offensive rebounds given up by the Kings and Clinton turnovers.

“There were points we gave up four rebounds in a row,” Eberhart said. “That hurt us there. PV is a very good shooting game and they’ll find their shooters, they don’t force anything. That was the dagger there in the second quarter,.”

Clinton had a little bit of a shakeup in their starting lineup due to various illnesses that they’re dealing with with the time of year, but came out looking strong. They were patient in their half court sets and they kept the Spartans off the board. The only issue was they struggled to finish and managed just two points in the first quarter, trailing 8-2 before Pleasant Valley’s run.

“We’re obviously rusty coming out of break,” Eberhart said. “I think we missed shots and had to get away from what we were doing. If we can stay with running our offense and take our time, I think that will help us.”

Into the third quarter, the Spartans still took control of the rebounding aspect and extended their lead to over 20. A pair of back-to-back threes by Seth Dotterweich and Kinnick Belitz cut the deficit to 14, and that’s where it would remain heading into the final eight minutes.

Lucas Weiner put the first points on the board in the fourth to cut the PV lead to just 11. Weiner ended up leading the Clinton scoring with 14. Jai Jensen and Isaiah Struve both had another seven.

“We’re not doing Lucas any favors throwing it high, we have to get it in as a bounce pass,” Eberhart said. “He has such a nice touch, we need to be better passers.”

That 11-point deficit was as close as they would get in the end, the Spartans closing out the game with the help of another 10-0 run.

“I liked our third quarter, and usually our third quarters aren’t the best,” Eberhart said. “We fought back.

“We had a couple opportunities around the basket that didn’t go in, and that extends their run. You have to put the ball in the hole at some point.”

The River Kings (1-4, 1-7) will stay at home again Friday night, welcoming local foe and MAC opponent Central DeWitt to Yourd Gymnasium.

CLINTON GIRLS FALL TO RANKED SPARTANS

The Clinton River Queens struggled to keep up with a ranked Pleasant Valley team on Tuesday night in their first game back from the holidays. The Queens fell to the No. 10 Spartans 61-23 at home.

The Clinton girls have struggled to find scoring through the first half of the season and saw the same problem facing them in the return to Mississippi Athletic Conference play. Clinton managed just single digits in the first half, heading to halftime trailing 41-9.

Veronica Ramirez led the way with eight points and seven rebounds for the River Queens.

The River Queens (1-7 1-8) will kick off the varsity double header Friday night, hosting the No. 9 ranked Sabers back at home.

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