CLINTON – The Clinton River Kings got their first win of the season and first Mississippi Athletic Conference victory with a win over Muscatine 59-42 at home on Tuesday night.

The River Kings had not won a game as a program since Jan. 19 2021 – they had just one win last season. Their win over Muscatine on Tuesday was the first MAC competition of the season for the River Kings.

“We knew we were going to be competitive this year,” senior Jai Jensen said. Jensen finished with the top points for the Kings. “The MAC was kind of up for grabs this season. I feel like we can compete with anyone and it was good to start out our first MAC conference game with a win.”

Leading the way down low was Jensen, who saw the size mismatch early on. Jensen finished with 23 points for the River Kings.

It was the River Kings out ahead from the get-go. Clinton jumped out to a 20-7 lead in the first quarter, ended with a big three-point shot from Isaiah Struve right before the horn. Struve had 10 points, including eight in the first quarter. Struve dropped two three-pointers in that time.

After that, Jensen started finding some rhythm on the block.

“My shots weren’t falling down from deep,” Jensen said. “Once I got down low and got some post moves and got to the line more, I started finishing more and got more confidence.”

Clinton had a rare size mismatch over the Muskies and used it to their advantage. Jensen had defenders on him that were smaller than he, and he made it work for him.

“If I know I can beat my buy off the dribble or if I know I can beat my guy down low, then Coach is going to put me there,” Jensen said.

It also opened things up for forward Lucas Weiner. Weiner finished with 13 points and pulled down many of the rebounds throughout the night. The River Kings had plenty of second chance shots off of offensive rebounds to help them keep their offense rolling.

The Kings had the 21-19 lead by the time halftime rolled around and didn’t let off the gas.

Three different River Kings notched double digits: Jensen (23), Weiner (13) and Struve (12). For a team that hasn’t scored over 43 points yet this season, breaking the 50-point threshold was a relief.

“Coach tells us, when we run our offense everything goes good,” Jensen said. “We haven’t scored more than around 40. We want to get out there and score a lot, but also to hold them to around 40 was good.”

The defensive effort was also there, minus a few breakdowns. The River Kings’ goal was to keep the Muskies to around 40 and they achieved that with the rebounding from Weiner and plenty of forced turnovers. The one place that they consistently got beat in throughout the contest was back. The Muskies were fast, and while the River Kings tried to stop the guard penetration up front, Muscatine easily found some buckets over the top of the defense.

It’s something they want to improve on moving forward in conference matchups.

“Defensively, a lot of teams in the MAC are really fast and physical,” Jensen said. “I feel like we have the athleticism and we just have to get back on defense, talk to each other and know where we are.”

It was also head coach Andy Eberhart’s first win as head coach of the boys’ program.

Clinton (1-3) takes to the road on Friday night. They continue in MAC competition, taking on Davenport Central in the Quad Cities. They’ll return to Yourd Gymnasium next Tuesday to welcome North Scott.

“We believe we can get another MAC win on Friday,” Jensen said. “It was big to get our first MAC win, we’re going right back to work tomorrow.”

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