Dragons ready to start their own win streak
Regarding their current form, the Clinton High School Basketball teams are trending in opposite ways.
The Lady Dragons (13-5, 5-3) faced two District-3AAA opponents last week, as they visited Karns High School on Tuesday, and hosted Knoxville Central on Friday.
The Lady Dragons would win big both games — defeating Karns 65-21, then Central 54-31. The Clinton ladies have been playing extremely well, and have won nine out of their last ten games.
However, The Dragons (9-10, 3-5) have lost five straight games, after being defeated by Karns and Central last week, then Wayne County over the weekend.
With eight games remaining in the regular season, Clinton will have six district games within that span. Sitting in the sixth spot in District-3AAA, this week would be perfect start for a much needed Dragons’ win-streak.
Against a struggling Lady Beavers program, the Lady Dragons took an early 17-2 lead. The ballgame failed to be much of a contest, and the Lady Dragons cruised to an easy win over Karns. Kinley Martin led the Lady Dragons with 21 points.
Nikki Jones followed with 15 points, and Danyel Joy added 11 points of her own.
In the boys’ matchup, the contest was much closer, and featured 15 lead changes.
Clinton’s 11-point second quarter lead was erased by the midpoint of the third quarter, and Karns would go on to take a 46-40 lead heading into the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter alone, there would be five lead changes. Yet, at the end of four quarters of play, the two teams were headed to overtime, deadlocked 55-55. The first overtime continued to be a back-and-fourth affair, but again, the ballgame would not be decided. Both teams headed to double-overtime deadlocked at 66-66. Down two, late in double-overtime, Clinton needed a bucket to tie the contest again. However, the Dragons failed to do so, and Karns would earn a close 77-75 win over Clinton. The Beavers were led by Tee Hodge-Harper, who led all scorers with a game-high 34 points. For Clinton, Evan Winchester put up a team-leading 24 points. Luke Harrison was also productive offensively for the Dragons, and finished with 19 points.
On Friday, against Central, the Lady Dragons would again set the cruise control and earn an easy 54-31 win. More importantly, for Senior guard Nikki Jones, this win will always be special. Against the Lady Bobcats, Jones entered the Clinton High School Basketball 1,000 career points club. Truly a special individual achievement apart of a team game—one to be proud of.
In the boys’ contest, the District-3AAA leaders came to Clinton looking to revenge their loss to the Dragons earlier this season. Both teams were evenly matched through two quarters, tied 27-27 at the half. However, the slim second quarter leads that Clinton had at points would be the only time the Dragons led in the ballgame. A big 25-point third quarter from Central’s offense completely changed the momentum of the game. Clinton fought the whole fourth quarter to get back in the ballgame, but failed to do so. Central tallied another District-3AAA win, 76-62 over Clinton.
The Dragons traveled to Cumberland Gap this past weekend, where they faced Wayne County. Clinton would fall 92-66, which put a cherry on top of a frustrating week. “We need to just play hard and play together,” said Dragons senior Luke Harrison. “We have two winnable games this week to get us back on track this week, which will give us that confidence we need,” said Harrison. He is right, and the Dragons will have their first opportunity on Tuesday night at home versus Halls. On Thursday, the Dragons travel to Campbell County—where the boys hope to go 2-0 for the week. The girls’ game will be interesting too, as the district-leading (19-2, 8-0) Lady Cougars will face a hot Lady Dragons squad.
Keys to the Game
Defense Friday night, the Lady Bobcats came out hot in the second half. For two minutes. Then the Lady Dragons got serious.
Who’s next? On any given night the Lady Dragons can put up points. You never know who’s going to have he highest point total.
Defense, part II At times, Clinton plays extreme defense. Trevor Bryant can be an animal.
Downtown Okay, they’re streaky at times, but the Dragons can hit from downtown: Trace Wandell, Evan Winchester, Luke Harrison, and Chase Lockard can flat out shoot the rock.