Clinton puts huge notch in belt
Clinton High may have earmarked that win Tuesday night against Rock Valley South rival Brodhead.
The Cougars outscored the Cardinals 19-8 in the fourth quarter and pulled out an emotional 63-50 victory in the battle for first place.
Justin Langley led the way with 17 points, while Ross Oldenburg had 14, and Chandler Stevenson chipped in 11 to help Clinton (7-1, 5-1) secure a two-game lead in the Rock Valley South over Brodhead (5-5, 3-3) and Turner (5-6, 3-3).
“This was a huge win for us tonight,” Clinton coach Denny Morris said. “If we lose this game, then we’re tied with Brodhead for first, but we won and gained a two-game lead.”
Meanwhile, Cardinals are left reeling from the missed opportunities at the free-throw line.
“Our free throws were god-awful tonight,” said Brodhead coach Brian Kammerer, whose team shot 9-for-26 from the line. “Free throws cost us the game, along with poor shooting and not doing the things that we did well in the first half.”
One of the things Brodhead failed to do in the second half was get shots for 6-10 senior center J.J. Panoske.
Panoske, who finished with a game-high 20 points, scored onlu four in the second half.
“We moved Cody Risseeuw off Panoske because of foul trouble and put Langley on him and then had Cody help out,” Morris said. “Then our guards did a better job of digging down on Panoske, so we almost had a triple team going every time he touched the ball.”
Stevenson and Langley then carried the offensive load in the fourth quarter with nine points en route to the 19-8 spurt.
“I think the way we go at people, teams tend to get fatigued,” Morris said. “I think in that second half Brodhead got a little fatigued.”
Perhaps the tired legs were the result of a grueling up-and-down first half.
Oldenburg kick-started the Cougars’ offense in the first period with a trio of three-pointers to help Clinton hold a 17-12 lead after one quarter.
Panoske, behind his trademark turnaround jumper, answered with 13 second-quarter points to help the Cardinals draw even at 31-31 by halftime.
The game remained knotted for most of the third, before Stevenson’s two free throws gave the Cougars a 44-42 lead at the end of the period.
The Cougars then cranked up the defense in the fourth and pulled out the victory.
“I thought our kids played one of their better games, but Clinton still beat us,” Kammerer said.
CLINTON 63, BRODHEAD 50
Brodhead (50)—Panoske, 6-7-20; Peterson, 1-0-3; Wallace, 2-0-4; Scheidegger, 3-1-8; Jordan, 2-1-5; Earleywine, 5-0-10. Totals: 19-9-50.
Clinton (63)—Stevenson, 2-7-11; Langley, 6-5-17; Roth, 3-2-8; Risseeuw, 2-0-4; Oldenburg, 4-3-14; McMartin, 4-1-9. Totals: 21-21-63.
Brodhead 12 19 11 8-50
Clinton 17 14 13 19 – 63
Three-point goals—Brodhead 3 (Panoske, Peterson, Scheidegger), Clinton 3 (Oldenburg). Free throws missed—Brodhead 17, Clinton 16. Total fouls—Brodhead 24, Clinton 22. Fouled out—Wallace, McKee, Risseeuw.