Tall, talented East Troy cruises past Clinton
That has been the scouting report on East Troy’s boys basketball team this season.
The Trojans certainly made believers out of Clinton.
Tanner Plomb and Brett Prahl combined for 43 points Thursday night to lead East Troy to a 71-56 victory over Clinton in a WIAA Division 3 sectional semifinal game in front of a packed house in the Janesville Craig gym.
Second-ranked East Troy (23-2) plays Lodi (23-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Middleton High School with a state-tournament bid on the line.
Sixth-ranked Clinton, which set a school record for wins this season, finished 23-2.
In beating Clinton for the second time this season, East Troy used its huge front line of Prahl (6-foot-9), Plomb (6-8) and Alex Prahl (6-9) to dominate the boards. There are college programs that would kill to have East Troy’s size. The Trojans outrebounded the Cougars by a 2-1 margin and had numerous putback baskets underneath.
“Knowing we can go inside and that every kid on the court for us can post up, that’s key for us,” East Troy coach Darryl Rayfield said. “All year long, I’ve felt the Prahl brothers were a little bit underrated because they don’t get as many touches because our other guys are so talented.
“And let’s face it. Clinton’s a pretty good basketball team. They lost only one game all year coming in and play the game the right way. We knew what a challenge it would be.”
Clinton built an early 14-6 lead behind six points from junior Cody Risseeuw. The Trojans battled back with a
6-0 run to end the first and trailed by two. East Troy took the lead for good at 20-18 on Brett Prahl’s putback with just more than three minutes left in the half and eventually led 29-25 at the break.
A 13-0 East Troy run early in the third pushed the lead to 44-27, as Clinton had no answer in the post. Plomb, an Army recruit, had seven in the third and 13 in the second half. The senior made all seven of his free-throw attempts, while the Trojans were a perfect 16 for 16 at the line.
The Cougars got no closer than 15 in the fourth as the two teams traded baskets.
Clinton coach Denny Morris said the loss stung but could not detract from an incredible season that saw the team win a record 19 straight games and the Rock Valley South Conference title.
“I hope East Troy goes on and wins a state championship,” Morris said. “We had a game plan and had to find a way to make it work, but when shots don’t drop, there’s not much you can do. And their size and second-chance points really hurt us.
“These guys (Clinton) have already built a legacy, no matter what happened tonight. And if East Troy goes on and wins state, that will add to the legacy.”
And if East Troy plays the way it did the second half the rest of the way, the next three opponents will realize the Trojans are, indeed, too tall and too talented.
EAST TROY 71, CLINTON 56
Clinton (56)—Stevenson, 7-1-17; Langley, 5-0-11; Roth, 1-0-3; Risseeuw, 8-0-16; McMartin, 2-0-5; Bergman, 1-0-2; Risse, 1-0-2. Totals: 24-1-56.
East Troy (71)—Olsen, 0-4-4; Dodge, 5-2-12; Plomb, 7-7-22; B. Prahl, 9-3-21; A. Prahl, 6-0-12. Totals: 27-16-71.
Clinton 14 11 9 22—56
East Troy 12 17 22 20—71
Three-point goals—Clinton 5 (Stevenson 2, Roth, Langley, McMartin), East Troy 1 (Plomb). Free throws missed—Clinton 1, East Troy 0.
Total fouls—Clinton 16, East Troy 9.