The Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs, a six seed in their sectional bracket, traveled to Waverly on Wednesday evening to face the Adena Warriors, a number 11 seed in the bracket. The game would see the Mustangs jump quickly out to an 8-0 lead, which forced the Warriors to cause a quick timeout. From that point on, both teams traded baskets and after one quarter of play, the Warriors led the Mustangs by a score of 21-19.
The second quarter was one where multiple baskets were traded back and forth, but it was a key three point shot at the end of the second quarter buzzer that lifted the Warriors to a 42-38 halftime advantage. Coach Matt Carson spoke about the first half, “Credit Adena, they moved the ball well in the first half and found the open shooter. We didn’t close out very well at times, but their ball movement was a big reason for their offensive success.”
After halftime, the Mustangs clamped down their defense a little tighter, and after trailing by a score of 47-40 at one point, the Mustangs clawed their way back to knot the score up at 57 all after three quarters of play. The fourth and final quarter would prove to be the strongest of the night, as the Mustangs outscored their opponent 21 to 11 in the final frame. “Our defense was a lot better in the second half and guys stepped up and made plays when they needed to…Eric and Damin did a lot of the scoring for us, but I thought Austin Hilt sparked us defensively and helped gain momentum back in our favor. We talked the last two days about having a breakthrough moment in tournament games, and that was the one for us tonight.”
Eric McLaughlin led the Mustangs and all scorers with 31 points on the evening. Following McLaughlin was junior Damin Pierson, who scored 20. Austin Hilt chipped in 11 in the contest, while Raymond Conner, Noble Walker and Chris Young each added four. Blake Croy and Quintin Smith rounded out the scoring for the Mustangs with two points each.
Adena was led in scoring by Caleb Fogelsong with 20 points. Zach Fout followed with 18, and Logan Bennett added 15. Jarrett Garrison tallied seven on the evening, while Jacob Shipley scored six. Ethan Cunningham rounded out the scoring with two points.
Next up for the Mustangs will be a sectional final game on Saturday, February 24 at 8:30 PM at the Waverly downtown gymnasium against the number three seeded Portsmouth Trojans. Portsmouth defeated Huntington, 69 – 46, earlier in the evening.
LCHS: 19 19 19 21 – 78
AHS: 21 21 15 11 – 68
Lynchburg-Clay – McLaughlin 7 (4) 5-5 31; Pierson 2 (2) 10-12 20; Hilt 4 (1) 11; Conner 2 4; Walker 4-4 4; Young 2 0-1 4; Croy 1 2; Smith 2-2 2 – Totals 18 (7) 21-24 78.
Adena – Fogelsong 10 0-1 20; Fout 3 (3) 3-4 18; Bennett 2 (3) 2-2 15; Garrison 1 (1) 2-2 7; Shipley (2) 6 – Totals 17 (9) 7-9 68.
Matt Carson is the boys varsity basketball coach at Lynchburg-Clay High School.