HILLSBORO — In a spirited, hard-fought battle, East Clinton opened the 2020-21 Winter Sports season with a 47-29 win over Hillsboro Friday night at the HHS gym.
“Couldn’t ask for a better start,” EC head coach Bill Bean said. “I thought our girls played pretty good defense. They are very, very scrappy.”
For East Clinton, Libby Evanshine led all scorers with 15 points. Kami Whiteaker had 9 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals. Gracie Evanshine had 4 rebounds and 6 steals.
For Hillsboro, Bryanna Bledsoe led with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Eden Edenfield grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked 2 shots. Sinai Roberts came up with 2 steals.
“It was tough definitely,” first-year Hillsboro coach Chad Fields said. “The girls are learning a new system and it showed at times tonight. We only have two girls with varsity experience (and no seniors).”
East Clinton forced 32 Hillsboro turnovers and held the Indians to 19.5 percent shooting (8 for 41) from the field.
“They gave a good effort and I think that showed on the defensive end,” Bean said.
The Indians started well, though. Hillsboro led 7-6 after one and 10-9 in the second when Edenfield converted an old-fashioned three-point play.
But the Astros clamped down on defense and held the Indians to 1 field goal on their next 22 attempts.
“We want to play up-tempo and in order to do that some of those shots have to start falling,” said Fields.
The EC offense began to click after a 2 for 14, 7-turnover opening period.
“Jittery, nervous first quarter,” said Bean, the long-time boys coach at EC who took over the girls program in the wake of Jeff Craycraft’s recent passing.
Whiteaker fed Gracie Evanshine for a basket to make it 15-10. Libby Evanshine then capped an 11-0 run with two free throws at the 3:28 mark and East Clinton led 20-10. The result was never in question from there.
“These girls practice harder than some teams play (in games),” said Bean. “They’re just that aggressive. They bring it every night.”
Katrina Bowman and Lanie Clark, along with Gracie Evanshine, paced the Astros defense that harassed the Indians much of the night.
Hillsboro, trailing by a 24-14 count at the intermission, fell behind 30-14 before scoring its first points of the third period at the 4:01 mark. Bledsoe’s free throw made it 30-15.
Bowman’s back-door pass to Gracie Evanshine at the third period buzzer made it 36-17 East Clinton.
In the fourth, both coaches went to the bench. Jordan Collom of EC had three steals and a blocked shot in the quarter. Bledsoe had six points for the Indians.
“We preach to the girls when adversity hits, we have to push through that,” Fields said. “We talk to them about an old John Wooden saying ‘It’s not the final score that determines whether we are successful or not.’”
• There was a decided Clinton County feel to Friday’s opener even though it was in Highland County.
First, East Clinton appeared to have the much larger fan following, despite the pandemic restrictions.
Aside from that, Hillsboro had at least three people with Clinton County connections. Fields, the HHS head coach, is a Clinton-Massie High School graduate. Sawyer Hooper Knutsson, an assistant coach for HHS, is a Wilmington High School graduate. Chad Haynie, the public address announcer, is a WHS grad and also serves as a PA voice for Clinton-Massie sports.
• The East Clinton girls sported new pre-game shooting shirts, courtesy of the Brian Mudd Foundation.The shirts were red and gray. On the back, a basketball with two wings is the centerpiece. One wing is for the Foundation’s namesake Brian Mudd, the Clinton County Sports Hall of Famer who passed away, while the other wing was for Jeff Craycraft, the EC head coach who passed away shortly before the start of the season.
Nov 20, 2020
@Hillsboro High School
East Clinton 47 Hillsboro 29
(47) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) L. Evanshine 4-0-7-15 Whiteaker 2-2-3-9 G. Evanshine 3-0-1-7 Clark 1-0-1-3 G. Boggs 0-0-0-0 Lilly 1-0-0-2 Bowman 2-0-3-7 Murphy 0-0-0-0 Jones 1-0-0-2 Runyon 0-0-0-0 Collom 0-0-2-2 J. Boggs 0-0-0-0 Tong 0-0-0-0 TOTALS 14-2-17-47
(29) HILLSBORO (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Dean 1-0-2-4 Roberts 1-0-0-2 Edenfield 1-0-3-5 Bledsoe 4-0-6-14 Moberly 1-0-0-2 Barney 0-0-0-0 Scott 0-0-0-0 Eastes 0-0-0-0 Garman 0-0-0-0 TOTALS 8-0-13-20
FIELD GOALS: EC-14/50 H-8/41
3 PT FIELD GOALS: EC 1/17 H 0/15
FREE THROWS: EC 17/23 H 13/21
REBOUNDS: EC-36 (Whiteaker 6 L Evanshine 5 Jones 5 G Evanshine 4 Bowman 3 Clark 2 Lilly 2 G Boggs 1 Runyon 1 Collom 1. H-37 (Edenfield 10 Bledsoe 8 Dean 6 Moberly 4 Barney 3 Roberts 2)
ASSISTS: EC-7 (Whiteaker 3 L Evanshine 2 G Evanshine 1 Bowman 1); H-1 (Dean)
STEALS: EC-19 (G Evanshine 6 Clark 3 Collom 3 L Evanshine 2 Lilly 2 Whiteaker 1 G Boggs 1 Jones 1); H-7 (Roberts 2 Dean 1 Edenfield 1 Moberly 1 Barney 1 Eastes 1)
BLOCKED SHOTS: EC-4 (L Evanshine 1 Lilly 1 Jones 1 Collom 1); H-5 (Edenfield 2 Dean 1 Moberly 1 Scott 1)
TURNOVERS: EC-23; H-32
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports