One week after losing their first EMO Conference game of the season against Silex, Community R-VI head coach James Benson knew his Trojans needed to knock off Clopton last Friday night if they wanted to make a strong push for a conference title.
After all, Clopton was undefeated in the conference and beat Silex two times by at least 15 points.
Benson’s team responded to the challenge by handing the Hawks their first conference loss in a 36-33 victory.
“We needed this conference win to stay in the hunt for the conference title,” Benson said. “It wasn’t the highest scoring game but our boys stepped up when we needed them to…”
The Trojans wasted little time attacking the Hawks as they started with a 9-0 run behind Sean Wilson’s five points and Justin Durham’s four points.
Clopton scored the final four points of the quarter to slow Community R-VI’s momentum.
Wilson continued his dominance before halftime scoring nine more points and all of his 16 points in the first half. The Trojans stunned Clopton early and led 23-18 at halftime after making 9-of-23 shots from the field.
Clopton took advantage of the Trojans’ missed shots in the third quarter and managed to tie the game at 25. Durham helped the Trojans push their lead back to five points after his big 3-pointer with 2:13 left in the third.
Community R-VI could never pull away from the Hawks in the fourth as they scored all but two of their six points on the free throw line.
Clopton nailed a 3-pointer with 3:29 left to make it a one point game. Durham made 3-of-4 free throws in the final 26.3 seconds to put the Trojans up three. Aaron Fairchild made a steal in the final seconds to seal the victory.
Wilson finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, and one block while Durham tallied 12 points, seven rebounds, and one steal.
Austin Layman had four points, three rebounds, three assists, and one steal; Foreman had two points, one assist, and one steal; Lane Thebeau had one point, one assist, one steal, and one rebound; Cameron Dubbert had one point and one rebound; Brennan Wells tallied four rebounds; Clay Thebeau added three assists and one rebound; and Fairchild added four steals and one rebound.
Before knocking off Clopton, the Trojans easily disposed of district foe Louisiana 67-44.
The Trojans led 21-8 at the end of the first quarter and cruised to a 23-point victory over a Louisiana squad that won the district title last year.
“This was a great win for our boys,” Benson said.
“They came out of the gate and had great defensive intensity. They responded well after the tough loss to Silex last Friday.”
Justin Durham dominated Louisiana inside after making 14-of-15 free throws and finishing with 31 points and seven rebounds.
“They didn’t have an answer for Justin Durham inside,” Benson added. “He had a great game with 31 points. Our guards handled the pressure well…”
Wilson had 12 points and seven rebounds while Layman tallied four points, six assists, and four steals.
Fairchild had two points and five rebounds; Clay Thebeau had six points; Foreman added four points; both Wells and Lane Thebeau scored three points; and Dubbert added two points.