Fowler’s big night lifts Clay over Green


ROSEMOUNT — Six-foot and six-inch senior center Kenny Fowler led the way for Clay, with 18 points and was a perfect six-for-six at the free-throw line, as the Panthers knocked off Green 46-38 on Friday night in Southern Ohio Conference Division I boys basketball action at Clay High School.

“I’ve actually been struggling all season from the line, so today was a really good day,” Fowler said. “I tried to come out in the second half and give the team what we needed. I didn’t give them much in the first half, so I wanted to do better. I knew I had to come out and put in the effort and let my team realize I was there for them.”

After Green’s Nathaniel Brannigan’s reverse layup closed the gap to 23-22 early in the third quarter, the Panthers outscored the Bobcats 20-7 in the period, highlighted by Fowler’s two three-point plays.

“Just a good team effort,” Clay head coach Bobby Blanton said. “We’ve been stressing to the kids to take care of the ball and make better passes and cut down on our turnovers.”

The Panthers (3-14, 2-5 SOC I) lost two of their better ballhandlers in Keegan Newman and Quinten Demorest to fouls midway through the fourth quarter with a 41-29 lead.

Newman finished the game with eight points, while Demorest added seven points in the win.

The Bobcats tried to take advantage of the opportunity, and Landon Kimbler whipped off nine points in the span, including a steal and a layup followed by a three-pointer.

But Clay held its composure, and Aiden Ball connected on three of four free throws down the stretch to put the final score at 46-38.

Ball netted nine points with three field goals.

“We knew we had to guard Kimbler because he’s a heck of a player,” Blanton added. “I told them to stay calm and take care of the ball and not to be in such a hurry to get rid of the ball. Some of these sophomores need to learn to play in these moments and know who they are passing to and where the ball is going.”

Kimbler finished the game with a game-high 23 points for the Bobcats (4-12, 3-3 SOC I), which played without leading scorer and six-foot-three sophomore Jonathan Knapp (17 ppg), who was sidelined due to concussion protocol.

“We just didn’t do a good job of converting turnovers into points,” Green head coach J.D. King said. “They got a few more baskets than we did and a few more stops and that was the difference.”

Clay got off to a 12-0 lead to start the game — that included two hoops by Newman.

The Bobcats did not score a bucket until the 1:07 mark — when Brannigan hit an eight-footer.

Green responded, and came out and went on a 12-0 run of its own in the second quarter, capped off by a four-point play from Kimbler — who was fouled as he sank a three-pointer from the corner.

But Fowler kept the Panthers close — with a 12-foot shot and a pair of free throws to go into the half trailing Green 18-17.

The Panthers put up 20 points in the decisive third period, and led 37-25 entering the fourth.

“The separation we got early in the third quarter really came at a good time,” Blanton said “We got a big lead and responded to adversity. I’m proud of the way our kids responded.”

* * *

Green 4 14 7 13 —38

Clay 12 5 20 9 —46

GREEN 38 (4-12, 3-3 SOC I)

Brody Stapleton 1 1-1 3, Blake Smith 0 0-2 0, Nathaniel Brannigan 3 0-0 6, Uriah Satterfield 3 0-0 6, Landon Kimbler 7 7-7 23; TOTALS 14 8-10 38; Three-point goals: 2 (Landon Kimbler 2)

CLAY 46 (3-14, 2-5 SOC I)

Kenny Fowler 6 6-6 18, Quinten Demorest 3 1-2 7, Keegan Newman 3 2-2 8, Aiden Ball 3 3-4 9, Isaiah Whitt 1 0-0 2, Ryan McCullough 1 0-4 2; TOTALS 17 12-18 46; Three-point goals: none

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