PDT Sports Contributor
PORTSMOUTH – The Clay Panthers defeated the Huntington Huntsmen Tuesday night by a score of 67-44. The Panthers took a dominant lead early and managed to hold off any serious comeback hopes.
Clay looked to push the tempo early. Nate Hinze helped the Panthers off to an early lead scoring 9 of his 17 points in the first quarter. The Panthers were in sync on both offense and defense, managing to score 22 points in the first while allowing just a single two point field goal from the Huntsmen.
Clay’s size bothered Huntington on the night. They were oftentimes allowed to go for second and third shot opportunities. Clay’s early lead did seem to allow them to relax a bit, which allowed Huntington to bounce back and make it a ball game through the third quarter. At the half the score was 41-24 with Clay in the lead.
During the third quarter, Huntington managed to cut the lead to 12. Huntsmen star player Deandre Viney managed to find the net and get going. Clay rallied, however, ending the quarter with a 56-39 lead.
The fourth quarter belonged to Clay. They came out sharing the ball, defending the passing lanes and communicating as they pushed their lead passed 20 points. Cameron King led the way in scoring for the Panthers with 20, Hinze had 17.
“I thought we did a good job in the first quarter,” said Clay Head Coach Adam Bretton. “We really got after the ball. To only give up two points says a lot. We were able to push the ball and attack the rim. They did a really good job being unselfish and getting open looks. That set us off from there.”
“In the second quarter we weren’t awful defensively they just managed to hit some shots. We did start giving up some rebounds, though. We got a bit content after the first quarter, and you don’t like to see that. You have to keep telling them to play for 32 minutes, regardless of how big the lead may be. Each quarter is a little eight minute game and you have to treat it like that. You can’t let up. Cameron King was huge for us to tonight, he communicates with the rest of the team, handles the basketball and it’s just a luxury to have a leader like that.”
“But as a whole I’m very pleased with our offensive effort. Defensively they looked a bit tired after the break we had. On the year, we had a rough spot early. We had two early losses but our goal is to get better every single game. The last two games we really have gotten better and going into the New Year things are looking up. We are going to be OK.”
Reach Derrick Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @DC__Parker
Box Score 1 2 3 4 F
Huntington 2 22 15 5 44
Clay 22 19 15 11 67
Clay: King 20, Hinze 17, Riffe 10, Gilliand 9, Williams 7, Meade 4; Huntington: Viney 12, Nelson 9, Smith 7, Lewis 7, Hankins 5, Barker 2, McClosky 2