Posted: Wednesday, February 11, 2015 10:20 pm
The Clinton Prairie Gophers boys’ basketball team earned their sixth consecutive win and took over sole possession of first place in the Hoosier Heartland Conference by defeating the Rossville Hornets 49-42 Wednesday night at home.
Both team’s leading scorers came on strong. Clinton Prairie junior Kale Morris had a team-high 26 points while senior Clayton Howard led the Hornets with 19 points. Morris leads the conference averaging 19.7 points per game just ahead of Howard, who is averaging 18.3 ppg.
Morris scored Clinton Prairie’s first seven points of the game, making two baskets in the paint and one 3-pointer, which gave the Gophers a 7-2 lead midway through the opening quarter. He scored nine points in the first quarter as Clinton Prairie led 13-9 after eight minutes of play.
Rossville junior Enrique Rangel led the Hornet defensive effort with three steals in the first quarter.
The Hornets quickly tied the game in the second quarter with baskets by sophomore Blake Miller and senior Kyle Bordner. Rossville took its first lead of the game after sophomore Matt Homco scored in the paint to make it 19-17 with 3:10 left in the first half.
The Gophers regained the lead with a Morris 3-pointer and a late 3-pointer by sophomore Drew Scott to give Clinton Prairie a 25-23 lead at halftime.
Both team stayed out of foul trouble in the first half as Rossville committed four fouls compared to Clinton Prairie’s three.
Scott buried a deep 2-pointer early in the third quarter and then senior Doug Coapstick found Morris in the paint for two, which extended the Gopher lead to six points.
The two teams exchanged 3-pointers midway through the third quarter as Clinton Prairie junior Jacob Price hit a deep shot followed by Bordner, which made the score 32-30, Clinton Prairie.
Morris hit 1-of-2 free throw attempts with 2:33 left in the third quarter, which gave the Gophers a three-point lead going into the final quarter.
The Gophers went on a 7-0 run to start the final quarter, milking four minutes off the clock in the process. Coapstick’s offensive rebound and putback extended Clinton Prairie’s lead to 10 points midway through the fourth quarter.
During the closing moments of the game Morris and sophomore Jared Stillwell combined for 6-of-8 at the free throw line to maintain a steady lead and seal the seven-point victory.
With the win, Clinton Prairie moved to 13-5 on the season and 4-0 in conference. Rossville lost its fifth game in a row, dropping to 5-13 (3-2).
Clinton Prairie holds a one-win advantage over conference opponent Tri-Central (3-0). The two teams will meet Feb. 20 at Clinton Prairie.