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Clinton riding mini win streaks

Dragons take three straight, Lady Dragons take two of three

  • Clinton’s Rishon Bright puts up a layup against Powell. The Dragons won 63-58. - Collin Riggs

  • Jaz Moore jumps through Powell Panther defenders to shoot for the Lady Dragons. The Lady Dragons lost 72-45, but came back to win against Karns and Campbell County. - Collin Riggs

The Clinton Dragons hosted Campbell County on Saturday, Jan. 23 to end a banger of a week for the team after beating both Powell and Karns.

Clinton finished with a second win against the Cougars with a final score of 58-50.

The Dragons held the lead from the start, taking a quick six-point lead with two threes to open the game. And when Campbell County answered with their own trey to get on the board, Clinton sunk one more just to keep a six-point lead.

The only time the game grew relatively close came in the second quarter when Campbell County went on an unanswered hot streak, scoring seven points to put them in the lead for the first and only time before Clinton quickly retook it before the end of the first half.

At the start of the third, the Dragons quickly increased their lead to 42-31 before the Cougars could regain their footing.

Though Campbell County put up a solid effort in the fourth, scoring some very impressive treys, it wasn’t enough to close the gap and Clinton walked away three-for-three for the week.

Although the Dragons were outshot on two-pointers, their treys and free throws more than made up for that deficit.

The Dragons finished with an 81-percent free-throw average, gaining 17 points off free throws, and finished with seven treys to Campbell County’s four.

The rest of the stats were fairly split between the two teams, with Campbell County dominating on offensive rebounds with 11, while Clinton dominated on defensive with 17. Campbell County won out on steals with three, while Clinton led on deflections with the same. Campbell County finished with 26 points in the paint, but the drives cost them, with the Cougars ultimately pulling 19 personal fouls, giving Clinton all of those free throws.

The lion’s share of the free throws went to Jackson Garner, who shot 11 for 11, followed by Rishon Bright, who shot six for six. Garner once again finished as the team’s top scorer, with 16 points, as well as four assists and a deflection. Behind Garner, Bright continued his upward trajectory, coming in second place with 13 points, including two assists. Trace Thackerson and Lane Harrison finished with two treys apiece, while Thackerson also had three assists and a whopping 10 rebounds for Clinton.

Chris Lockard, head coach of the Dragons, said he was pleased with the team’s performance.

“It was a good district win,” he said. “I wasn’t pleased with our effort at all times. Our offense struggled a bit after the first quarter. I was really pleased with how we closed the game out, though. We went into top management mode, which we’ve been struggling with. I thought we did a much-better job being able to change our pace and manage the clock, and became much more selective about the shots we took. On the coaching side of it, I was extremely pleased about how we handled that part.”

Lockard said he wasn’t sure the team was giving all the effort it could at times, but he did admit the brutal schedule the Dragons have had lately could have contributed to that.

“We haven’t had a day off in a month, and they were a little fatigued,” he said. “Campbell County is much, much improved, too, and they play extremely hard, and that can show on your end. All in all, though, another district win. I think we’re at 7-2 in the district, so got a pretty good hold on second place right now.”

The Lady Dragons meanwhile, got two wins for the week, their first since returning from the holidays and then an extended quarantine.

The Lady Dragons beat Karns first in a strong 56-41 win in which Clinton held the lead from the first quarter and outright refused to give it up.

Sarah Burton led the team in that game with 32 points, followed by Naiyah Sanders with 13 and Belle Starnes with nine.

Sanders finished with 15 rebounds.

In the Campbell County game, the Lady Dragons once again took an early lead that they refused to relinquish, finishing 63-50 for the win against the Lady Cougars. Sarah Burton again dominated that game, although not quite to the same extent. Burton finished with 22 points, a steal, and two deflections. Behind Burton, Jaz Moore and Naiyah Sanders had 17 points apiece.

Moore finished with 11 rebounds and a deflection, while Sanders finished with an astounding 16 rebounds, as well as two assists, four deflections, and two steals— all with only a single foul.