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Not just hot ... Scalding hot

Dragons ranked No. 1 in AAA and playing like it

  • Clinton’s Jeremiah Blauvelt glides past a Halls defender for a rebound and put-back Friday night. - Ken Leinart

  • Clinton’s Trace Thackerson looks inside to make a pass Friday against Halls. - Ken Leinart

The Clinton Dragons added two more wins last week to improve to 7-1 (2-0 in District 4 AAA) on the season and the No. 1 ranking in MaxPreps Class 3A.

On Tuesday, the Dragons made the long trek to Clay County and beat the defending Class 1A champion Bulldogs by a score of 74-58.

“They’re the defending state [1A] champions and they only lost one kid off of that team and they’ve got a stud player in Grant Strong, who I believe has signed with Tennessee Tech,” said Chris Lockard, Clinton’s head coach. “He’s averaging 36 or 37 a game right now.

“Rishon Bright did a great job on him [Strong]. He held him to 12 in the first half. Strong ended up with 38 but got 14 of those in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand and he scored on a lot of free throws,” he said.

Clinton took a 19-8 lead in the first quarter and did not let up. They led the home team 40-24 at the half and maintained that lead in the second half.

“Defensively, I thought we were great. And we shot the ball great. We were 14-23 from the 3-point line. We rebounded extremely well on both ends. It was a quality win for us - especially at Clay County,” Lockard said.

Jackson Garner led the Dragons with 19 points and Jeremiah Blauvelt added 14.

Clay County’s Strong led all scorers with 38 points in a losing effort.

Clinton’s win snapped a 27-game winning streak by the Bulldogs.

CHS 19 21 14 20 74

CCH 8 16 16 18 58

CHS - Jackson Garner (19), Jeremiah Blauvelt (14), Trace Thackerson (9), Tyler Morgan (8), Hunter Rupert (7), Rishon Bright (7), Lane Harrison (7), Dodi Truss (3)

CCH - Grant Strong (38), Jeff Spivey (7), John Hamilton (4), Keaton Arms (4), Jimmy Burchett (3), Bryce Bailey (2)

On Friday, Clinton added a district win by beating visiting Halls 66-49.

The Dragons did not shoot the ball well in the first half as they only led 14-12 at the end of the first quarter and 31-27 at the half.

They managed to get some separation in the third quarter as they pushed the lead to 46-36 and pulled away from the Red Devils down the stretch as five Dragons reached double figures in scoring - Rishon Bright, Lane Harrison, Jackson Garner, Trace Thackerson, and Jeremiah Blauvelt.

“Another big district win. We found a way to win when we didn’t shoot the ball exceptionally well. We missed a lot of shots that we typically make. We missed open 3’s and took some bad shots. We had some shot selection issues,” Lockard said,

“We were able to win the game defensively and by sharing the scoring, when we’re not shooting the ball well that will go a long way with our confidence,” he said.

Bright led all scorers with 16 points.

Clinton will host district foe Scott (7-1 overall, 1-0 in district play) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Highlanders come are led by prolific scorer Trey Morrow, an All-State selection and Mr. Basketball candidate.

Halls 12 15 9 13 49

CHS 14 17 15 20 66

Halls - Luke Simpson (12), Caleb Shaffer (10), Tommy Hicks (7), Dayde Young (7), Kaiden Stanton (6), Jake Lane (5), Connor Cummings (2)

CHS - Rishon Bright (16), Lane Harrison (14), Jackson Garner (13), Trace Thackerson (11), Jeremiah Blauvelt (10), Tyler Morgan (2)