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Bulldogs' scoring drought costly in loss to Eagles

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

Still searching for their first win of the season, the Clinton Central Bulldogs came up short Thursday night, losing 59-46 to the Faith Christian Eagles at Michigantown.

Clinton Central was sharp early, scoring the first eight points of the game before the Eagles made four consecutive 3-pointers to tie the game with a 12-1 run. Still, the Bulldogs led 13-12 at the end of the first quarter and went up 16-12 early in the second frame on a Spencer Smith 3-pointer, but then they went cold. The Bulldogs did not score again until nearly six minutes later.

Trailing 27-21 at halftime, Clinton Central scored even fewer points in the third period and trailed 42-27 heading into the fourth quarter.

“When you are as small as we are and rely on the 3-ball so much – and you are not hitting them – you are going to be in a lot of trouble,” Clinton Central head coach Whit Keadle said. “We couldn’t get stops when we needed to. It is just so hard for our kids when your 6-foot is your tallest guy and you are going against 6-4, 6-5 every night you have to battle every night. It’s hard. You have to hit shots, and we didn’t hit them.”

A bright spot for the Bulldogs was the scoring of junior forward Spencer Smith, who made six 3s and led Clinton Central with 21 points. But, he was also not immune to the mid-quarters slump, scoring just four combined points through the second and third quarters.

“Lately, he has started hitting them,” Keadle said. “Shooting is all about confidence. We have been talking a lot about it. We have to rely on that 3-ball. I talked to a coach in West Virginia that I really respect who coaches that way. They really shoot it, and I said ‘What do you tell your kids? Are there rules for your kids?’ And he said ‘No, coach. Tell them if they are comfortable shoot it because if they are not comfortable, they are not going to make it.’

“So, we have been really preaching to them to just be confident,” he continued. “If we take bad shots, then we will run a set or do something different, but be confident and be comfortable. It is hard when you are 0-17 now, but we just can’t put our heads down. We have to come back to work tomorrow and get better. That is all we can do at this point.”

Austin Norton led Faith Christian with 21 points while Jalen Jones came off the bench to make four 3s and finish with 16 points.

Clinton Central’s junior varsity won the early game, 58-36.

At Michigantown

EAGLES 59, BULLDOGS 46

Faith Christian

VanDokkenburg 2 2-2 7, Landess 1 2-2 5, Norton 3 13-13 21, Jones 5 2-2 16, Wiegand 3 0-0 7, Rosana 1 0-0 3. Totals – 15 19-19 59.

Clinton Central

S. Smith 6 3-6 21, Holton 2 0-0 5, R. Cripe 1 0-0 3, Martin 1 0-2 3, B. Smith 2 0-0 5, Hettmansperger 2 0-0 4, Barrett 1 0-0 2, Heide 1 0-0 3. Totals – 16 3-8 46.

Faith Christian 12 15 15 17 - 59

Clinton Central 13 8 6 19 - 46

3-point goals – Clinton Central 11 (S. Smith 6, B. Smith, Martin, R. Cripe, Holton, Heide), Faith Christian 10 (Jones 4, Norton 2, Wiegand, VanDokkenburg, Landess, Rosana). Total fouls – Clinton Central , Faith Christian 14.