Tigers defeat Maroons in another overtime test

News-DemocratDecember 14, 2013 

— Trevor Clay and the Edwardsville Tigers are getting used to overtime games.

Clay hit a key 3-pointer in overtime for the second time this week as the Tigers got past the upset-minded Belleville West Maroons 53-45 on Friday in a Southwestern Conference game.

Clay also hit a crucial 3 in overtime of the Tigers' 46-42 win over Belleville East on Tuesday.

"I guess you could say that," Clay said of the Tigers (7-0, 3-0 SWC) becoming experienced at playing in overtime. "We don't want anymore, but I feel confident going into overtime. I have faith in my teammates that we are going to pull it out."

Clay sustained a cut above his eye early in the first quarter. He left the game, but returned in the second quarter and finished with 13 points.

"It says a lot about Clay that he got drilled and his eye was bleeding badly," Edwardsville coach Mike Waldo said. "Thank goodness for (trainer) Drew Dintelmann, that he patched up Clay and he was able to get back out there. I thought that showed a lot of toughness on Clay's part."

Clay said he was told that he'll need six stitches to close the cut.

"I knew the team needed me, and I wanted to play," Clay said. "I was fine."

The Maroons (2-3, 1-1) showed their resolve by coming back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter against the Tigers' four-corner, slow-down offense to send the game into overtime.

"I told our kids how proud I was of them because Mike has run the four corners since 1980 or whatever, and I've had teams that are much more talented and much better who have come up here and wilted in the fourth quarter when he goes to that," said West coach Joe Muniz, whose team entered the fourth quarter trailing 34-24. "I thought our kids showed a whole lot of guts out there. Not a lot of them have been in this type of situation before."

Eugene Jones, who had a game-high 17 points, hit a 3-pointer from the baseline in front of the Maroons' with a defender in his face with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 40-40.

"I think the key to them catching us was they threw in some 3s," Waldo said. "They threw in three or four 3s, and some long ones.

"One of their guys hadn't been making any, but he made three or four tonight. (Cade Dibadj), I hadn't seen him play much. That obviously helped them."

The Maroons also got 10 points from Dibadj and six points from Steven Roberts and Cole Henke.

Roberts hit a left-hander from left side of the lane to put the Maroons ahead at the start of the overtime, but Clay hit a 3-pointer off a pass by Darius Crochrell and Jordan Harris followed with a three-point play to put the Tigers ahead 46-42.

After Roberts scored again, the Tigers sealed the win by going 8-for-10 at the free-throw line.

Shawn Roundtree was 6-for-8 and Crochrell 2-for-2 at the line in overtime.

Roundtree and Armon Fletcher had 14 points apiece to pace the Tigers.

The Maroons set the tone with their defense in the first half.

The score was tied six times, including 6-6 at the end of the first quarter and 24-24 at halftime.

The largest lead in the first half was four points by the Maroons twice.

"I was proud of how we guarded and rebounded tonight because if they didn't make the shot, they didn't get a whole lot of second-chance points," Muniz said.

The Tigers gained the upper hand with a 9-0 run in the third quarter that included a dunk by Fletcher off an alley-oop pass by Clay and a 3 from Clay at the buzzer ending the period.

However, the Tigers were unable to maintain that lead in the fourth quarter.

"They have athletes and they know how to guard you, and they have a lot of coaches sitting over there that know what they are doing," Waldo said. "I told them afterwards that I thought that was one of the best coached games that we've played against in a long time."

Though a loss, the Maroons should gain some confidence from standing toe-to-toe with the Tigers.

"Like I told them, I disappointed that we lost because we are all competitors and we want to come up here and win the game, but I know how tough it is to play on this floor," Muniz said. "Hopefully, this will be a game that we can turn to and build some confidence for the future."

Contact reporter Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.

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