DSCN0867.JPG

At the end of Wednesday night’s boys’ basketball game at the Clinton High School gymnasium, the lights were still shining brightly.

The Ben Lippen Falcons (9-3) tried to shoot them out.

In a 71-59 victory over the Red Devils, Ben Lippen hit 20 of 38 field-goal attempts for a percentage of .526. Eight were 3-pointers. Five were by Clayton Hunt, who scored 21 points. Three were by Belton Portugues, who scored 26. Porter Stanley didn’t venture outside at all, but he is 6-foot-8, so 12 was plenty.

The Falcons hit 23 of 26 free throws. That percentage was .885.

Clinton (1-3) hit one fewer shot and tried 19 more (19-57, .333). Led by Austin Copeland with 18 points and Wilson Wages with 15, the Red Devils canned eight 3-pointers themselves: 5 by Wages, 2 by Kimon Quarles, who scored 8, and one by Taliek Fuller, who also scored 8. The Red Devils were quite proficient at the free-throw-line, too: 14-19 (.737).

“Wilson Wages played great,” Clinton head coach Eddie Romines said.

After defeating Ninety Six 75-33 the night before, Clinton was weary but game. It will need a few more energy drinks on Thursday because weather concerns have resulted in moving up the Region 3-3A opener at Union County by a night. It’s a “preponement.”

The Columbia private school, which competes in SCISA Region 1-3A, led by 12 points (28-16) after a quarter and 20 (45-25) at halftime, and yet Clinton climbed back to within 10 points twice in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. The Falcons were never threatened, but Clinton’s second-half pressure at least gave them pause from their flight.

“We had several chances in the fourth quarter to get closer,” Romines said, “but I thought we played much better defense after we made some adjustments in the second half.

“We got out of our press in the first half because, frankly, we weren’t getting the effort and they were beating us down the floor and getting some easy shots. That effort was much better in the second half. We just have to build on that.”