Clinton, both boys’ and girls’ basketball teams, tamed the Ninety Six Wildcats on Tuesday night on the Red Devils’ home court.
The Red Devil girls opened the flood gates first with a dominant 47-29 victory. As fitting for her senior night, De’Shanti Watts led the way with 16 points and eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her Clinton career in the 2nd quarter.
Taneal Evans and Asia Boy each scored 6 points for the Red Devils. Anna Litzenberr scored 5. Three players – Serenity Baker, Tinique Austin and Zaria Tucker – scored 4 apiece.
Clinton (2-1) played outstanding defense from the tip, jumping out to a 17-6 lead after one quarter. Turnovers from the Wildcats (6-1) resulted in a staggering differential in shots taken between the teams. Clinton shot an efficient 46 percent to open the game but the Wildcats shot 75 percent, albeit on 4 attempts.
Ninety Six never recovered from its poor start, shooting 39 percent on 33 attempts. The Red Devils shot 43 percent on 46 attempts. The Red Devils also outrebounded Ninety Six, 26-16.
Jada Newsom led Ninety Six with 14 points.
Head coach John Gardner was proud of his team’s performance, despite all the extra rest they’ve had due to trying to navigate a season through a worldwide pandemic.
“We tried to get out early… only playing two games so far this year before tonight,” he said. “We didn’t have our first practice with everybody until last Friday, so we really wanted to try and get out early and get them up and down, running and moving.
“I thought they did a good job, I’m proud of them … still a lot of rust that you would usually see in November or December.”
As for the boys, they dominated the Wildcats 75-33 behind impressive defense and a well-tuned offense.
Similar to the girls, Clinton (1-2) got off to a hot start, leading 21-8 after one quarter, and never looked back. Austin Copeland dropped a game-high 16 points. Kimon Quarles, the lone senior on senior night, contributed 11, as did Taliek Fuller, as well.
Other Clinton scorers were Wilson Wages and Jamon Golden with 6 points each, Tylon Scurry with 4, James Anderson and Wil Stewart each with 3, Zechariah Johnson and Antavion Speaks, each with 2.
As a team, the Red Devils shot 51 percent (30-59) from the field. By comparison, the Wildcats shot a minuscule 26 percent (10-38) from the field. Clinton crashed the boards heavily and forced many turnovers from Ninety Six (2-5), resulting in another staggering difference in shots taken, similar to the night’s opening game. The Red Devils outrebounded the Wildcats, 47-20.
Jamarion Dunlap led the Wildcats with 9 points. Alan Shay added 7.
When asked if he was more pleased with his defense or offense, head coach Eddie Romines said both.
“I thought defensively, we put some pressure on them and created an up-tempo game, got some steals,” he said. “Offensively, we shot the ball a whole lot better than we’ve been shooting.
“But this is only our third game. The guys are buying in and playing tough defense and pushing it. We did a good job of moving the ball on offense and finding the open man. I’m pleased, but we gotta keep working to get better.”