While so many activities were going on for Orange out the Night in the hallways, the action inside the gym was just as exciting.
The Elsberry versus Clopton school rivalry kept the fan filled gymnasium on the edge of their seats for the girls and boys varsity basketball games. In the girls contest the Lady Indians dropped a close game 48-43, while the Indians pulled out a 62-48 victory. Despite the scores both games were decided in the last few minutes.
Even though the Lady Indians trailed the entire game they never gave up and made the Lady Hawks work for their victory. Elsberry came out slow in the first quarter falling behind 19-10 at the end. In the second quarter, the Lady Indians actually outscored Clopton 10-9 and trailed by eight points at halftime. The third quarter saw a new Elsberry team as they played Clopton point for point with both teams scoring seven. The final eight minutes was exciting and nerve racking for everyone in the gym. In the final quarter Elsberry held the visitors to just three field goals, while they scored seven field goals, outscoring Clopton 16-13.
The deciding factor was the Hawks hitting their free throws in the final seconds. Senior Tess Weakly was a top the point column as she scored 20 points in the game.
Coach Koch-Dowell had these thoughts about the game, “With being down two players we fought hard and didn’t give up making it a game all the way to the end. The game didn’t end like we wanted it to but there were some good things that came out of the game. Clopton has always been a tough team.”
In the first half of the boys game the two teams traded buckets, with Elsberry trailing by two, 28-26 at halftime. The Indians came out on fire after halftime, scoring 20 points in the third quarter and taking a nine point lead going into the fourth.
Midway through the final quarter the Hawks tied the game and tried to take the lead, but Elsberry was able to hold off their charge and take the victory. Clopton’s coach, Tony Francis, tried to change the momentum of the game getting called for a technical foul by the official, but Elsberry’s senior, Derrick Taylor made the free throws putting the game out of reach with time running out.
Leading the offensive charge for the Indians was Garik Hill with 30 points and Taylor with 22 points.
When asked about the game, Coach Twellman responded by saying, “I felt we did some really good things. We did not defend as well as I would have liked but we won a conference game versus a well-coached team. Our poise late in the game sealed the deal for us. We have been working hard on our end game performance with a lead and it showed Thursday.”
The Indians will play at home on Friday night against Wright City at 5:30 p.m. with JV and the Varsity game to follow.