His players went three overtimes, but Clinton boys’ head coach Eddie Romines looked wearier than any of them Tuesday night.
Mid-Carolina, which had beaten the Red Devils by 20 points 11 days earlier, needed three overtimes to win 72-71 this time.
The news wasn’t all bad. The Clinton girls bounced back from their only loss with a 51-42 victory over the Rebels.
J.D. Payne and Amari Bates combined to score 59 of Clinton’s 71 points in the boys’ game, with Payne, who didn’t start, pumping in 33.
Which was all the more reason for Romines to wonder what’s it going to take.
“As far as effort goes,” Romines said, “they gave the max.”
With 5.2 seconds remaining in the third extra period, and the score tied 71-71, Mid-Carolina’s Aynsley Bowers hit one of two free throws. Payne couldn’t connect on a desperation, oh, 28-footer at the buzzer, and Clinton fell to 3-10, 0-2 in Region 3-3A.
Only five Clinton players – Payne with 33, Bates with 26, and Sam Tiller, P.J. Bluford and Konnor Richardson, each with four – put productive scribbles in the scorebook.
Mid-Carolina (11-6, 2-0) had four players in double figures: Chris Boyd with 15, Bowers and Shelton Brooks with 14 each, and Darian Bookman with 12.
“Our guys played as hard as they have ever played,” Romines said. “We wasted some opportunities, but everyone on that team displayed great intensity.
In seven periods, the Red Devils and Rebels took 132 shots, 76 by Mid-Carolina.
“Mid-Carolina has a good team,” Romines said, “but we let this one slip through our fingers. We will learn from it and get better.”
The Clinton girls’ coach, John Gardner, expressed similar sentiments, but his team came out on top. De’Shanti Watts led the way with 15 points, and the Red Devils hit 45 percent of their shots, 56 percent of their free throws, outrebounded the Rebels by eight and committed four fewer turnovers.
“At Union (County on Friday), we didn’t have tremendous energy, form or effort,” Gardner said, referring to a 48-35 loss. “Tonight we challenged them, and we were in much better form. … Union was a good lesson for us.
“I’m really of the way this team responded with much better intensity and focus.”
Like the boys, Clinton had five players score. Unlike the boys, the girls were balanced. Along with Watts’ 15, Terriauna Bennett and Tinique Austin each scored 10, Taneal Evans had nine and Savanna Campbell seven.
Clinton (13-1, 1-1 Region 3-3A) led from the outset: 12-5 after a quarter, 21-15 at halftime and 39-26 after three. Tia Goude scored 14 points to lead Mid-Carolina (7-4, 0-2).
Mid-Carolina (42): Saniya Williams 4, Kayla Fabe 8, A.C. Cary 4, Amelia Shealy 4, Reagan White 2, Nia Hall 3, Tia Goude 14, Brayntrisha Mathis 4, Moecha Watson 3. Field goals: 17-41. Free throws: 4-11. Rebounds: 24. Turnovers: 20.7.
Clinton (51): Taneal Evans 9, Savanna Campbell 7, De’Shanti Watts 15, Terriauna Bennett 10, Tinique Austin 10. Field goals: 18-41. Free throws: 14-25. Rebounds: 32. Turnovers: 16.
Mid-Carolina (72): Aynsley Bowers 14, Shelton Brooks 14, Darian Bookman 12, Chris Boyd 15, Terrell Dewalt 7, T.J. Bookman 5, Kaleb Boland 5. Field goals: 29-76. Free throws: 5-15. Rebounds: 42. Turnovers: 13.