CLINTON — Coming from a win in their own New Year’s Showdown, the Clinton Maroons took to the Vance Gymnasium hardwood against the Monticello Sages.
The Sages are always shooting for playoff bids and have a very strong program in all sports.
The junior varsities (JV) squared off first on the evening, and the Maroons hung tough but just couldn’t bump past the Sages. The Maroons were as close as 3-4 points but then fell back.
After being down by 9-10 points, the JV team pulled to within seven points of the opposition, losing at the final buzzer 45-38.
The Maroons were led by Skyler Williamson (the only Maroon in double figures) with 15 points.
The varsity then took over the task of meeting the Sages on the floor. The Maroons held the oppositions offense in semi-check while keeping within striking distance in a tentative first quarter.
The second quarter was a surprise to the Sages as the Maroons stayed with them to force a tie score at halftime. The Maroons were pumped-up and the Sages seemed flustered.
Even scarier for the opposition was the Maroons team that took the floor in the second half and the lead at the end of the third quarter. This was supposed to have been a cruising game for the Sages.
This tussle went to the finale buzzer. Clinton’s Zeke Hickman hit a 3-point bucket with 20 seconds left on the clock for a Clinton two-point lead. Then, Monticello maneuvered to free a player for a lay-up which he made and was fouled. The basket was made and the Sages went away with their win, but they knew they had earned this one.
The final was Monticello over Clinton 52-51.
This takes the Maroons to 7-11 on the season. The Maroons were led by Zeke Hickman and Jared Jording in double figures with 14 and 10 points respectively.