By John Goolsby, For the Tribune
Clay – The Clay–Chalkville Cougars (3-0) jumped out to a big lead early Tuesday night and cruised to a 73-49 win over Shades Valley (2-1).
Junior point guard Kevin Kirk, Jr. led the Cougars with 19 points and 5 rebounds. “He’s the heart and soul of our team,” said Clay head coach Chris Richardson.
The senior-laden Cougars raced out to a 21-2 lead at the end of the first period. “We got off to a slow start,” said Shades Valley head coach Audwin Howard. “We really got a reality check,” he said.
The young Mounties team settled down in the second period and cut the Cougar lead, with the help of the 3-point shooting by freshman Jeremiah Williams, to 13. Williams scored 21 points on 6 of 8 shooting behind the arc. Clay held a 33-20 lead at the break.
The third period was a back-and-forth affair, and Valley managed to pull within a dozen at 51-39 as the two teams headed to the final period. The fourth quarter was all Clay, and the Cougars pulled away to a big win, largely on the experience of their seven seniors and five juniors.
“I thought my guys played really hard,” said Richardson. “My guys have been working really hard and have a lot to prove.” he said.
Cordae Avettette had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds and had 3 blocks. Devon McKinnon added 11 points and Tiawan Hardy chipped in 9 points and 6 rebounds for Clay.
“This game showed us how much work we have to do,” said Howard. “I’m still proud of the guys, but with that being said, we are still building a culture and making guys realize how important it is to compete every night.”
Senior Kendarius Irvin added 11 points and 4 rebounds. Erin Callens chipped in 8 points and handed out 4 assists. Sean Crawford had 8 points and 3 assists for the Mounties.
The Shades Valley girls defeated the Clay-Chalkville girls 54-51 earlier in the evening.