A bitter defeat, a great season
The last thing Clinton's boys basketball team heard leaving the Bon Secours court Saturday was the serenade by Southside Fans - "Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Goodbye."
That's the way it is in championship sports. Only one team ends its season with a W.
Positioned behind the Clinton bench to be sure they were heard, the Southside faithful celebrated with their players a 71-43 Upper State Championship Game win that sends the once-beaten, #1 ranked team in AAA on to the State Championship. Clinton ends its season 21-4.
"I want to thank all of Red Devil Nation for your support during an amazing season. We dide not win today but we had a great season," Clinton boys basketball head coach Eddie Romines posted to Facebook. His post generated 52 comments.
Southside coach Steve Beasley said without a big, bulky player inside, Clinton was vulnerable to attacks near the basket. Southside's Jalen McKelvey led the winning effort with 23 points, and the Tigers move on to play Dillon for the AAA title Saturday in Columbia.
Clinton was led by Tymori Tribble's 12 points. Zay Hurley scored 10 points. All-State Pre-season Player Jalen Carter, a senior, scored 5 points in limited action. A very durable player all season, Carter was landed on by a Southside player and left with a neck injury. He retured and had his foot stepped on during a drive. He returned and had his foot stepped on from behind going for an uncontested layup. He returned and gutted it out until the end.
Southside led by 8 when Carter went out the first time. Vilo Boyd had a chance for a 1st quarter ending shot but missed. Southside had a 30-18 led by the end of the 1st quarter. Kiah Young scored with 5 seconds left in the 1st half, but Southside canned a shot at the buzzer to take a 37-20 lead into halftime.
Young's 3 points - layup and made free throw - made it 47-30 Southside with 3:02 left in the 3rd quarter. Clinton called timeout and came back out with a full court press. Southside had seen it before, and converted a shot. Southside kept its foot on the gas and cruised to the win. It was Clinton's first loss of 2017.
The Red Devils lost three times in the first part of the season - to Laurens, and to Aiken and Newberry in a tournament - then didn't lose again until their matchup with the #1 ranked team in AAA (Southside is 26-1). The Red Devil win streak was 14, including a 10-0 record in the newly aligned Region 3 AAA. The Red Devils defeated Indian Land, Pendleton and Berea to advance to the AAA Upper State Championship Game.
The Red Devil boys hadn't been there since 2002 and 2003. The Clinton girls played for the Upper State title in 2012.
Against Southside. Clinton grabbed 25 rebounds, committed 20 turnovers and shot just 8 free throws.