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5 Big Things: Clinton Outlasts Woodruff

Holding a half game lead in the Region 4-3A standings with just three games to go, the Clinton Red Devils traveled to take on the Woodruff Wolverines on Tuesday night. Woodruff entered on a three-game winning streak, Clinton with a perfect in-region record at 5-0. Clinton withstood a late Wolverines fourth quarter charge to come out with the win, 52-47. Here are my biggest takeaways from the game.


1-Clinton showed early on in this game why it has dominated the region all season. A strong and unrelenting defense on one end, into a physical interior offense on the other, the Red Devils are right up there with the best teams in the upper state at 3A. Now winners of seven games in a row, Clinton has locked up a home playoff game and needs one win in its last two games to claim the region title.

2-Just about every player that touched the floor for the Red Devils was ready and able to do whatever it took to get clear shots up in the paint. Big bodies like Devin Swindler and Tushawan Richardson were getting to the basket all game, leading Clinton in scoring. Richardson poured in a game-high 17 points including the five clinching free throws in the fourth quarter, and Swindler gathered 12 points. Clinton needed every point they could get in the fourth quarter, and Richardson made the plays to do it.

3-Since mid-December, Woodruff has been a roller coaster ride. Beginning with a game at Laurens on December 6th, the Wolverines won six of eight, then lost four of its next six, and entered last night on a three-game winning streak. Woodruff needed a fourth quarter scramble to get back within two points, but ultimately it was the first quarter hole that the Wolverines couldn’t climb out of. Coming out of the gates, Woodruff turned it over too much and struggled to hit shots as Clinton raced out to an 18-6 first quarter lead. By the time the Wolverine’s go-to scorers started hitting consistent shots, it was too late.

4-Nick McConnell had 14 points in the loss, hitting three three-point shots in the game. Happy Lea and Kory Scott struggled to find their shots until the fourth quarter, where Scott sparked the comeback attempt by scoring the team’s first eight points of the period before you could blink. He scored 10 in the quarter, and Lea finished with 7 points which all came after halftime. 

5-With the win, Clinton has all but locked up the region championship. The Red Devils need one win against Chester (4-10, 0-6) or Emerald (8-14, 1-4) to lock up the title, the two bottom teams of the group. Woodruff is in a good position to still host a playoff game even after last night’s loss, but has less margin for error. The Wolverines have one region game remaining, at home against Union on February 6th to go with a current 1.5 game lead on the Yellow Jackets for second place in the region. 

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