By: Brian Burkhart Prep Reporter Twitter: @BrianESPN
The anticipation for this game was felt right as you walked into the Clinton gym. Everyone wanted to see the first place teams in the Rock Valley Conferences face off and they sure weren’t disappointed.
Clinton put everything they had into this game but in the end it wasn’t enough to stop the Trojans and the twin tower Prahl brothers. Nate Dodge went for 30 points and East Troy beat Clinton 81-69. Giving them the last three victories in this newly heated rivalry.
When the first quarter started the game looked to be a good one, as both teams shook off some early jitters and started hitting their shots with consistency. The first quarter for the Trojans was all about Alex and Brett Prahl, the 6’7 brothers combined to score 16 points in the first quarter. The Cougars had no answer for them, with the biggest guy on the court for the Cougars being Cody Risseeuw at 6’5. Risseeuw scored 9 points for Clinton in the first quarter, as sharp shooter Nate Dodge for East Troy was held to 0-5 from the field. The game was close at the end of the first with the Trojans in the lead, 21-18.
The second quarter was when East Troy split the game wide open, the Trojans started out on an 8-0 run causing Clinton to take an early timeout. The run by the Trojans was started by Nate Dodge who, held scoreless in the first quarter, picked the pocket of the Clinton ball handlers 3 straight times for easy fast break points. Clinton was only able to score two points in the first three minutes of play in the second quarter. Alex Prahl had 4 big blocks and didn’t let Clinton enter the paint all game long. It also didn’t help the Cougars that star player Risseeuw was a combined 5-12 in the first half, not being able to establish any sort of rhythm offensively. East Troy took a commanding 44-26 lead into the half, looking like they would take this game easily.
The start of the third quarter saw Clinton come out with a ton of energy, going on a quick 5-0 run. Head Coach of the Cougars, Denny Morris knew that his guys were going to come out of the half with a lot of confidence. “All I told them at the half was that we are still in this game, and we need to bring more energy than they do coming out of the locker room.” Energy is what Clinton brought to the second half, cutting the lead down to 14 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter, 39-53. Three straight East Troy offensive fouls and poor passing triggered the scoring run by the Cougars. Clinton finished the third quarter strong, making a game out of it, 45-58.
The start and end of the fourth quarter for the Cougars could not have been anymore different. Clinton had possession of the ball starting in the fourth and sank a deep three to start out the quarter. Then after Alex Prahl of the Trojans committed an offensive foul, the Cougars hit a layup, going on a 5-0 and only down now by 6 points. The crowd was back into the game and it looked once again that Clinton still had a chance to pull off a game that they were down by almost 20 at half. It didn’t help the Trojans that they couldn’t score a basket the first two minutes of the quarter. As Clinton looked like they were gaining momentum, East Troy started making their shots, and didn’t stop. Six points was the closest Clinton would get, as Nate Dodge of the Trojans made every shot he took, on his way to 30 points on the night. The game got out of hand in the final few minutes, as East Troy took the game 81-69. Along with Dodge’s 30 points, the Prahl brothers combined for 39 points on the night.
Clinton star Cody Risseeuw couldn’t find his stroke the entire night, scoring 24 points that were very hard to come by. Jalen McMartin was also a bright spot for the Cougars, racking up 16 points in the loss.
Both teams look to be in full command of the Rock Valley North and South division. The Cougars played a very tough game but East Troy has too much size for almost any team to matchup with.
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