By JON REITER
After Friday night’s hotly-contested win over town rival Providence, the Class 2A No. 5 Clarksville Generals were looking for things to be a little more comfortable against another county opponent as they took on New Washington at home Saturday.
The Generals and Coach Jason Connell got the result they wanted, an impressive, 73-35 win over the 2-8 Mustangs.
Clarksville dominated from the opening tip, jumping out to a 22-5 lead at the end of the first quarter before extending the advantage over the remainder of the contest.
“Saturday games are tough,” said Clarksville coach Jason Connell, whose squad improved to 9-1 with the win. “You spend a lot of your week preparing for Friday nights, and sometimes you don’t know as much about the team you’re going to play Saturday. One thing I was looking for: Can we come out tonight and play hard? I think we did that.”
Senior guards Andrew Jones and D.J. Coleman led Clarksville with 15 points apiece, and point guard Calvin McEwen added 14. Clarksville, which has won four straight, ratcheted up the defensive intensity against the Mustangs during the first quarter, forcing them into nine of their 19 turnovers over the first eight minutes.
“I thought defensively we played pretty well,” Connell said. “Again, you’re looking for your team to play as hard as it can so you can keep improving.”
The statistics slanted favorably across the board for the Generals in virtually every category last night. Clarksville out-rebounded New Washington 29-16, and won the turnover battle with a plus-11 margin.
The Mustangs had three players finish in double figures. Junior guard James Clemons led New Wash with 13 points. Devin Harron added 12 and freshman forward Zach Moore, who gave them a potent inside presence, finished with 10 points to go along with six rebounds.
The next few weeks will show what kind of mettle Generals have as they head towards the postseason. Clarksville travels to Class 3A No. 4 Corydon Central Friday night in what should be one of the most highly-anticipated games of the week.
That contest is one of four consecutive road games Clarksville will play before returning home Feb. 7 to face Class 3A No. 8 Brownstown Central.
The games against Corydon and Brownstown, in particular, will go a long way in helping determine a champion in the highly competitive Mid-Southern Conference.
“Earlier in the year, when we won against Jeff [63-45 on Dec. 21] and played [Class 3A No. 2 Bowman Academy to within 79-76 on Dec. 23], I thought that was a good test for us,” Connell said. “There’s no question the next few weeks are going to be tough. But we’ve got experienced players, and a lot of seniors. I think we’ll be okay.”
The Mustangs host Henryville in a Southern Athletic Conference matchup on Friday night.
CLARKSVILLE 73, NEW WASHINGTON 35
Clarksville 22 11 19 21—73
New Washington 5 7 4 19—35
Clarksville (9-1): A. Jones 15, McEwen 14, Fetz 0, Parrish 6, Coleman 15, Yennes 2, Guenthner 9, N. Jones 4, Kissel 8.
New Washington (2-8): Ellison 0, Clemons 13, Miles 0, Zimmerman 0, Moore 10, Herron 12, Hudnall 0, Matthews 0, Horton 0.
Rebounds: Clarksville 29 (A. Jones 7), New Washington 16 (Moore 6).
Free throws: Clarksville 7-9, New Washington 7-10.
3-point field goals: Clarksville 8 (A. Jones 3, Guenthner 2, Coleman 2, McEwen), New Washington 4 (Herron 3, Clemons).
Turnovers: Clarksville 8, New Washington 19.