By ADAM PRUIETT
CLARKSVILLE — The Jeffersonville boys’ basketball team was something of a mystery to Clarksville coach Jason Connell.
Lucky for him his assistants seemed to have the Red Devils pretty well figured out by the time they hit the floor on Saturday night for a battle of undefeated and ranked teams, not to mention defending sectional champions.
Clarksville, behind a defensive game plan devised by Connell’s lieutenants, slowed down Jeffersonville’s high-octane attack and used a barrage of first-half 3-pointers in the process of gaining a commanding 63-45 victory at home in a game that saw three separate delays.
The 3-1 Red Devils, who are ranked ninth in Class 4A, had scored 70 points or better in each of their first three games. Connell deflected all praise to his Class 2A seventh-rated Generals (5-0) and assistants Scott Schermerhorn, Joe Estes and Brian McEwen for the gritty effort against Jeffersonville.
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my assistants because I did not have a chance to go see Jeff play. They did – twice,” Connell explained. “They came up with a good scouting report for me. I listened to them, and they were perfect with what they said.”
Perfect could also describe Clarksville’s shooting in the early going, especially that of Calvin McEwen. The senior guard buried three 3-pointers in the first quarter, and the Generals totaled six trifectas in the opening period alone in building leads of 11-0 and 25-13.
“Shooting is all rhythm and all this week of preparation I was feeling in a rhythm,” said McEwen, who capped the first quarter with a buzzer-beating 3. “Shooting is also about confidence and when you have confidence in your teammates, it really elevates the confidence in yourself. That’s all it was – rhythm and confidence.”
McEwen said only recently his shooting touch has felt back to its normal fluid state. He began the game by swishing a pair of 3-pointers from the top of the key. Senior guards Andrew Jones, Marquise Parrish and D.J. Coleman also knocked down shots from long range to complement McEwen.
“I’m shooting the ball well right now, and hopefully I can keep that up and continue to do what my team needs me to do to win,” said McEwen, who registered a game-high 23 points.
While Clarksville obviously couldn’t maintain that 3-point marksmanship the entire game, the Generals sank two more in the second quarter and their eight treys before halftime propelled them to a 38-20 lead. Jeffersonville, coming off a victory the night before to previously-unbeaten Silver Creek, couldn’t recover from the initial Clarksville push and couldn’t get closer than eight after the first quarter.
“The first few minutes of the game were probably the biggest part,” said Jones, who tallied 14 points. “We went out and took it to them.”
Jeffersonville’s chances for a comeback were greatly diminished when junior Myles Harvey was hurt with 2:10 left in the second quarter and didn’t return. Harvey was fouled under the Red Devils’ basket and sent spiraling into the concrete base of the wall of the stage that forms the backdrop of one end of the court at Clarksville.
The back of Harvey’s head hit the wall. While appearing woozy, he did walk off the court with minimal assistance. Jeffersonville officials said he was taken to the hospital for further treatment.
Before he departed, Harvey posted eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter that kept Clarksville from an even larger margin.
A second delay occurred with 3:47 left in the third quarter when the gym was evacuated due to the threat of a tornado. The teams headed to their respective locker room and fans filed into the school hallways for a half-hour before play resumed.
“Very bizarre. I’ve never been a part of a weather delay like that,” Connell said. “You see that in baseball, not in December. It was weird going to the locker room and coming back out.”
It was perhaps fortunate that the Generals did. The stoppage in action halted momentum for Jeffersonville, which had put together an 8-0 run to get back within 41-28.
After the delay – and after another brief ceasing of play to reset the clock following a flickering of the lights in the gym – Jones fed junior forward Nick Jones for a layup at the buzzer and a 45-31 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“They went on a run, so the delay kind of helped us a little bit,” Connell said. “We came out and got away from we wanted to do in the third quarter, kind of went berserk.”
Coleman had 12 points and eight rebounds for Clarksville, while senior forward Dionte Allen led the Devils with 11 points and eight rebounds and senior guard Keenan Williams chipped in 10 points.
Jeffersonville’s Matt Pait, who headed to the hospital after the game to check on Harvey, suffered his first loss as head coach of the Devils.
Not only did Jeffersonville post a season low in points, so did Clarksville, although the differential was only four less for the Generals as opposed to 25 for the Devils.
Jeff, like Clarksville, did a solid job taking care of the basketball overall, but that wasn’t the case early. The Devils committed four turnovers before they scored their first bucket in trailing 11-0.
“They have some players,” McEwen said, “but this whole week was about buying in defensively and I love the way we came out.”
CLARKSVILLE 63, JEFFERSONVILLE 45
Jeffersonville 13 7 11 14—45
Clarksville 25 13 7 18—63
Jeffersonviille (3-1): Drew Ellis 8, Chad Hudson 6, Chandler Dale 2, Keenan Williams 10, Dionte Allen 11, Myles Harvey 8.
Clarksville (5-0): Calvin McEwen 23, Keigan Fetz 1, D.J. Coleman 12, Nick Jones 5, Marquise Parrish 6, Aham Yennes 2, Andrew Jones 14.
3-point field goals: Jeffersonviille 4 (Harvey, Ellis 2); Clarksville 9 (McEwen 4).
Rebounds: Jeffersonviille 32 (Allen 8); Clarksville 22 (Coleman 8).
Assists: Jeffersonviille 2 (Williams 2); Clarksville 8 (McEwen 3).
Steals: Jeffersonviille 5 (Hudson 2); Clarksville 1 (Parrish).
Blocked shots: Jeffersonviille 0, Clarksville 2 (Fetz, A. Jones).
Turnovers: Jeffersonviille 9, Clarksville 11.
Team fouls: Jeffersonviille 25, Clarksville 17.
Fouled out: Jeffersonville — Hudson.
JV: Clarksville 42-34.