BY MIKE RILEY
NEW WASHINGTON —
It was doubleheader weekend and with Clarksville and New Washington coming off losses on Friday ... well, someone’s weekend was destined not to turn out well.
That would not be the Generals.
After dropping a 60-51 decision at rival Providence in the City Championship on Friday, Clarksville got off to a good start against the Mustangs on Saturday and never looked back as it picked up a 67-41 road victory at New Washington.
Clarksville (7-3) was never threatened after building a 21-4 first quarter lead in which they made more shots (8-of-18) than New Washington attempted (2-of-7). The Generals also forced six turnovers in that opening period, which was the key according to Clarksville head coach Jason Connell.
“There is an old saying that good defense leads to good offense and we take pride in our defense,” he said. “That set the tone tonight and I was pleased to see that. We’ve been through a tough four-game stretch and it was good to see the kids respond.”
Clarksville continued to build its advantage to 33-12 at halftime and 48-16 after three quarters.
New Washington (5-6), which had dropped a 63-40 decision at Borden on Friday for its first Southern Athletic Conference loss, did pick up the pace somewhat in the fourth quarter. Behind the play of Devin Herron, who had 14 of his team-high 16 points in the quarter, including two 3-pointers.
“When you only score four points in the first quarter, then you’re going to have to defend awfully well,” New Washington coach Jonathan May said. “They’ve got three good shooters and they’re tough to guard.”
Clarksville’s Austin Johnson scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the third quarter as the Generals outscored New Wash 15-4.
Aidan and Calvin McEwen added 11 points each, all before halftime. Andrew Jones finished with 10 points. Tim Cochran added 10 points for the Mustangs.
“Austin Johnson had all 15 of our points in the third quarter,” Connell said. “We need that from him. He can’t be the type of guy that shows up one game and not the next. Hopefully, this will build his confidence.”
Connell also had the luxury of playing 13 kids with 10 reaching the scoring column.
“I think that we’ve played four straight weekends so it was good to be able to rest some kids,” he said. “But I wasn’t totally pleased, we gave up nearly 30 points in the fourth quarter. You still have to defend.”
“We just have to get tougher both physically and mentally,” May said. “We had two or three kids do well with that tonight, but it’s hard when you get down early like we did. And Devin is capable of games like he had tonight.”
Both teams will again have doubleheaders next weekend as Clarksville will host Corydon Central and Austin in big Mid-Southern Conference contests, while the Mustnags will travel to Henryville on Friday for a Southern Athletic conference contest, then return home Saturday to host Shawe Memorial on Saturday.
“Right now, we’re 7-3. That doesn’t surprise me,” Connell said. “Our next goal is to win the conference. We view each game like a title fight. And we have to get better everyday.”
“Our main focus, day-in and day-out, especially in practice, is to get better,” May said. “Then our goal is to have success in the tournament.”