The Clifton-Clyde Middle School girls claimed their second Blue Valley League championship in a row on Feb. 8, defeating Valley Heights 34-23 in a game that was ruled by defense.
Neither team could get their offense rolling to start the game. Clifton-Clyde scored first at the 3:38 mark, but Valley Heights answered to tie it before the Eagles went on a six-point run. The Eagles used a pressure defense to smother the Mustangs and get fast break points, ending the first quarter with an 8-2 lead.
Valley Heights had a full court press that caused a couple turnovers in a row against Clifton-Clyde. The Mustangs got the score to 9-10 in Clifton-Clyde’s favor, but Jadelynn Bowen was fouled on a 3-pointer with 8.9 seconds left in the half, and made two out of the three so the Eagles could take a 12-9 lead into halftime.
The second half started with Lillian Steinbrock getting fouled on a layup. She made the free throw to push the lead to 15-9 and they continued to score, and hold Valley Heights scoreless, until the Mustangs finally got a shot through the rim with just five seconds left. That would be their only score of the quarter, and Clifton-Clyde led 25-11 going into the fourth quarter.
The score was 27-15 in the fourth when both teams had seven fouls on them at the 4:02 mark. Valley Heights sank a 3-pointer with 3:22 left to get to a 10-point margin. But Bowen respond-ed with a 3-pointer for Clifton-Clyde and Sevy Wurtz stole the ball on the ensuing Valley Heights possession and was fouled, making one of the free throws to go up 32-18.
Steinbrock fouled out with 1:20 left in the game, but Coach Jeff Benyshek started subbing in with a minute left. The Clifton-Clyde Eagles went on to win 34-23.
Steinbrock led the team with 13 points, followed by Bowen with 8 and Rylie Wunderle with 7. Jaci Winter had 3, Mylee Hammond had 2 and Sevy Wurtz had 1.
The team went 15-0 overall this year and 10-0 in the Blue Valley League.