By WILL CLARK
Opening night is usually a night to work out the jitters.
The usual didn’t apply to the Clarksville Generals as they posted a wire-to-wire 67-40 victory over visiting Rock Creek Academy Tuesday night.
“We came out like an experienced squad should,” stated Generals’ coach Jason Connell.
Class 2A No. 8 Clarksville (1-0) came out of the gate with the petal to the metal, unleashing a 13-1 run to open the game and never looking back.
The source of the fuel — Austin Johnson posting 11 of his 17 points in the opening frame. Of those, seven came during the opening run.
“He’s a kid this year who can’t play in spurts,” said Connell.
Johnson, who acknowledged the coaching staff had told him this was his year, was ready.
“It felt absolutely amazing.” he said. “I just knew I had to get it going.”
The slow start continued for Rock Creek (0-1), as it failed to break double-figure scoring until the second quarter. By that time, the Generals had posted a 23-10 lead, an advantage that only widened as the game went on.
“I think in the last scrimmage we played we were too excited and we got [the jitters] out then,” Connell said to his team’s dominance of the floor.
A sign of the power the Generals possess was shown when junior Calvin McEwen drained what was easily a college 3-pointer with the suave a player usually shows in mid-season form. The showing he had Tuesday night was no surprise to Connell.
“He’s matured a lot. He’s a kid who works really hard at the game of basketball,” Connell said.
McEwen ended the first half with 10 of his 13 points on the night.
A scary moment for Rock Creek came late in the second quarter when junior Devin Burt went down holding his right foot and was carried off the floor with a minute left before the half.
To that point, Burt was responsible for seven of Rock Creek’s 16 points in the half. The extent of the injury was quickly deemed to be playable as he returned in the second half to post another four points in the third quarter.
The second half saw Rock Creek come out with an increased intensity, posting 15 points in the third quarter. But the damage was already done.
The Generals, understanding the expectations placed on them, posted 23 points in the frame to widen the lead to 26 points at the end of the third quarter.
“The expectations we are worried about are the ones we set for ourselves,” explained Connell, saying he has told his kids to just “go out and play basketball.”
Rock Creek came the closest to outscoring the Generals in the fourth quarter, posting nine points to the Generals’ 10. The nine points posted by Rock Creek were impressive as the Generals held them off the board until 3:39 left in the game.
The 7-0 run to open the final frame sealed what had seemingly been determined in the first three minutes of the game and allowed the Generals to coast to the 27-point win.
The Generals were led in scoring by Aidan McEwen with 18 points.
Rock Creek was led by Burt with 11 points. Teammate Will Brown was the only other Lion in double digits with 10.
Clarksville will return to action next Tuesday at Floyd Central, while Rock Creek will compete at the Loogootee Classic on Saturday.
CLARKSVILLE 67, ROCK CREEK ACADEMY 40
ROCK CREEK 8 8 15 9—40
CLARKSVILLE 20 14 23 10—67
Rock Creek (0-1): Devin Burt 11, Will Brown 10, Ronald Karenzi 6, Tanner Gerth 5, Gedeon Nzombi 2, Blake Joseph 2, Isaiah Pearson 2, Joe Logsden 1, Jeremiah Wilkinson 1.
Clarksville (1-0): Aidan McEwen 18, Austin Johnson 17, Calvin McEwen 13, D.J. Coleman 9, Bailey McEwen 4, Andrew Jones 4, Jermargio Smith 2.
3-point field goals: Rock Creek 2-8; Clarksville 8-19.
Rebounds: Rock Creek 35, Clarksville 29.
Field-goal shooting: Rock Creek 15-47, Clarksville 22-53.
Free throws: Rock Creek 8-16, Clarksville 13-17.