High School Sports

Cleveland girls respond in time to down Clayton

They may have made it harder than they needed to but the Cleveland girls basketball team came up with enough big plays down the stretch to notch a 53-47 win at Clayton Wednesday night to come away with an early season non-conference victory.

The Rams (2-0) built an 18-point lead midway through the second quarter, but the Comets (0-1) chipped away at that margin until they took the lead with just under six minutes to play in the contest.

The teams traded baskets for the remainder of the game until the final minute when Cleveland’s Miranda Hinton picked the pocket of a Clayton ball handler near midcourt before scurrying for a layup that gave the Rams a two-point edge with 52 seconds left.

After the Rams surprised the Comets with full court pressure after the made basket, which resulted in a Tehya Lee layup, it was sophomore Kailjn Williamson’s turn to make the big play as she blocked Clayton’s ensuing shot attempt and the Rams iced the game at the foul line.

“I told her that she had to go block that shot, “ Cleveland coach Chris Danehower said. “She really stepped up and she’s so strong.”

Turning point

Asia Todd victimized Cleveland for nine points in the fourth quarter alone but Hinton stripped her of the ball just before Todd began her move to the basket around the one-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Hinton raced down the court and eluded the pursuant Todd for a layup that gave the Rams the lead for good.

Three who mattered

Kailjn Williamson, Cleveland: The sophomore forward was strong all night for the Rams and led Cleveland both in points and rebounds with 12 and 11, respectively.

Myrayna Watkins, Cleveland: Watkins had a solid all-around game for the visitors as she posted nine points, seven rebounds and four steals.

Asia Todd, Clayton: Todd took control of the game in the final 12 minutes of the second half and finished with 23 points to lead all scorers.

They said it

“I value the effort of a young group with no experience being down,” said Clayton coach Marlon Lee. “We didn’t capitalize down the stretch; we just (need to) learn how to finish a game.”

By the Numbers

37: Rebounds collected by Cleveland.

13: Missed foul shots for the Comets.

8: As in the number of steals snagged by Clayton’s Janasia Cannon.