By Bruce E. Williams
Special to The Paris News
The Clarksville Blue Tigers are now gearing up for their opening round bi-district playoff game against Union Grove after ending their District 15-2-A run with an overpowering 92-42 road win over the James Bowie Pirates. The game was changed from Tuesday to Monday night due to the Lady Tigers opening round playoff game scheduled for Tuesday against Beckville in Queen City.
Clarksville ended the league run with a 10-2 district record, and a rare second place finish for the Clarksville basketball program. The Tigers finished behind 7th ranked league champion McLeod, who claimed a pair of four-point wins over the Blue Tigers in district competition. The 12th ranked Tigers are 20-9 overall.
Clarksville never trailed against James Bowie, although the Pirates trailed 3-2 early and later pulled to within 9-7 in the opening quarter. However, once the Blue Tigers got things rolling in the right direction, any hopes Bowie had of an upset win was quickly whisked away.
Behind the play of senior guard Jalen Scott, who scored 25 of his game high 31 points in the opening half, the Tigers piled on an alarming number of transition points, after recording steals. Scott made four of the Tigers nine 3-pointers in the game, all arriving in the opening half.
James Bowie was limited to just nine points in the opening quarter, and when Daquavian Griffin hammered in a 3-pointer and Tra’Derrian Rose scored on back-to-back steals to close out the first period, Clarksville would move to the second quarter leading 29-9, after going on a 20-2 run.
The Pirates found scoring even more difficult in the second period, as the Tigers defensive pressure left James Bowie very frustrated. The Pirates managed just six more points in the frame, as a Clarksville basket from R.J. Owens on a put-back with 59 seconds remaining in the half, followed by Scott’s bucket at the 25-second mark sent coach Willie Coulter’s team into the dressing room leading 53-15 at the intermission.
The Tigers made seven 3-point field goals in the first half, and committed just three personal fouls. The Pirates made just one 3 during the first two quarters, but ended the night with eight, including six in the fourth period.
Clarksville built a 70-22 advantage when Rose scored off the break with 1:39 remaining in the third quarter. An Owens steal and lay-up, followed by Griffin’s beautiful bank shot in the lane, would send the Blue Tigers into the final period with a 74-24 lead.
In the final frame, Coulter elected to rest his starters as the teams moved to a running game clock, and although the Pirates delivered in the fourth from three point land, the Tigers subs, led by Olajuwon Woodberry’s 10 points in the fourth, still held on for the 50-point blowout win.
“We need to be more efficient. It’s just like the two district games that we lost, we weren’t efficient enough around the basket in both of those games. Talent-wise, we’ve got the talent, but we’ve got some other stuff that’s just not materializing,” Coulter said.
Five players scored in double figures for the Tigers with Griffin, who knocked down four 3-point field goals, adding 16 points, while Owens contributed 13 points. Woodberry scored 12 points, and Rose produced 11 for Clarksville.