Varsity Redskins Top Clifton; Advance Record to 4-0
One of the oldest continuing rivalries in the area is between Clifton Central High School sports and their counterparts at Momence. Both schools boast a gym with an upper walkway, and both are known for fielding aggressive, spirited sports teams. That rivalry renewed itself last Friday night in front of the necessarily sparse crowd inside Momence Junior High Gym. As was expected, the battle played out hard, but in the end the Comets were able to overshadow the varsity Redskins by a 67 to 55 final spread.
After Momence launched to an initial 4-0 lead, the score acted like a tight-rope walker, first leaning a little one way, and then going the other. Momence scored the last four points of the first quarter on buckets by Johnnie Williams and Jasper Jones to lead after the first eight minutes by a 15 to 12 score.
Momence held onto a lead, albeit a small one through the second column. The margin didn’t swell more than six points through the frame. Jacob Shoven, who hadn’t even been included in the starting five, provided half the Comet points in the period. Momence men were able to provide points from a lot of different directions, and the Redskins kept their tiny lead, 34 to 30 at the break.
Things stayed about the same for the first couple minutes of the third chapter until Jay Lemenager fired a Central “3” at the 4:42 mark. That was followed by a Chandler Burrow bucket that put Central up 37 to 36. Momence briefly went back up as Johnnie Williams hit a shot from in the paint. At 3:26, Lemenager launched another triplet that was quickly fired by a salvo of Central “deuces”. Withing a short span of time Central had gone by trailing to leading 44 to 38 with about two minutes left in the third period. A Chandler Burrow “3” ballooned Central’s advantage to 47-40, and the Redskins found themselves suddenly in need of a comeback. That didn’t occur before the third quarter buzzer as Central led 52 to 43 at that point of the game.
With Momence trying to play catch-up down the stretch, the Skins suffered another problem as senior starter Johnnie Williams went out with an apparent leg injury. Central continued to nudge the margin wider and at 3:29 Lemenager made it double figures as he sank a bucket and a free throw on a three-point play. That made the score 61 to 49. That gap stayed in double figures for the duration as Central was able to put away the victory by a final score of 67 to 55.
Momence Head Coach Kevin Ecker had little to say about the proceedings as he pointed out the obvious, “We fought hard tonight, but Central just made a couple more plays than us”
Central had big nights from two of their seniors. Jacob Shoven didn’t start, but still led his team in points with 22. Jay Lemenager sank four “treys” on his way to 21 points. Chandler Burrow also got a “3” as part of his 9-point total. Other Central point producers were: Nick Krueger 7, Caden Perry 3, and Grant Grider 3 (one 3-pointer). Central shooters knocked down 5 of 7 attempts from the free throw line.
Three Momence men hit the double-figure mark in points. Seniors Johnnie Williams and Jasper Jones tied for the lead with 11 points for each. Another senior, Raquan Coleman, was right behind them with 10. He hit Momence’s lone 3-point bucket. Also making it into the scorebook were: Kud’de Bertram 6, Jaden Walls 7, Haven Roberts 4, Alex Babcock 2, Travis Gardner 2, and Jake Costello 2. Momence’s accomplishment at the free throw line was at 50 percent as they hit 8 of 16 from the stripe.