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Clinton decimates Union

Jan. 5—After dropping their game the night prior at Dixon High (66-51), the Dark Horses were looking to rally and Union was hunting for their first win in over a year on the hardwood with the mammoth of task in taking down Clinton. The Dark Horses trounced the Spartans in convincing fashion through an array of snipes, dribbles and breakaways, 74-21.

The early minutes of the game showed promise for the Spartans as they moved their shell zone coverage in unison, forcing the Horses to stay at the perimeter. This held up for a bit before cracks began to emerge. Union was unable to generate any sort of offense and was caught in transition multiple times. The few moments they had at the net sailed over the basket and bounced off the rim, leaving them scoreless. Clinton managed to get on the board through a series of free throws and layup by Gregory Coxum to make it 6-0.

Union continued to be a pest and the Dark Horses were unable to stifle the opposition. Ny'Darion Blackwell would utilize the opening in space and sink a three to further their lead. Cameron Wright of Union sparked life in his squad with his unpolished dribbling and determination to drive into the paint. This unorthodox style kept the game active as Clinton couldn't keep their eyes off him. After Union hit a three pointer, Wright stumbled and fought in traffic to put up the layup, taking a foul in the process. He'd hit his free point to had a total of three from that encounter.

Things spiraled out of control fast as the Dark Horses began to demolish the Spartans. What little spirit they had was nullified with Clinton putting up a barrage of offense that couldn't be stopped. As they poured it on, a big three from Walker Spell seemingly spelled disaster with Union collapsing in front of their eyes. At the end of the first, the Dark Horses held a huge lead, 21-7.

The Spartans were unraveling and Clinton wasn't letting up. The Dark Horses had them spinning around and around with their quick and aggressive play that stifled them. Union floundered about on the court, trying to get in sync with one another but nothing was working. Passes dropped, shots missed and possession taken at will left the home team with nothing to work with on the court. Clinton's Camden Davis was pouring it on, leading his team with 12 points, half of those coming from two long snipes for three. Clinton was in full effect, dominating the Spartans with nine of their available fourteen players contributing to the onslaught. 48-17.

From here it devolved into a bloodbath with Clinton putting up 22 points in the third while Union could only muster a pair. Every cog in the Dark Horse machine was cooking as they railroaded the Spartans at every turn. Davis and Jaymon Bryant each scored six points during this frame leading the charge. The mercy clock was put into effect midway through the third and at the quarter's end, Clinton was well in the lead, leaving Union virtually no shot of regaining any ground, 60-19.

The fourth went fast as the Dark Horses transitioned their starters to the bench, rotating in the second string for some reps. Union would still only manage to add another two and Clinton walked away with the blowout win, 74-21.

"It's a well needed win, we put in a lot of energy in this one. We had a lot of stuff to work on that we had been messing up on. After our last game we had a big meeting, a come to Jesus type talk. The guys got a lot off their chest and now we can grow." Coach James Farrior of Clinton told the Independent.

The Dark Horses sit at 4-2 on the year, but next week will be a long one as they face three opponents with two of them on the road. They travel East Duplin (1-6) on Monday Jan. 8, Union rematch on Wednesday at home (Jan. 10), then back on the road to face West Bladen (11-1).

Union drops their tenth straight in their long, winless season so far. They only have one game next week where they will travel to Clinton for a shot to avenge their loss.

Reach Anthony McConnaughey at amcconnaughey@clintonnc.com, X @SampsonSports or on the Sampson Independent Facebook page