Tall trio lead East Troy boys to win
CLINTON Clinton High boys basketball coach Denny Morris' game plan was to slow down East Troy High's three Division I college recruits and make the role players beat them. Ironically, Trojan head coach Darryl Rayfield wanted his role players to play a bigger role in the offense to take the pressure off the Big 3.
In the end, neither coach executed their game plan with much success.
The Trojan trio of Brett and Alex Prahl and Nate Dodge scored 70 of the Trojans 81 points to carry the team to an 81-69 victory here Tuesday evening.
With the victory, East Troy (13-3, 11-0) remains in the driver's seat for another Rock Valley North championship.
Clinton (12-5, 9-3) meanwhile did all it could to battle the Trojans trio in the second half, and even cut a 21-point second half deficit to just six in the fourth quarter.
"I'm extremely proud of our effort tonight," Morris said. "We are a better basketball team now than we were an hour and a half ago."
The Cougars clawed back into the game thanks to second chance points and a gritty effort from Jalen McMartin. The 6'2 guard took advantage of a smaller defender and racked up 12 of his 19 points in the second half to cut the deficit to 61-55 with six minutes to play.
Martin's efforts helped take the pressure off Cougar leading scorer Cody Risseeuw, who had to battle for his team-high 24 points.
"We talked about having heart at halftime and we showed that we belonged in this game," Risseeuw said. "We brought the deficit to six, which showed us we can play with anybody."
But Clinton's inspired effort just wasn't enough to stop Dodge, whose six quick points to helped rebuild the lead to 69-55. The Cougars did not threaten the rest of the way.
"Nate (Dodge) is just a tough kid that is relentless and does not want to lose," Rayfield said.
Despite Dodge's efforts, Rayfield was disappointed that his supporting cast struggled to pick up the slack as he planned.
"We were trying to get our younger guys a lot of playing time," Rayfield said. "There were points in the third when we were up 20 and then they cut it to six and I was basically trying to get them to play through some things."
Rayfield took the second half gamble thanks to Brett Prahl and Nate Dodge's combined 33 first-half points that helped East Troy build a 44-26 halftime lead. Dodge, an Army basketball recruit, paced the Trojans with 30 points while UW-Milwaukee recruit Brett Prahl had 25, and Alex Prahl chipped in 15.
"Our main goal going into the game was to hold the Prahl twins and Dodge to 45 points or under," Morris said. "They scored 70 and we lost by 12."
EAST TROY 81, CLINTON 69
East Troy (81)—Dodge, 13-4-30; B. Prahl, 9-7-25; A. Prahl, 4-7-15; Kaminski, 1-1-4; Iloncaie, 0-3-3; Mitchell, 1-0-2; Ja. Growell, 1-0-2. Totals: 29-22-81.
Clinton (69)—McMartin, 7-4-19; Risseeuw, 10-2-24; DeLong, 2-1-6; Risse, 2-7-12; Eliszewski, 1-0-3; DeWitt, 2-1-5. Totals: 24-16-69.
East Troy 21 23 14 23 — 81
Clinton 18 8 21 22—69
Three-point goals—East Troy 1 (Kaminski), Clinton 5 (McMartin, Risseeuw 2, Risse, Eliszewski). Free throws missed—East Troy 13, Clinton 10. Total Fouls—East Troy 23, Clinton 24. Fouled out—DeWitt, DeLong.