LYONS — A historic rivalry that develops over decades of basketball may not always yield a game that keeps spectators on the edges of their seats.
That was the case on Thursday night in Atwood Gymnasium as the Lyons Lions (9-1, 6-0) throttled the Clyde-Savannah Golden Eagles 71-57.
The Lions grabbed the lead from the get go, beginning the game with a 13-3 lead and never looking back to remain undefeated in the Wayne County league.
“Lyons obviously is full of athletes all over the place we knew it was going to be an uphill battle going in,” Clyde-Savannah coachDarren Preston said. “(Camden) Chance got in early foul trouble and it kinda threw us off. Without him being able to contribute it threw us off from what we like to do.”
The two teams were visibly shorthanded as both the Lions and Golden Eagles had key players out.
“It was a very intense game,” Lyons head coach Dean Schott said. “We had key players out and kids really stepped up in his absence and played well. Benji Kemp was great for us, he stepped up.”
The Golden Eagles (5-4, 2-4) had only seven players dressed and two substitutes as many players were forced to play the entire 32 minutes, including Jayden McKinney, who had eight out of Clyde-Savannah’s 10 points in the first.
“We weren’t able to go to the bench for subs,” Coach Preston said. “So tonight, we were a little strapped for availability off the bench.”
Lyons led 16-10 after the first quarter and Ahmir James was excelling at both ends of the floor, disrupting Clyde-Savannah’s offense and dishing out passes to every open player.
“Ahmir James’ defense all year has been amazing,” Schott said. “His offense was very good tonight too.”
Lions did not let off the gas peddle at all and was up 37-24 at halftime and then 56-36 at the end of the third quarter.
Despite being down 20 points, Clyde-Savannah’s Camden Chance had an excellent fourth quarter and continued to show his heart and determination with 21 total points. Jayden McKinney led his squad with 23 points.
“As far as McKinney, he is a versatile player. He handles the ball, shoots three’s and can play down low and make plays,” Coach Preston said.
The loss to a longtime rival may sting, but Coach Preston was proud of his team’s fight.
“My guys are resilient; We are warriors. Guys play hard and being a little shorthanded, we are going to fight to the end every time.”