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Vikings top Clay in wild finish

PORTSMOUTH — Why can’t the Symmes Valley Vikings have just a normal game against the Portsmouth Clay Panthers.

Just when the Vikings appeared to be in cruise control, Clay got hot from behind the 3-point line and began to pile up the points.

The Vikings (6-3, 4-1) managed to hold their composure and the lead as they outscored the Panthers 84-77 Friday in a Southern Ohio Conference I game.

Symmes Valley held Clay to 40 points over the first three quarters, but the Panthers hit eight 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and scored 37 points.

“That was one of the wildest games I’ve ever been involved in,” said Vikings coach Alvin Carpenter. “Every time we play Clay they shoot the lights out. Maybe I need to use some kind of generic uniform to throw them off.”

Clay hit seven straight 3-pointers to begin the fourth quarter and made eight overall in scoring 37 points in the quarter.

But Tyler Smith converted 9-of-10 from the foul line over the final two minutes as the Vikings held on.

“We kept changing defenses to get pressure on their shooters and it didn’t matter. Where ever they shot from it was going in. Fortunately we were able to keep scoring,” said Carpenter.

Jacob Johnson scored 11 points in the first quarter as the Vikings took a 24-17 lead.

Smith had nine in the second quarter as the Vikings held a 40-36 lead.

But Johnson got 11 more points in the third quarter and the Vikings outscored Clay 21-4 to take a 61-40 lead.

That’s when Clay got hot from long-range and created the wild finish.

Smith finished with 25 points to lead all scorers. He also had eight assists and five steals.

Johnson had a game-high 29 points plus four steals. Kris Tibbs added 10 points and 11 rebounds. Chris Capper got 10 points.

Evan Keaton scored 18 points, T.J. Mershon 16 for Clay (1-7, 1-4).

Symmes Valley24162123=84

Portsmouth Clay1719437=77

SYMMES VALLEY (6-3, 4-1): Tyler Smith 4 2 11-12 25, Jacob Johnson 4 6 3-4 29, Kris Tibbs 5 0 0-0 10, Jesse Graybeal 0 0 0-2 0, Chris Capper 4 0 3-5 11, Matt Tibbs 1 0 2-2 4, Hunter Boggs 2 0 1-2 5, Robbie Powell 0 0 0-0 0, Jerry Johnson 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 28-56 20-27 64. 3-point goals: 8-18. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 33 (K. Tibbs 11, Capper 5, M. Tibbs 5, Boggs 5). Assists: 13 (Smith 8). Steals: 14 (Smith 5, Johnson 4). Turnovers: 16. Blocked shots: 4 (M. Tibbs 2).

PORTSMOUTH CLAY (1-7, 1-4): Evan Keaton 8 0 2-2 18, T.J. Mershon 3 3 1-4 16, Zach Parker 4 1 2-5 13, Shane Keen 1 0 0-1 2, Jacob Crapyou 1 1 0-0 5, Garion Dodrill 0 3 0-0 9, Justin Clevenger 1 4 0-0 14. Totals: 18 12 5-12 77. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: Mershon.