For those expecting a letdown by the Clarksville boys’ basketball team after Tuesday’s emotional 39-35 win over archrival Providence, they certainly didn’t get one.
The Generals, thanks to 15 points from Andrew Jones in the first quarter, took control early and breezed past Eastern Pekin 63-40 Friday night in the semifinals of the Class 2-A Crawford County Sectional.
Clarksville (17-5) will face Paoli (14-7) in the finals Saturday night at 7:30. The Generals will be trying to win their first sectional since 1986.
Paoli advanced with a dramatic come-from-behind 60-58 win over host Crawford County (14-8) in the opener.
* Clarksville-Eastern Pekin: Jones erupted in the first quarter, hitting five of his first six, and the Generals jumped out to a 21-6 cushion. Jones hit three 3-pointers in the first period.
“We knew we had to come out fast, like we did against Providence,” Jones said. “Anything can happen in the game of basketball.”
Still, Clarksville coach Jason Connell gave the Generals’ oveperformance a mixed review.
“We were focused at the start of the game,” he said. “But we weren’t focused for the entire four quarters, and you have to be.”
Jones scored all of his 21 points in the first half, while Aidan McEwen scored 12 of his 19 points in the second half.
“We knew we had to get off to a good start,” said Eastern coach Scott Newcomb. “That (Jones’ scoring) really kind of got them going.”
Marquise Parrish, who hit one 3-pointers, added 11 points in a reserve role.
* Paoli-Crawford County: The Rams fell behind the host Wolfpack 20-6 by the end of the first quarter, and Paoli coach Dusty Cole called it nerves. “We have several guys who have never played in a sectional tournament,” he said.
Paoli settled down and started to chip away at the deficit.
Then with Paoli still trailing 52-50, Tanner Wroblewski — the Rams’ top scorer — fouled out and Crawford County’s Brandon Cate hit 1 of 2 free throws to give the Wolfpack a 53-50 edge.
With Paoli still trailing 54-52, Wroblewski’s brother, Lee, took his only shot of the second half and drilled a 3-pointer with 58 seconds left. The Rams kept the lead from there.
“It’s the biggest shot I’ve ever hit,” said Lee Wroblewski, who has made plenty of big plays on the football field as the Paoli quarterback. “When it left my hands, it felt great. I knew it was going to go in. That shot basically won the game for us. I loved it because their cheer block went silent.”
“When Tanner fouled out, everyone knew they had to step up,” Lee Wroblewski said. “He’s our best player, our leader.”
Cole said Lee Wroblewski can shoot. “We never put the red light on Lee,” he said. “He hits shots every day in practice. But that’s what senior do. Seniors make big plays when you need the big plays.”
Tanner Wroblewski led the Rams with 13 points. Aaron Key added 12 points, as did Austin Moore.
Cate and Johnny Schwartz led Crawford County with 12 points apiece.
Paoli (14-7) – T.Wroblewski 13, L.Wroblewski 5, Key 12, Strange 10, Moore 12, Stroud 5, Bosley 3..
Crawford County (14-8) – Caffrey 9, Cate 12, Mauck 2, Barron 3, Nickelson 6, Thomas 8, Hawkins 6, Schwartz 12.
3-point goals – T.Wroblewski, L.Wroblewski, Strange, Caffrey 2, Cate, Barron, Thomas.
Eastern Pekin (9-12) – Jackson 8, Doebler 2, Wolf 9, Newcomb 6, Williams 3, Churchman 2, Hayes 6, Hobson 2, Timmons 2.
Clarksville (17-5) – C.McEwen 4, Johnson 6, A.McEwen 19, Parrish 11, Smith 2, Jones 21.
3-point goals – Jackson 2, Wolf, Newcomb 2, Williams, Jones 3, Parrish.