Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, February 18, 2017, 10:15 a.m.
The Clinton High boys’ basketball team cultivated a magnetic attachment to a 10-point lead in Friday night’s second-round victory over Pendleton, or, as people are wont to synonymize, “you know, up next to Clemson.”
Other than that, the crowd in round two was larger. Both games so far have been at home, and so will the third, Tuesday against Berea (21-5), thanks to the Bulldogs’ 84-82, triple-overtime victory at Chester.
Bulldogs also typify Pendleton. Clinton (20-3) was better. Pendleton was game. It’s the definition of a second-round playoff game.
I didn’t have to write the shot-by-shot, so I spent most of the night high in the grandstands, hollering “traveling!” like everyone else. I had a notepad but didn’t have to scribble things like “third straight TO” but, instead, things like “C repels a 10-pt. lead.” Hence, the opening graph.
The lads representing our town and surrounding rural burgs are breathtaking to watch. I don’t use that term lightly. Several times passes took my breath away. Sometimes a turnover ensued before I caught it. It is a team that can send an entire crowd into paroxysms of delight. The Red Devils teach a course in cell-phone avoidance. There’s no time to tweet.
Pendleton’s chief culprit on Friday night was a love of the three-pointer that was mostly unrequited by the basket most of them missed. When I was growing up, a long pass to the far end of the court, resulting in a layup, was known as “a snowbird.” By now, I’m sure politicians from one side or the other have turned that into a derogatory term for something, but Clinton had three of them in a row after Pendleton three-pointers clanked.
One more victory puts the Red Devils into the Class 3A upstate finals. What are the prospects? It would have been nice to see Clinton put the teams it has beaten away more effortlessly, and now it’s unlikely to get another chance.
What tilts in the Red Devils’ favor is their cohesiveness. They are, to a man, unselfish. They have bought into the notion. At times, they get a bit too fancy, but that’s the old-timer coming out in me. In the stands, not keeping up with numbers, I was sure Jalen Carter, the team’s all-state selection, had more than 20 points. He scored 15. Zay Hurley added 14.
Three of them – Carter, Donte Reeder and Tymori Tribble – are among the nicer kids I know, and I’m sure the only reason I can’t attest to more is that I don’t happen to know them as well.
Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy Cowboys Come Home, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Crazy of Natural Causes, The Intangibles, and/or a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs. They’re all signed and reasonably priced.
If you’d like me to ship you a signed copy, you can find my address and instructions here. If you want to speed the process up, send me a note and I’ll hook you up with my PayPal account.
Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.
Cowboys Come Home is my brand-new, fresh-off-the-press western, a tale of two World War II veterans of the Pacific who come back home to Texas, intent on resuming their cowboy ways.
Forgive Us Our Trespasses is a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.
Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.
The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.
The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.
Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.
Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).