CHS basketball throttles Harding in Hub openers

Clinton basketball started off the Hub City Classic with a pair of wins Thursday night, sweeping Harding Charter Fine Arts in its two matchups at the Tornado Dome. 
The Lady Reds (5-4 overall) notched their first 70-point game of the 2018-2019 campaign, beating the Lady Firehawks, 75-13. Clinton’s boys (7-2) followed up the blowout win with one of their own, rolling Harding, 74-45. The wins advanced both teams to Friday’s semifinals.
CHS girls’ assistant coach Mark Seiter, who filled in for head coach Brent Caldwell, gave the entire team props for playing quality basketball against Harding and not letting up in the win. 
“The thing I was most proud of, is that the girls stayed hooked up the whole game,” Seiter said. “Whenever you play a team that you know you’re better than, it’s hard to stay hooked up for four quarters for everybody that gets in. 
“I felt like everybody did that. Everybody played hard. I just told them before the game, ‘Uphold the standards that Caldwell preaches of playing hard the whole time.’ All the girls did that, so I was proud of them for that.”
Nine different Lady Reds got in the scorebook Thursday with three scoring in double figures. Carmella Jefferson, Aleisha Hester and Sharise Whitney combined for 45 points to lead the starting unit. Off the bench, Jahnae Simmons, Dayanarya Crenshaw, Dayaonna Johnson, Molly Sawatzky and Hannah Garner scored 22 points to continue the scoring when the reserves came in.
The Red Tornadoes got off to a bit of a slow start. The team was missing star guard Atrel Bryson due to illness, so it was a little out of sync before it got going in the second quarter to run away with the win. Sophomore Zade Cisneros provided the spark. He scored 13 of his 16 points on the night in the second quarter, knocking down three three-pointers. 
Head coach Chad Pugh was happy with how the team played after its sluggish opening quarter.
“It took us a while to get going, but we did get going and ended up winning by almost 30,” he said. “Sometimes you get irritated, then look up at the scoreboard, and we’re doing pretty well. We’ve got a big task ahead of us the next two days. 
“Hopefully, we can get Atrel back, and he can get healthy enough to come help us. If not, then we’ll have to rally around, step up and compete in different ways. The first day of the tournament is off to a pretty good start.”

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