On a night when Jaden Mixon seemingly couldn’t miss, patience proved to be the most important part of the Clinton senior’s 35-point game Tuesday.
“With their size and athleticism, we had to work the clock, pass the ball around and then take the open look when it was there,’’ Mixon said after leading the River Kings to a 58-51 Mississippi Athletic Conference boys basketball win at Davenport North.
Mixon found himself with plenty of good looks, most coming with a team-wide patient approach on offense.
He scored Clinton’s first 17 points in the game and his 11-of-12 game from the field included hitting all seven three-point shots he attempted.
“Jaden hasn’t been too happy with himself the last couple of games and I told him to just keep at it,’’ River Kings coach Chris Powers said. “He’s a good player and a good shooter and he put it together tonight.’’
Clinton knocked down 10-of-15 shots from three-point range as a team and the River Kings needed that type of game to counter the size of the Wildcats’ front line and shooting of North’s VJ Wilmington, who collected 12 of his team-leading 20 points in the opening half.
A lay-in by Quavon Jones at the buzzer gave Clinton a 26-25 halftime lead, but the River Kings missed their first seven shots in the third quarter and the Wildcats opened a 29-26 advantage on a basket by Jared Beck just over two minutes into the second half.
Mixon scored nine points over the next four minutes and Clinton grabbed a 35-31 edge during a stretch North coach Joe Ewen considered a missed opportunity.
“We’re up three and the next six possessions, we can’t finish shots, we turn it over and instead of giving ourselves a chance to build a decent lead, they’re coming back,’’ Ewen said. “It’s been the same thing in our three MAC losses. We have to get tougher and keep pushing.’’
North led 40-39 following a Beck basket to open the fourth quarter, but Clinton answered with three-pointers by Mixon and Lincoln Thomas and the Wildcats (4-3, 1-3 MAC) played from behind the rest of the game.
“Coming off the North Scott game where we didn’t shoot it very well, we spent a lot of time working on our catch and shoot and that helped us a lot,’’ Mixon said.
North was within 49-47 after Atticus Taylor scored with 1 minute, 1 second remaining in the game, but a three-point play by Makai Hart nine seconds later left Clinton (3-3, 3-1) with a five-point advantage.
The River Kings finished things off with a five-of-six touch at the line over the final :39, holding their biggest lead of the game when the final buzzer sounded.