It was almost a senior night to forget for three seniors on the Davenport West boys basketball team.
Strolling onto Dave Wensel Court was a Clinton team that hadn’t won a game in nearly two months, but the River Kings held a small advantage after eight minutes and then went on a 7-0 run in the second quarter to grab a 22-17 lead.
Jamil Haymond, Malik Westerfield and Quenton Dempsey weren’t about to have their last regular season home game spoiled.
So they did something about it.
Powered by a 10-0 run late in the second period, 11 points from Haymond in the third and a thunderous dunk by Westerfield, the Falcons stormed back and clipped the River Kings 55-49 Wednesday night.
“We weren’t always on the same page as usual, and it showed,” Haymond said. “We had to turn it up, can’t go out with a loss.”
Just like the first meeting, West struggled to shoot the ball from behind the arc. They shot 1-for-8 in the first period and 4-of-20 for the game.
They found other ways to score.
Once Clinton’s Bret Myli went to the bench with two fouls, West went down low and scored five straight layups to lead by five at the half.
“That made a big difference,” Falcons head coach David Robinson said. “We responded well and kept the momentum. They had the will to win.”
Haymond took over with four inside buckets and a 3-pointer at the horn to increase the Falcons' (8-11, 7-10 MAC) lead to 15 after 24 minutes of play. He had a team-high 19 points to go along with eight rebounds.
“I owe it all to my teammates, I couldn’t have done it without them,” Haymond said. “I told (Elijah Hollingshed), ‘Give it to me, I’m going coast-to-coast.’”
John Michael Thornton registered a double-double with 11 points and 10 caroms.
Clinton (2-17, 2-14) wouldn’t go away.
They cut it back to single digits with 5 minutes, 20 seconds left and scored five straight after a technical foul was called on Haymond to trim it to seven halfway through the fourth quarter.
After LJ Henderson, who poured in a game-high 20 points, got a steal and basket, all of a sudden the margin was down to six.
West missed the front end of a 1-and-1 twice, but the River Kings couldn’t make them pay as they came up short on back-to-back 3s in the final seconds.
Max Holy chipped in 14 on four trifectas.
“They killed us on the boards, we weren’t pursuing rebounds,” Clinton head coach Troy Ersland said. “We just got away from doing the little things, and they took advantage of that.”
None of what happened came to the surprise of Robinson.
“They’re a good team, they got a good coach and they played hard,” he said. “We just did enough to withstand their runs and make our own and that was the difference.”
Both end the conference season on the road. Clinton travels to Eldridge for a date with North Scott today, and West treks down to Burlington on Friday.