Amboy Lady Clippers split games with Eastland

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AMBOY — Amboy and Eastland battled for the first time since their sectional championship thriller last year, and the rematch did not disappoint, except for maybe the outcome if you’re a Lady Clippers fan.

Amboy held an early lead, but Eastland came back and ended up with a 51-49 victory over the Lady Clippers on Feb. 23 at Lanark.

The Lady Clippers jumped out to a 12-3 first-quarter lead. The margin got smaller after each quarter. Amboy struggled with contact all game long. AHS ended the game with four more baskets than Eastland, but the Lady Cougars converted 19 free throws compared to just seven for Amboy.

The Lady Clippers were led by Mallory Powers with 19 points, 12 rebounds and four steals. Abi Payne added 14 points, four caroms and four assists. Gabby Jones dropped in seven points and grabbed five rebounds before fouling out. Olivia Dinges, also hindered by fouls, added five points and four boards, while Brianne Blaine chipped in two points and three steals, and Madelyn McLaughlin supplied two points, three rebounds and a pair of assists.

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Two days later, Amboy hosted Eastland and the drama continued, but the outcome was much more to the Lady Clippers’ liking. They continued building on a halftime lead and came away with a big 66-52 victory over Eastland.

The Lady Clippers held leads of 15-12 after one and 31-26 at intermission. Amboy went up by double-digits in the third period when it outscored the Lady Cougars, 18-10. AHS continued to convert big baskets in the fourth to thwart off any Eastland comeback attempts.

Five players scored at least nine points for the Lady Clippers. The balanced attack was led by Gabby Jones with 16 points. She also pulled down five rebounds and dished out four assists. Powers was next with 15 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals. Payne and Dinges both supplied 13 points, while Payne led with five assists and Dinges had nine rebounds, three blocked shots and four assists. Blaine completed the scoring with nine points and she also picked off eight rebounds. Blaine, Jones and Dinges shot 80 percent, 67 percent and 63 percent, respectively, from the field to give Amboy its best balanced scoring of the year.

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Amboy took on another talented team, Lena-Winslow, on Feb. 27 at the AHS gym. The Panthers had just come off of two-point losses to Dixon and undefeated Stockton.

The Lady Clippers took control early and then held off Lena-Winslow in the second half for a 57-43 triumph. Amboy was in front 22-7 after the opening stanza and 38-19 at halftime. The Panthers owned the third quarter, but the Lady Clippers righted the ship in the fourth to post the win.

All five starters hit double figures in scoring for Amboy. Blaine topped the chart with 14 points and she added four rebounds. Gabby Jones was next with 13 points on six of eight shooting. She also had five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Dinges chipped in with 10 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and two assists, while Powers (10 points, nine rebounds) and Payne (10 points, eight assists, five steals) added to the victory.

Amboy’s records now stand at 8-1 overall and 5-1 in conference play.