The Mustangs (5-7, 3-4 ECOL) jumped out to a 6-0 lead thanks to a bucket by Josh Brindley and consecutive baskets by Zach Golec, who pumped in a game-high 26 points and 11 rebounds.
Meadowbrook (6-5, 3-4 ECOL) used a 30 second timeout at the 5:45 reading after the Mustangs’ 6-0 start and responded with a 9-0 spurt. Senior Philip Biggs started the surge with two free throws. Sophomore Jeramie Neff and Biggs then tallied two-point goals before senior point guard Nick Hudson buried a trifecta to give the Colts 9-6 edge with 3:39 left in the first frame.
Claymont managed to close out the first period with seven of the final nine points to take a 13-11 cushion into the second eight minutes. Brindley had a three-point play while Logan Addison and Golec each recorded field goals. Biggs had the Colts’ other bucket to keep MHS within two points.
The Colts got off to a rousing start in the second quarter by using a 12-2 run to build their biggest lead of the night (23-15) with 3:33 remaining until the half.
Neff and senior Brock Miracle opened up the second round with back-to-back triples. Brindley then scored a two-point bucket, but a pair of Biggs’ field goals were sandwiched around a basket by Neff, giving the Colts an eight-point margin.
The two teams traded points over the next several minutes before Brindley ended the first half with a bucket as less than 21 ticks remained on the clock to pull Claymont to 30-25.
Biggs canned a pair of charity tosses to start the third before CHS began its comeback bid. Claymont used identical 7-2 spurts in the third stanza to grab a 43-42 upperhand by quarter’s end. Golec was a force in the paint as he tallied nine points to lead the Mustangs in the round.
Golec continued his strong play in the fourth quarter with a pair of field goals, giving Claymont its biggest lead at 47-42. Sophomore Ethan Shriver then tallied his first points with a jumper on the left baseline and Neff followed with a trey to tie things up at 47-all.
After watching the visitors take a 52-49 lead, Meadowbrook rallied to take a 55-54 lead with a 6-2 spurt that included hoops by Biggs, Shriver and Miracle. Claymont’s Addison gave the Mustangs the lead with a jumper before Biggs split a pair of free throws with 1:12 remaining in the contest.
With the game tied at 56-56, Claymont “outexecuted” the hosts. Golec hit an inside goal and Addison connected on a pair of charity tosses for a four-point spread. Neff then splashed a deep three-ball from the left Colt to get MHS within one. However, five free throws by the ’Stangs finished the game.
Claymont head coach Brian Watkins said he was pleased with how his team battled back.
“We’ve been preaching positive thinking and thoughts to our kids,” Watkins stated. “We battled even though we had some things that went against us. We showed mental toughness tonight. I’m really proud of our players. This is a tough place to play and a tough team to play. In six of our seven losses, we’ve lead by double figures and had little things go against us. Tonight, we were able to do the little things to get the win.”
Meadowbrook’s Keith Arnold said the game just came down to execution in the fourth quarter.
“Effort wise, I felt really good,” Arnold noted. “I was very proud of their effort. Physically, I thought we played fine. We were in a position to win. Mentally, we were just outexecuted down the stretch.
“We also got into foul trouble in the first half. Our foul trouble was due to us being out of position defensively. That just wore us down in the second half. The first half was where it all began. Offensively, we just didn’t execute in the second half as well as we should have,” Arnold added.
MHS was led by Biggs, who had 21 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Neff added 18 points and three assists; Miracle finished with 11 points and five boards; Shriver tallied five points; Hudson finished with three points, eight assists and four steals; and Robertson had one point.
The Mustangs were paced by Golec’s 26 points. Brindley chipped in 19 points, five caroms and four assists; and Addison finished with six points.
Watkins said Golec and Brindley were very instrumental in helping his squad gain the road win.
“Zach is our go-to-guy,” Watkins admitted. “He’s tough to stop down low and he played well tonight. He’s always guarded by someone bigger like Biggs. He really played well tonight.
“Josh is a really tough match-up for teams. He can play anywhere on the floor. As Josh goes is how we go. He is our floor general and he proved that again tonight,” Watkins added.
Meadowbrook shot 21-of-51 from the field and 11-of-14 at the line. The Colts had 22 rebounds, 17 assists, six steals, three blocks and 13 turnovers.
Claymont finished 21-of-42 from the floor and 21-of-27 at the charity stripe. The visitors had 30 boards, 12 dimes, seven steals, one block and 17 turnovers.
In the JV game, Claymont posted a 40-29 ECOL decision over the homestanding Colts.
The Mustangs (6-5, 4-3 ECOL) took a 10-8 lead after the first quarter and increased their lead to five at the half with a 12-9 showing over the Colts (2-9, 1-6 ECOL) in the second stanza.
Claymont iced the win with 9-7 and 9-5 advantages in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.
The hosts were led by Steve Minyo’s eight points. Ty Oliver and Kyle Roberts added five points apiece. Andrew Nicols and Nick Yakubik chipped in four points each; Jarod Deliz had two points; and Aaron Wickham tallied one point.
Leading the ’Stangs was Chris Foltz with nine markers. Kiley Jones, Nathan Young and J.D. Robinson each tallied six points. Also for Claymont, Kenny Fannon had four points; and Grant Bloom and Ian Bowe scored two points each.