Facing its biggest test of the year, Clearview did the only thing it knew how Friday.
The services of starting guard Mark Andrews and starting center Aaron Arnoczky were unavailable with knee injuries. The Clippers made sure their crutches didn’t translate to the court in a hard-earned 49-35 win at Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division leader Buckeye.
“We took a hit with two good players getting injured last week against Elyria and Keystone, but we talked about a fresh start — a new team, a different team,” said coach John Szalay, whose team took sole possession of first place in the Stripes Division thanks to an Oberlin loss to Black River. “Everyone has to pick it up just one notch — not 10 or whatever — but I thought from the 12 guys all did something positive.”
As Szalay pointed out, Clearview (6-5, 5-1) received a very balanced effort. Power forward John Miller scored a team-high 12 points, Anthony Fears added 11 starting in place of Andrews and the seven-man bench combined for 12 points and 16 rebounds.
What ultimately made the difference, however, was defense.
The Clippers roared out to a 36-20 lead midway through the third quarter thanks to a yeoman effort from Miller, who had eight points in the frame. Buckeye (6-5, 5-1) finally got going behind its inside-out duo of Brendan Scott (9 points) and Ben Checkelsky (14 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) and brought the score to within seven points.
Not to be denied, Clearview’s 2-2-1 trap and stingy 2-3 zone took over and forced the Bucks into 10 second-half turnovers — not to mention atrocious 4-for-20 shooting.
Senior Jacob Senquiz was particularly rock steady in crunch time. The 5-foor-7 point guard finished the night with just two points, but had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 5-1 and swiped three steals in the fourth quarter.
“We’re really a smothering defense,” Senquiz said. “That’s what most of our team is. We have a lot of speed and we like to run and that’s what we did tonight.”
Clearview was the attacker for nearly all 32 minutes. That’s what frustrated Buckeye coach Matt Saunders the most.
The Bucks started the game very slow by missing 12 of their first 15 shots from the field. The Clippers’ defense then wore on them as time wore on, as Buckeye passed up good looks to down low Scott that ultimately took valuable time off the clock.
Checkelsky and Scott scored 66 percent of the team’s points. The nine other players combined for 12 points on 4-for-28 shooting (14.3 percent).
“I don’t think we played very aggressive,” Saunders said. “I think we were intimidated. We missed some easy shots, and when you’re timid and not playing aggressive, that’s what is going to happen.”
The starting lineups were not announced after the wireless microphone’s battery went dead. That didn’t faze Buckeye student Nancy Wilson, who sang the national anthem with nothing else than her golden pipes.
The biggest cheer from Buckeye’s student section came when junior Rob Gentry entered the game with less than two minutes remaining.
Nick Prest had 10 points to lead the Bucks’ junior varsity to a 51-41 win. Former Buckeye boys golf coach Rock Supan was one of the officials.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clearview 49, Buckeye 35
CLEARVIEW 15 12 13 9 — 49
BUCKEYE 7 10 12 6 — 35
Clearview — Anthony Fears 5-0-11, John Miller 6-0-12, Kadeem Mungin 3-0-6, Deshawn Carter 2-0-6, Jacob Senquiz 1-0-2, Andrew Lynch 1-0-2, R.J. Prescutto 0-0-0, Davon Daniels 1-1-3, Brandon Sadler 0-1-1, Kenny Brooks 1-0-2, Ian Mezlak 1-0-2, Dom Dominguez 1-0-2. TOTALS: 22-2-49.
Buckeye — Bill Doerge 0-2-2, Nick Wilson 0-0-0, Brendan Scott 2-5-9, Rob Hagmeier 0-0-0, Ben Checkelsky 5-2-14, Tyler Nichols 1-1-3, Matt Millward 0-0-0, Ryan Ackim 1-0-3, Mike Rain 0-0-0, Rob Gentry 0-0-0. TOTALS: 11-10-35.
3-point goals — Carter 2, Fears, Checkelsky 2, Ackim. Rebounds — Clearview 34 (Carter 6), Buckeye 30 (Checkelsky 6). Assists — Clearview 16 (Senquiz 5), Buckeye 9 (Checkelsky 4). Records — Clearview (6-5, 5-1), Buckeye (6-5, 5-1). Junior varsity — Buckeye 51, Clearview 41.