SULLIVAN TWP. — It’s no secret Clearview’s boys basketball team has length and athleticism up and down its roster.
That combination proved to be a bad one for Black River, as the Pirates dropped their 48th consecutive game with a 70-38 decision in Patriot Athletic Conference crossover action.
With the duo of Daimon Knowles and Gerrell Williams leading the way, the Pirates (0-5, 0-3) struggled to keep Clearview off the boards and away from scoring easy buckets in transition.
“We knew coming in that (Clearview) is one of the best teams — if not the best team — we see all year, considering their athleticism and talent,” Black River interim coach Josh Calame said. “They started making a run and we start turning the ball over, and it’s hard to slow the game down against a team like that.”
The Clippers (3-1, 2-1) extended a 13-point halftime lead to 27 late in the third with pressure defense that led to fast-break points and an eye-popping 21 offensive rebounds.
Leading that charge were Knowles and Williams. The high-flying tandem combined for 32 points and 21 rebounds, with 12 coming on the offensive glass.
“Coach (John Szalay) is yelling at me every day in practice to crash, crash, crash, and I just have to make sure I keep crashing the boards,” said a smiling Knowles, who had a game-high 17 points and 11 rebounds. “Easy buckets like that and offensive rebounds add up quick.”
Williams, who like Knowles stands over 6-foot-3, had 15 points and 10 rebounds (6 offensive) along with being one of four starters with three or more steals.
Combine those attacking threats with the sharpshooting of guard Erick Burkey (14 points) and the Clippers were off to the races.
“I really thing we have some nice, long athletes and some quickness and we need to utilize that more,” Szalay said. “We started with some full-court pressure to get us going. I think that gets our adrenaline going, and then we’re able to play more baseline to baseline.
“We’re not a team that is going to just be able to walk it up the court and pound it inside. We have to spread it out and let our athletes play.”
Knowles had six points and four offense rebounds to help Clearview extend its lead to 18 in the first half before Pirates guard Allan Benson (16 points, team-high 8 rebounds) caught fire and canned two of his game-high four 3-pointers to get Black River within 13.
But a Burkey trifecta and a pair of open-court baskets from Williams, including a one-handed jam on a feed from Knowles, extended the advantage to 20 and made it hard for the Pirates to come back.
“We practiced our pressure all week and tried to get after it early and get our juices going,” Knowles said. “That helps us get fast breaks and easy buckets to widen our lead. That made the difference.”
Despite the lopsided loss and another defeat to a streak that the team is tired of hearing about, Calame was proud of the way his kids battled in his third game as coach.
With games against rival Buckeye and non-league foe Mapleton coming up next weekend, he believes the Pirates’ best days are ahead if they keep working hard.
“They just used their athleticism there at the beginning of the third quarter and that overwhelmed us, but our kids played hard,” Calame said. “I think anybody that’s known Black River basketball knows that these kids are really playing and not wilting under pressure. They’re bouncing back.
“I think these kids are starting to buy in,” he added. “Sooner or later, we’re going to break through this.”
|Freshman Matt Potter had eight points, but it wasn’t enough as Black River’s junior varsity fell to Clearview 54-23.|
Contact Dan Brown
Black River 38
CLEARVIEW 17 16 21 16 — 70
BLACK RIVER 7 13 7 11 — 38
Clearview — Jason Young 3-0-6, Daimon Knowles 8-1-17, Gerrell Williams 7-1-15, Eric Burkey 5-3-15, Iben Huff 0-0-0, Maliek Ivey 0-0-0, Caleb Branscum 1-0-2, Lance Billings 1-1-4, Davonte Sutton 2-0-5, Sharrod Brown 1-0-2, Antonio Torres 1-0-2, Antonio Bennett 1-0-2. TOTALS: 30-6-70.
Black River — Stephen Zumack 3-0-6, Curtis Roupe 0-0-0, Tyler Potter 5-0-10, Alex McIntyre 1-0-2, Allan Benson 6-0-16, Logan Goff 0-0-0, Dylan Lewis 2-0-4, Glen Crabtree 0-0-0, David Jeske 0-0-0, Brad Spencer 0-0-0. TOTALS: 17-0-38.
3-point goals — Burkey 2, Billings, Sutton, Benson 4. Rebounds — Clearview 40 (Knowles 11), Black River 24 (Benson 8). Assists — Clearview 16 (Burkey, Young, Knowles, Brown 3), Black River 8 (Lewis 2). Records — Clearview (3-1, 2-1), Black River (0-5, 0-3). Junior varsity — Clearview 54, Black River 23.