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Fast Start Gives North Clarion Boys Early Edge in KSAC North
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(Photo: Sam Minich spots up from outside Tuesday night. Sam Minich finished with 11 points in the win for North Clarion. Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics. See more of Bakaysa’s work here)
Step One complete after the Wolves used an almost flawless first quarter to gain a 79-47 win over the Lions in a key early-season KSAC North game Tuesday night at C-L.
“It was so important,” 6-7 senior center Kyle Mills, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds and was named the Hager Paving Player of the Game, said. “We want to be the top of the North. That is what we are going for.”
A year ago, North Clarion came oh so close to winning the KSAC North after upsetting C-L, which has won five consecutive North titles, at C-L late in the season only to turn around and lose to Clarion the next game.
But expectations are high again this year, and the Wolves showed Tuesday they might be the team to beat in 2018-19.
And they showed it early scoring 29 first-quarter points while taking a 29-11 lead after one quarter.
“One of the things we talk about is setting the tempo in the first quarter,” North Clarion head coach Andy Bish said. “These guys came out on fire tonight and really wanted it.”
A three from Sam Minich followed by a steal and a layup from Logan Minich, baskets inside from Mills (two) and Tyler McCord-Wolbert and four straight points from Korey Mills put North Clarion up 10, 15-5, 3:10 into the game and forced C-L to call timeout.
“They were just passing the ball down into me and it was going good,” Kyle Mills said.
Watch the complete postgame interview with Mills.
Things didn’t get any better for the Lions after the timeout, as North Clarion finished the quarter on a 14-6 run thanks in large part to three more 3-pointers – one each from Sam Minich, Korey Mills and Devon Walters.
“Once you get (Kyle) going you know the other team has to account for it,” Bish said. “They really start doubling down on that which opens up everything else for the outside. Getting it to him and Tyler (McCord-Wolbert, who is 6-4) definitely opens it up for the guards.
“When they started doubling down, we kicked it out and the threes were going in. They were kind of in a no-win situation.”
After the quick start by North Clarion, C-L never really made it a game never getting closer than 14, 35-21, the rest of the way.
And even when the Lions did cut the deficit to 14 late in the second quarter, North Clarion answered with a half-closing 8-0 spurt that pushed the Wolves lead to 22, 43-21, at halftime.
Defense played a role in the victory, as North Clarion limited Deion Deas and Hayden Callen, who came into the game averaging a combined 46.3 points per game to a total of 29 points, 16 from Deas.
“We were really focusing on Hayden and Deion, of course,” Bish said. “I think we did a pretty good job of defending them as good of players as they are.”
Also reaching double digits for the Wolves were Walters, who scored 12 points on four 3-pointers, Sam Minich, who hit three 3-pointers on his way to 11 points and McCord-Wolbert, who had 10 points. Korey Mills chipped in with nine tallies and Logan Minich had eight.
Curvin Goheen had his third straight double-double for C-L with 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, nine on the offensive glass. Deion Deas led the Lions with 16 points and Hayden Callen added 13 points and seven rebounds.
The win improved North Clarion to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the KSAC North. The Wolves return to action Thursday, Dec. 20, when they host Clarion.
C-L drops to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the KSAC North with the loss. The Lions return to action Thursday, Dec. 20, when they host Venango Catholic with head coach Joe Ferguson in search of win No. 200 at the school. Ferguson has a career mark of 199-100 after the loss Tuesday.
North Clarion and C-L will rematch Feb. 1 at North Clarion.
NORTH CLARION 79, CLARION-LIMESTONE 47
Score by Quarters
North Clarion 29 14 23 13 – 70
Clarion-Limestone 11 10 17 9 – 47
NORTH CLARION – 79
Sam Minich 4 0-0 11, Bryce Byers 0 1-2 1, Jacob Bauer 0 2-2 2, Logan Minich 4 0-1 8, Korey Mills 3 2-2 9, Preston Schmader 0 0-0 0, Tyler McCord-Wolbert 4 2-3 10, Drew Gatesman 2 0-0 4, Devon Walter 4 0-0 12, Kyle Mills 9 2-4 20, Zyler Hargenrader 1 0-0 2, Collin Schmader 0 0-0 0. Totals 31 9-14 79.
Deion Deas 6 2-2 16, Julian Laugand 0 1-2 1, Ayden Wiles 1 0-0 2, Austin Coull 0 0-0 0, Curvin Goheen 5 5-6 15, Kaden Park 0 0-0 0, Hayden Callen 6 0-0 13, Drew Beichner 0 0-0 0, Hayden Siegel 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 8-10 47.
Three-pointers: North Clarion 8 (Walters 4, Sam Minich 3, Korey Mills). C-L 3 (Deas 2, Callen).
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