Smith Leads Clarion to Upset Over Clarion-Limestone
STRATTANVILLE, Pa. (D9Sports) – Clarion’s Jonathan Smith appeared to be a man on a mission Wednesday night.
Smith scored 20 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, as visiting Clarion upset Clarion-Limestone, 70-63, and in the process sent the District 9 Class A playoffs into chaos in the regular-season finale for both teams.
“I just wanted to solidify my position as the best player in the district,” Smith said. “I think I did that tonight by showing everyone what I can do offensively and defensively. I just wanted to help carry my team to this win. We did a great job tonight.”
While the game had no bearing on the KSAC North, C-L had clinched the title already, the contest had a direct bearing on the District 9 Class A playoff bracket.
A win, and C-L would have secured the No. 2 seed. Now, the Lions are in a three-way tie for that spot with Ridgway and Coudersport with all three squads coming in at 20-2. A complex set of tiebreakers will be used, but it looks like Ridgway could gain the No. 2 spot and a coin toss will decide spots three and four between the Lions and Coudersport.
Clarion, meanwhile, secured at least the seventh seed and most likely the sixth seed with the victory. The Bobcats are tied with Oswayo Valley and Union all at 16-6 for seeds five through seven. Union’s two wins over Clarion will most likely put the Golden Knights at five, but Clarion should beat out Oswayo Valley for the sixth spot based on the District 9 Power Rankings.
“It gives us a great feeling (winning this game),” Smith said. “C-L is a great team. They are a topped ranked team. It shows that rankings don’t really mean anything. We came out and played hard and played excellent today.”
It was an 11-0 second-quarter run that proved to be the catalyst for the victory for Clarion.
Trailing 18-13 early in the quarter, the Bobcat on the strength of 3-pointers from twin brothers Reed and Ryan Anthony, turned the tables on the Lions and took a 24-18 lead with just over three minutes left in the half.
That was a lead Clarion never relinquished.
The Bobcat led by five, 33-28, at halftime and by seven, 48-41, at the end of the third quarter before expanding the advantage to 10 on three different occasions in the fourth quarter, the latest being 60-50 with 1:48 to play.
“They came out intense, we came out intense,” Smith said. “We knew what kind of game it was going to be.”
C-L tried to make a late run at Clarion and used a 9-2 spurt that was capped by a 3-pointer from Noah Rankin with 57 seconds left to get within three, 62-59.
But Clarion made 8 of 12 free throws in the final 52 seconds to seal the win.
In fact, free-throw shooting played a large role in the victory.
The Bobcats were 23 of 32 from the line in the game, while C-L was 4 of 7.
The big difference was Clarion’s willingness to drive to the hole, while the Lions seemed content to sit outside and chuck up 3-pointers all night long, 25 to be exact, making only five.
The free throws allowed the Bobcats to win despite them taking an incredible 26 fewer shots than C-L (76 to 48) and turning the ball over 24 times.
Of Clarion’s 27 missed shots, 13 were thanks to C-L blocked shots, including nine blocks from junior Dan Callen, who just missed a triple-double finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Rankin led all scorers with 22 points and blocked a pair of shots himself while adding six rebounds and four assists.
Ceventh Lynch-Skunda added 15 points and five rebounds for Clarion with Bo Miller chipping in 10 points, four rebounds and three steals. Ty Burford added eight points and nine rebounds.
C-L is back in action at 6 p.m. Friday in the KSAC Championship game against Union from Clarion University’s Tippin Gym. The game can be heard live on ExploreClarion Radio right here on the site or through our brand new free app.
Clarion is off until the District 9 playoffs start, presumably next week.
NOTES – The 63 points were the second fewest C-L has scored this season and ended a stretch of 17 games in a row that had seen the Lions score at least 70 points … Clarion played for the fifth straight game without starting point guard Cam Craig, who is out with an injury.
Story by Chris Rossetti
CLARION 70, CLARION-LIMESTONE 63
Score by Quarters
Clarion 11 22 15 22 – 70
C-L 8 20 13 22 – 63
CLARION – 70
Bo Miller 3-8 3-6 10, Jonathan Smith 5-16 10-13 20, Spencer Miller 3-5 0-2 7, Ty Burford 4-6 0-0 8, Ceventh Lynch-Skunda 3-8 8-9 15, Ryan Anthony 1-1 2-2 5, Craig Kerr 0-0 0-0 0, Reed Anthony 2-4 0-0 5. Totals 21-48 23-32 70.
CLARION-LIMESTONE – 63
Connor Keth 0-0 0-0 0, Anthony Louder 0-0 0-0 0, Devin Beers 0-1 0-0 0, Travis Aites 1-3 0-0 2, Alex Acree 1-4 0-0 2, Julian Laugand 1-6 0-0 2, Sam Leadbetter 0-0 0-0 0, Noah Rankin 8-17 3-5 22, Bailey Wrhen 0-0 0-0 0, Ian Callen 4-13 0-0 8, Taylor Smith 1-7 0-0 2, Christian Smith 2-5 1-2 7, Dan Callen 9-18 0-0 18. Totals 27-74 4-7 63.
THREE-POINTERS – Clarion 5-9 (B. Miller 1-2, S. Miller 1-1, Ryan Anthony 1-1, Reed Anthony 1-3, Smith 0-1). C-L 5-25 (Rankin 3-6, C. Smith 2-3, Aites 0-1, Acree 0-1, Laugand 0-4, I. Callen 0-5, T. Smith 0-3, D. Callen 0-2).
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