C-L Holds off Late Clarion Rally to Snag Key 71-68 Victory over Visiting Bobcats
The Lions led by 17, 52-35, with 8:13 to play but found themselves clinging to a one-point lead, 67-66, after a 3-pointer from Clarion’s Ceventh Lynch-Skunda, who scored 13 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Bobcat comeback.
But C-L was able to withstand a pair of missed free throws from freshman Deion Deas with 30.7 seconds when Lynch-Skunda missed a runner in the lane with 7.8 seconds left, and Ian Callen hit two free throws with 7.4 left to make it a 69-66 lead.
C-L then fouled Cam Craig on purpose with 3.4 seconds to play, and Craig hit both free throws to make it 69-68.
“I told them I wanted to run at least five second off,” C-L head coach Joe Ferguson said. “We put a little bit of pressure on them. The intention was to put them on the line. It’s a toss-up decision. It’s a gut call kind of. Ian brought it up, and I was ‘that’s a great call. I want to go with that.’”
The Lions then caught a break when Ian Callen walked but it wasn’t called before he was fouled with 1.4 left. He hit both free throws to seal the victory.
Did Callen walk late? You make the call.
After falling behind early, 5-2, C-L led the entire way including building the 17-point late late in the third quarter thanks to the play of Dan Callen, Ian’s older brother.
Dan Callen led the Lions with 22 points and 14 rebounds and scored 11 of those points in a third quarter that saw C-L outscored Clarion 19-11.
Dan Callen talked about the win.
But after scoring just 37 points in the first three quarters combined, Clarion exploded for 31 in the fourth quarter behind the play of Lynch-Skunda, who had just three points prior to the quarter, Cam Craig, who scored eight of his 17 in the frame and Ty Burford, who tallied seven of his team-high 18 in the quarter.
“We stood around the whole first half,” Clarion head coach Jess Quinn said. “The middle was wide open. Daniel Callen was guarding Ceventh on the perimeter, and we did not take advantage of driving to the hoop. We passed around the perimeter. We passed around the perimeter. We stood. That’s what cost us the game right there.”
Quinn said going to the fourth quarter he challenged his team.
“I told them if they don’t attack the middle, they are coming out and they never play for me again,” Quinn said. “When Cam drove the lane or Ceventh drove the lane, the wing guys had to cut. We weren’t doing that in the first half. We would stand and watch.”
Despite the change in philosophy for the Bobcats in the fourth quarter, they still trailed by 14, 56-42, with 6 ½ minutes left after an Ian Callen basket off a turnover, one of 18 Clarion turnovers that led to 18 C-L points.
“I said before the game, if we turn the ball over, we will lose,” Quinn said. “That’s exactly what happened.”
Clarion still trailed by 10, 62-52, after Christian Smith, who had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, grabbed C-L’s third offensive rebound in a row – the Lions had 16 offensive rebounds while outrebounding Clarion 42-29 – and put it back in with 2:48 left.
But all of a sudden things started to change for Clarion, as C-L point guard Julian Laugand fouled out with 2:44 to go, and Craig hit both free throws to make it 62-54.
That started a 14-5 run for the Bobcats that was fueled by some curious decision-making by C-L, which seemed to think it was the team behind with the pace it was playing at with the lead.
“You can call it youth, you can call it lack of experience in games like this, it’s hard to call anything,” Ferguson said. “What I am trying to get the guys to understand, when we have the lead like that we don’t have to shove it down their throats. The mentality we’ve had for a number of years here is we run. And that’s all right. But there are times when you have to slow down. That’s my fault. That’s not the kids fault. I still have to train them.”
Things got really interesting when Burford nailed a 3-pointer with 1:43 to go to make it 66-61, and then Lynch-Skunda hit a pair of free throws with 1:14 left that made it a one-possession game, at 66-63.
After Deas hit one of two free throws with 1:02 to go, Lynch-Skunda then nailed his only three of the game to cut it to one point.
The Bobcats had two chances to take the lead, but Reed Anthony took an award layup attempt from behind the backboard that went off the side of the backboard with just over 30 seconds to play.
Then, after Deas missed the two free throws, Clarion ran the clock down inside of 10 seconds before Lynch-Skunda’s runner was off the mark.
A strong first quarter got the Lions out to a 16-8 lead after one, and the lead got to 26-17 after an Ian Callen basket with 1:48 to go in the half.
Clarion answered with five straight points, including four off turnovers, to make it 26-22 following a Reed Anthony steal and hoop with 1:07 left in the half. Reed Anthony had a chance to cut it to three when he was fouled on the play but missed the free-throw.
But a few seconds later, with 40.5 to go, Reed Anthony was fouled taking a 3-pointer and hit 2 of 3 to make it 28-24, and after Sam Leadbetter and Craig exchanged baskets it looked like C-L would hold a four-point halftime lead.
However, as time expired in the half Laugand took a desperation shot from midcourt and his prayer was answered in the form of a needless foul by the Bobcats Spencer Miller. Laugand calmly sunk all three charity shots to make it a 33-26 C-L halftime lead.
“I don’t know what in the world we were doing,” Quinn said. “He (Laugand) was not even at midcourt. Even in practice, you can throw 100 of those up and you only make one.So why even defend it? All you have to do is prevent him from driving. But when he is doing that (throwing up a half-court shot) you just get out of his way. That’s the difference in the ballgame.”
Ian Callen added 18 points and Leadbetter 11 for C-L, who moves to 6-3 overall and 5-0 in the KSAC North with Clarion dropping to 6-3 overall and 4-1 in the conference.
“It’s a big game,” Ferguson said. “A game like this sets the tone for the rest of the season.”
CLARION-LIMESTONE 71, CLARION 68
Score by Quarter
Clarion 8 18 11 31 – 68
C-L 16 17 19 19 – 71
CLARION – 68
Ceventh Lynch-Skunda 5 5-7 16, Ty Burford 7 3-4 18, Cam Craig 4 9-12 17, Reed Anthony 4 2-5 12, Spencer Miller 0 0-0 0, Ryan Anthony 0 0-0 0, Zak Bauer 1 0-02 , Austin Hummell 1 1-2 3. Totals 22 20-30 68.
CLARION-LIMESTONE – 71
Julian Laugand 2 3-3 7, Christian Smith 2 8-10 12, Dan Callen 10 1-2 22, Ian Callen 7 4-4 18, Sam Leadbetter 5 1-1 11, Deion Deas 0 1-4 1, Chris Callen-Deal 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 18-24 71.
Three-pointers: Clarion 4 (Reed Anthony 2, Lynch-Skunda, Burford). C-L 1 (Dan Callen).
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