GETTING DEFENSIVE: Clarion-Limestone Smothers Ridgway on the Way to a Quarterfinal Victory

Steve Smail

Steve Smail

Published February 24, 2024 5:50 am
GETTING DEFENSIVE: Clarion-Limestone Smothers Ridgway on the Way to a Quarterfinal Victory

STRATTANVILLE, Pa. (EYT/D9) — They say defense is the key to winning in any team sport, and on Friday evening, Clarion-Limestone put on a defensive clinic, especially in the first half in allowing just 14 points to Ridgway, as the Lions ended up coming away with 67-40 victory over the District 9 Class 2A quarterfinals.

C-L built an 11-4 lead early with Jack Callen and Jack Craig combining for nine of the 11 points.

After an intentional foul call on C-L, Ethan Streich hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 11-6. From then on, it would be all C-L who would go on a 17-0 run to take a 28-6 lead two minutes into the second quarter.

(Pictured above, Clarion-Limestone’s Paul Craig was named the Hager Paving Incorporated Player of the Game.)

Ironically, Streich would stop the run with another free throw at the 4:58 mark of the second.

Jesse Siwiecki would start a 10-5 quarter-ending run with a 3-pointer as C-L would take a commanding 38-14 halftime lead.

Clarion-Limestone Area High School sports coverage on Explore and D9Sports.com is brought to you by Redbank Chevrolet and DuBrook.
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“Our mindset coming in was to try to get a lead and make them play from behind,” said C-L head coach Pat Craig. “That is something they really aren’t built for. We wanted to make them play a way they didn’t really want to play.”

Jack Callen led C-L three players in double figures with 15 points while also grabbing six rebounds. Paul Craig knocked down a pair of 3-pointers while going 4-for-5 from the free throw line in scoring 14 points. Jase Ferguson added 13 points with four assists and three steals.

C-L finished 16-for-21 from the free throw line, which at times has been a problem area for the Lions this season.

“Wow, I knew we were shooting fairly well from the line, but I didn’t realize it was that good,” said Craig. “It’s all about confidence when the guy’s step to the line. I hope that kind of shooting from the foul line can continue moving forward.”

C-L would continue to extend their lead and eventually put the game into the mercy rule running clock following a pair of free throws by Ty Rankin which put the score 52-22 at the 3:09 mark of the third. The Lions would lead 59-28 by the end of the third quarter.

With both teams playing a lot of junior varsity players throughout much of the fourth quarter, the Elkers would hold a 12-8 scoring edge to set the final score.

“I was really happy with the way the kids played defensively, especially during that first half and the first quarter in particular,” said Craig. “If we can play defense like that going forward we can be a really tough team to beat.”

Jackson Kilpeck led Ridgway with 10 points while Alex Merritt and Streich each scored eight points.

C-L will now advance to play Redbank Valley on Tuesday evening at Tippin Gym. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

“Redbank won the regular season title so we know they are a really good team,” said Craig. “We’re looking forward to a fun game on Tuesday.”

Clarion-Limestone Area High School sports coverage on Explore and D9Sports.com is brought to you by Redbank Chevrolet and DuBrook.
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