LAGRANGE — Free throw shooting hasn’t been kind to Keystone this season. So far, the Wildcats have managed to win most of the time in spite of their inaccuracy at the foul line.
That problem finally bit them Tuesday night. Keystone missed six of seven free throw attempts in the game’s final minute in a 44-42 loss to Clearview in a Patriot Athletic Conference crossover game.
“Just because we were winning doesn’t mean we were playing well,” Keystone coach Greg Morgan said. “Defense and rebounding has always carried us. Tonight we weren’t good on defense or rebounding.”
The bad foul shooting opened the door, and Clearview (3-8, 3-7 PAC) walked in. Specifically, Anthony Fears and Brian Wood.
Wood recovered the ball when Keystone’s Brandon Osborne lost control of it in the lane with about five seconds to play, then passed it to Fears breaking downcourt. Fears outraced his pursuers and put in a layup at the buzzer to give the Clippers the victory.
Keystone (9-4, 8-1) had regained possession via a backcourt violation with 36 seconds left. The Wildcats held the ball for the last shot, with Osborne making a move down the left side of the lane with about nine seconds left.
“I had the help-side defense,” Wood said. “We were trying to not let them drive the lane, and keep them out of the paint. He fumbled the ball, and it just popped to me. I got it ahead to Anthony. I just happened to be there.”
“We needed a win and the kids responded,” Clearview coach John Szalay said. “I was very proud of the way they played the entire game. We had come off two poor performances before this.
“I can’t say enough about Brian Wood,” Szalay added. “He doesn’t score much, but I heard Anthony tell him this was his basket.”
Wood scored just two points, but had six of his seven rebounds in the second half. Fears scored 19 points to lead the Clippers.
“We didn’t let Keystone make us impatient,” Szalay said. “We were under control for the most part and that gave us a chance.”
For Keystone, it was a disappointing performance four days after the Wildcats had taken a victory in a showdown against Wellington for first place.
“It is hard to understand how, after a big win over your big rival, you can come out with no energy,” Morgan said. “They deserved to win and we deserved to lose. Rebounding, defense, offensive execution — we were outplayed in all facets.”
Caleb Schillace led the Wildcats with 19 points. Schillace became the eighth player in Keystone High school boys basketball history to pass 1,000 points for his career.
He did that with a vicious slam dunk off an alley-oop pass from Osborne at 4:49 of the first quarter. Play stopped at 4:12 so that Morgan could present Schillace with the ball. Schillace walked into the home seating area and gave the ball to his mother.
The dunk gave Keystone a 7-2 advantage — its biggest lead of the game. Clearview scored 12 unanswered points to go ahead 16-9 and kept the lead until a 14-4 run by the Wildcats between the third and fourth quarters put Keystone ahead 36-34.
The Wildcats maintained the lead, going ahead 42-38 on a layup by Schillace off a pass from C.J. Conrad with 2:04 remaining. Wood scored off an offensive rebound with a minute to play to tie the score.
Brandyn Sittinger missed the front of a one-and-one with 50 seconds left. Fears rebounded, but the Clippers gave up possession on the over-and-back call.
Sittinger hit double figures with 11 points. Osborne led all playmakers with six assists.
Clearview 44, Keystone 42
CLEARVIEW (44): Gerelle Williams 1-0-2, Eric Burkey 2-0-5, Clifton Brown 4-0-8, Anthony Fears 9-0-19, Brian Wood 1-0-2, Chad Anderson 0-0-0, Seth Trinidad 2-0-5, Lorenzo Celestino 1-0-3, Josh Molina 0-0-0. Totals 20-0-44.
KEYSTONE (42): Caleb Schillace 8-3-19, Brandyn Sittinger 4-0-11, Jacob Kolar 0-0-0, Brandon Osborne 3-1-8, Adam Hopkins 0-2-2, C. J. Conrad 1-0-2, Brandon Grieve 0-0-0. Totals 16-6-42.
Clearview 9 17 8 10 — 44
Keystone 9 13 10 10 — 42
Three-point goals: Clearview 4 (Celestino, Trinidad, Fears, Burkey), Keystone 4 (Sittinger 3, Osborne). Field goals: Clearview 20-44 (45.5 percent), Keystone 16-33 (48.8 percent). Free throws: Clearview 0-0, Keystone 6-12 (50 percent). Rebounds: Clearview 22 (Williams 8), Keystone 19 (Conrad 7). Turnovers: Clearview 15, Keystone 15. Total fouls: Clearview 13, Keystone 3. Fouled out: None.
Junior varsity: Keystone, 34-27.
Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or email@example.com.