Fittingly, the game itself was a roller coaster ride for the Clippers as they fell to the Smithville Smithies 71-60.
Never quite in it but never fully out of it either, the Clippers just couldn’t put together a long enough run to make it a game.
“I’m proud of the kids,” Clearview coach John Szalay said. “They never quit and kept hustling right up until the final seconds ticked off. We knew there was going to be some matchup problems for us. I thought we played very hard and I’m proud of our effort tonight.”
Clearview (8-13) trailed 10-6 after the opening quarter and cut it to 14-11 on Eric Burkey’s 3-pointer and a pair of free throws by Anthony Fears with 6:06 left in the half.
A 3-pointer by Smithville’s Alex Bates started a 7-0 run that gave the Smithies a 21-11 lead. Clearview cut the lead in half at 21-16 on a three-point play by Fears and a Gerrell Williams basket. A basket by Smithville’s Steven Klotzle stopped the Clippers’ charge and the Smithies regrouped to take a 29-18 lead into halftime.
Smithville (10-11) led 31-23 in the third quarter when Klotzle took over the game. The 6-foot-5 senior scored 10 of the next 13 Smithville points to push the lead to 44-30 with 2:32 left in the third quarter.
Klotzle, who led all scored with 27 points, ontinued his strong play in the fourth quarter. His second basket of the final period gave Smithville a 55-37 lead with 6:12 left.
With its back against the wall, Clearview made one last run. Burkey’s third 3-pointer cut the lead to 55-40 and got the ball rolling for the Clippers. Three successive turnovers by Smithville resulted in seven more unanswered points for Clearview that cut the deficit to 55-47 with 5:00 to play.
Unfortunately for the Clippers, that was enough of a wake-up call for Smithville.
Six straight free throws, including four by Klotzle, extended the lead to 61-47. With time running out, Clearview was forced to send the Smithies to the line, but the strategy didn’t pan out. Smithville went 8-of-8 down the stretch and 14-of-16 in the fourth quarter to take back control of the game.
“We had to start putting them on the line,” Szalay said. “We didn’t expect them to hit nearly every one of them. If they miss a couple here and there then I think we’re right back in it. But they just didn’t miss.”
“Clearview never let us put them out of the game,” Smithville coach Jim Frizell said. “It seemed like we were one good run from putting them away but we never got it. When we were up 18 in the fourth I thought we were going to do it.
“But they didn’t give up and they made us fight for every point.”
Fears led Clearview with 21 points. Williams tossed in 14 and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds while Burkey finished with 11 points.
Smithville 71, Clearview 60
SMITHVILLE (71): Steven Klotzle 10-7-27, Alex Bates 4-4-13, Isaac Callender 3-2-11, Jimmy Pew 1-4-7, Zach Douglas 3-0-6, Brock Nettleton 1-2-4, Tolan Shane 1-0-2, Max Cabahug 0-1-1. Totals 23-20-71.
CLEARVIEW (60): Anthony Fears 6-7-21, Gerrell Williams 5-2-14, Eric Burkey 4-0-11, Brian Ward 1-2-4, Clifton Brown 1-0-2, Chad Anderson 1-0-2, Joshua Molina 1-0-2, Robert Branscum 0-2-2, Marcus Rodriguez 1-0-2. Totals 20-13-60.
Smithville 10 19 20 22 — 71
Clearview 6 12 17 25 — 60
Three-point goals: Smithville 5 (Callender 3, Bates, Pew), Clearview 7 (Burkey 3, Williams 2, Fears 2). Field goals: Smithville 23-44 (52 percent), Clearview 20-52 (38 percent). Free throws: Smithville 20-23 (87 percent), Clearview 13-15 (87 percent). Rebounds: Smithville 26 (Klotzle 7), Clearview 32 (Williams 9). Turnovers: Smithville 12, Clearview 15. Total fouls: Smithville 14, Clearview 21. Fouled out: Fears.
Contact Hans Schneider at 329-7135 or email@example.com.