September 17, 2014

Elyria
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Boys basketball: Buddies have fun as Clearview blows out Lake Ridge

SHEFFIELD TWP. — Gerrell Williams and Clifton Brown posted double-doubles as Clearview rolled over a depleted Lake Ridge Academy 80-25 Thursday in non-conference boys basketball action at Szalay Memorial Gym.

Following the game, Williams and Brown — best of friends away from the court and complementary teammates on it — had a difficult time deciding which had a better game … not surprising since they are constantly together, engaging in the kind of trash talk only best of friends can get away with.

“He had some nice dunks, but they were against players that were a lot smaller than him,” Brown, a 5-foot-11 senior, said of Williams, Clearview’s 6-foot-3 junior wing who scored 10 of his game-high 22 points via dunks. “The best one was his first, where I threw him the pass. The rest of them were OK, but that first one was good because of the pass.

“The one-handed Tomahawk … yeah it was crazy, but the one I threw to him was so much better.”

Brown ended the game with 16 points and 10 rebounds while Williams also pulled down 10 boards … a fact that he disputed.

“I had more (rebounds) than him, seriously,” Williams said while motioning toward Brown. “I had 11, man. I really had 11.”

All it takes to get them going is to ask a simple question: Who would win if they played one-on-one? They both claim they have never played one-on-one against each other, and they both have a definite opinion as to what would happen if they did.

“Me, without a doubt,” they simultaneously replied when asked who the winner would be.

“I’m too athletic,” Williams said, pointing at Brown. “He couldn’t stay with me.”

“It’s the other way around … you can’t guard me,” Brown replied with a smirk.

“He can’t shoot, either … and he has to work on his left,” Williams responded.

“Yeah, but he can’t dribble and I’m a lot stronger,” Brown answered. “My left is fine … his left isn’t.”

This is the kind of conversation that takes place between the pair constantly … and not just during basketball season.

“Basketball is all we talk about,” Williams said. “Even during football season, it’s basketball from morning to night.”

Clearview improved to 3-3 with the win. It was the second consecutive game in which Williams scored 22 points. Clearview coach John Szalay thinks the relationship between Brown and Williams is making a significant difference in the younger player’s development.

“Clifton and Gerrell are very close, and I think some of Clifton’s maturity and senior leadership is helping Gerrell,” Szalay said. “That’s what teammates should do and I’m very glad to see that.

“Clifton sets a really good example and Gerrell is willing to listen. I have all the confidence in the world that he’s going to be a great player down the road. I’m lucky he’s on our team.”

Williams agrees.

“I give (Brown) a lot of credit for the player I’ve become,” he said. “We’re together every day, all the time, and we make each other better.”

Lake Ridge (2-3) had a 3-2 lead with 5:55 remaining in the first quarter when sophomore Chris Miller hit a 3-pointer from the left corner. It was short-lived.

Over the next 10:25 the Clippers went on a 35-0 run to bury the Royals. Miller finally ended it with 3:30 to go in the first half when he connected on another 3-pointer.

Though Szalay stopped pressing at the 4:00 mark of the first quarter and his team leading 15-3, the undermanned Lake Ridge team could not get into any kind of offense.

The Royals had three players missing, two on vacation and their leading scorer, senior Devin Gabriel (25.0 points per game), sick with food poisoning. They hit just three of nine shots from the floor in the first half and turned the ball over 21 times.

“We made extra passes and made our possessions last a little but longer,” Szalay said of slowing the game down. “We called off the press and the traps early and the kids listened. Sometimes they still want to get after it and some of the kids don’t get to play a lot, so it was their time to play. But they shared the ball and were patient. That shows unity as a team.”

Clearview outrebounded Lake Ridge 20-6 in the first half and Williams had more dunks in the first half (four) than the Royals had field goals (three).

Miller was the lone bright spot for Lake Ridge. When he left the game in the fourth quarter he had 17 of his team’s 19 points, connecting on his first five 3-point attempts.

Clearview 80, Lake Ridge 25

LAKE RIDGE (25): Chris Miller 5-2 17, Scott Chriss 1-2 4, Marc Ayad 0-0-0, Jay O’Neill 0-0-0, Henry Sweeterman 1-0-2, Will Cousino 0-0-0, Austin Gatchell 1-0-2, Niko Ortiz 0-0-0. Totals 8-4-25.

CLEARVIEW (80): Gerrell Williams 11-0-22, Chad Anderson 1-1-3, Clifton Brown 7-2-16, Daimon Knowles 2-1-6, Bryan Walker 2-2-6, Eric Burkey 2-0-6, Maliek Ivey 1-0-3, Caleb Branscum 2-0-4, Darin Sturgill 3-0-7, Jason Young 1-0-2, Sharod Brown 1-0-3, Freddy Ritenauer 1-0-2. Totals 34-6-80.

Lake Ridge 3 5 11 6 — 25

Clearview 27 18 18 17 — 80

Three-point goals: Lake Ridge 5-13 (Miller 5), Clearview 6-18 (Burkey 2, Knowles, Ivey, Sturgill, S. Brown). Rebounds: Lake Ridge 13 (Sweeterman 3), Clearview 48 (C. Brown 10, Williams 10). Turnovers: Lake Ridge 32, Clearview 10. Total fouls: Lake Ridge 12, Clearview 8. Junior varsity: No game.

Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.