HENRIETTA TWP. — If Clearview made the journey to Firelands with the idea of making a statement, the message came through loud and clear.
Desiree Ray scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds Wednesday to lead the Clippers to a 54-43 win in a Patriot Athletic Conference crossover game.
The teams are not only ranked in The Chronicle-Telegram Top 5, but atop their respective divisions. No. 3 Clearview, the Stripes Division leader, is 11-2 and 9-1 in the PAC. No. 5 Firelands of the Stars Division is 9-5 and 8-1.
“Anytime you come on the road and beat a great team like Firelands, it’s a statement game,” Clearview coach Nick Dimacchia said. “This was a pivotal game for us because we felt like we gave one away at Fairview. We needed to win tonight to secure our spot in the league standings.”
Ray scored the Clippers’ first eight points, all from the paint, and had 14 points at the half. In the second half she struck from the outside, firing jump shots as the Falcons concentrated on protecting the interior.
It was her 11th double-double of the season.
“After I made a couple of shots I figured I might as well keep shooting because I know if I start out good, I usually shoot good all night,” Ray said.
“Coach Dimacchia was talking to us before the game about how Firelands had the best record in our conference. So our goal was to come out strong, set the tempo and play good defense because we want to be the best team on either side of the conference.”
Firelands led 13-12 after a quarter, but Sydney Wright gave the Clippers the lead back with a layup with 6:50 to play in the half. Clearview never trailed again. The Clippers built a seven-point lead in the second quarter, only to see Firelands storm back to score the final points of the half to make it 27-25.
Dimacchia said his team remained upbeat at halftime.
“When I walked in the locker room everyone was focused and I didn’t see anyone with their heads down so I knew that they knew we were in a good position to win.”
The Clippers played a zone defense for the first time this season, holding the Falcons to 30 percent shooting and forcing 27 turnovers.
Rachel Holowecky led the Falcons with 10 points.
“I can’t fault our effort tonight. The girls played hard but we just didn’t shoot the ball well,” Firelands coach Dave Kuleda said. “Give a lot of credit to Clearview, that’s a good basketball team we faced tonight.
“They were much more aggressive and physical tonight. We had a difficult time pushing the ball tonight, they were able to control the tempo.”
Clearview put away the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Falcons 17-8. Sophomore Angel Blakely, the only other player in double figures with 12 points, set the tone for the second half with a pair of 3-pointers.
Firelands also didn’t do itself any favors at the free throw line, going 9-of-17 and missing the front end of two one-and-ones in the fourth quarter.
Clearview 55, Firelands 43
CLEARVIEW (55): Katelynn Baker 0-2-2, Sydney Wright 3-0-6, Desiree Ray 10-4-24, Tahjanae Flowers-Coleman 2-0-4, Raquel Santana 3-0-7, Angel Blakely 5-1-12 . Totals 23-6-55.
FIRELANDS (43): Casey Morrissette 4-0-8, Alyssa Melendez 1-1-4, Rebecca Myers 1-0-2, Rachel Holowecky 3-3-10, Brandi Holowecky 1-0-2, Destiny Samples 2-5-9, Keely Hall 4-0-8. Totals 16-9-43.
Clearview 12 15 17 11 — 55
Firelands 13 12 8 10 — 43
Three-point goals: Clearview(Blakely 2, Santana), Firelands (Melendez, Holowecky, R.); Field goals: Clearview 23-48 (48 percent), Firelands 16-53 (30 percent); Free throws: Clearview 6-9 (66 percent), Firelands 9-17 (53 percent); Rebounds: Clearview 32, Firelands 33; Turnovers: Clearview 27, Firelands 27; Total fouls: Clearview 16, Firelands 14. Junior varsity: Firelands, 36-24.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.