LORAIN — No one needed to tell Clearview’s senior captain Gerrell Williams the importance of this week.
The Clippers took care of Round One on Tuesday in beating Lutheran West 72-59 to set up Friday’s showdown with league-leading Columbia in the Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division race.
Clearview, 13-5 overall and 9-4 in the PAC, can trim the margin to just one game against the Raiders with a win at home. West (14-4, 10-3 PAC) still has Columbia left on its schedule.
“We didn’t want to lose,” said Williams, who led the way with 24 points. “That’s what motivated us the most. We want to have some momentum going into the tournaments. We know we have Columbia on Friday. We have to pick up the intensity.”
“Both teams beat us the first time around,” Clippers coach John Szalay said of Lutheran West and Columbia. “And I thought (Lutheran West) took it to us early. Our kids were on their heels but then our bench kind of helped us and Gerrell took it upon himself to get us back into it.”
Williams certainly did his part. With Lutheran West threatening to pull out to a big first-half lead, Williams, with 8-of-9 from the floor for the half, came to the rescue with 12 second-quarter points that kept the Clippers close.
The Longhorns led by as many as nine points in the second quarter but Clearview managed to close the deficit to just two by the half.
“I thought John had his kids ready and they played extremely well,” Longhorn coach Alan Januzzi said. “They got behind early and fought their way back. They came out in the third quarter and his kids just executed.”
And shot the ball well. Clearview hit 53 percent of its shots for the game and was efficient the second half, as well. The Clippers’ patience paid off with 19-of-24 shooting from the line and 11-of-21 from the floor.
Williams certainly had plenty of help, mainly from senior Damion Knowles, who scored 19 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. Knowles had 17 of his points and eight of the rebounds in the second half when Clearview took over.
“We attacked their traps,” Szalay said. “Put it on the refs to call the fouls. Before, we were leaning back. (Assistant) Coach (Bob) Walsh told them at halftime to put the ball on the floor and force them to reach.”
For the Longhorns, Andrew O’Hara had 20 points and Greg Kunse 16, but the Longhorns shot just 36 percent for the night.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clearview 72, Lutheran West 59
LUTHERAN WEST (59): Greg Kunse 6-3-16, Peter Koza 1-0-2, Chris Scott 2-0-4, Andrew O’Hara 8-2-20, Aaron Beckman 2-1-5, Max Quinn 3-0-6, Clay Carper 2-0-6, Jack Kelsheimer 0-0-0, Nate Roman 0-0-0. Totals 24-6-59.
CLEARVIEW (72): Gerrell Williams 10-3-24, Iben Huff 2-3-8, Eric Burkey 3-5-11, Jason Young 2-0-4, Daimon Knowles 7-4-19, Lance Billings 0-0-0, Davonte Sutton 0-0-0, Sharrod Brown 0-2-2, Caleb Branscum 1-2-4, Antonio Bennett 0-0-0. Totals 25-19-72.
Lutheran West 19 12 8 20 — 59
Clearview 12 18 21 21 — 72
Three-point goals: Lutheran East 5-18 (O’Hara 2, Carper 2, Kunse), Clearview 3-8 (Williams, Knowles, Huff). Field goals: Lutheran West 24-66 (36 percent), Clearview 25-47 (53 percent). Free throws: Lutheran West 6-8 (75 percent), Clearview 19-24 (79 percent). Rebounds: Lutheran West 37 (Beckman 10), Clearview 34 (Knowles 13). Turnovers: Lutheran West 10, Clearview 13. Fouls: Lutheran West 19, Clearview 10. Technical foul: Kunse.
Junior varsity: Clearview, 69-60