SHEFFIELD TWP. — Columbia had what it wanted, but it didn’t want what unfolded.
With less than a minute on the clock the Raiders had the ball in their hands, down by a point, but a Daimon Knowles steal led to an Antonio Bennett basket that sealed the deal Friday in Clearview’s 68-61 Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division win.
The Clippers (14-5, 10-4) led by a point when an Eric Burkey jumper rimmed out. Columbia junior Kevin Simon grabbed the rebound and turned to throw an outlet pass when Knowles got a hand on the ball and knocked it to Bennett.
Bennett grabbed the ball and shot it in one motion. The ball banked in to give Clearview a 64-61 lead with 50 seconds remaining in the game.
Senior Jay Banyasz was fouled at the other end and stepped to the line with the chance to cut the lead to one, but both free throws bounced off and the Clippers ended the scoring with four free throws in the final 20 seconds.
“We had the ball in our hands with 53 seconds left, we lose it and they get a basket,” Columbia coach Larry Babics said. “Now it’s a three-point game. You think of all the stuff you did wrong for the first 31 minutes.
“It’s every opportunity in these types of games that you have to take advantage of.”
The Raiders (16-4, 12-3) defeated Clearview 56-54 on Jan. 21.
Knowles had a huge game for Clearview, scoring 22 points and pulling down a team-high 10 rebounds, but it was the play of Bennett off the bench that Clearview coach John Szalay thought enabled his team to beat the Raiders for the first time in two years.
Bennett entered the game with 2:47 remaining in the third quarter and ended up with 11 points and two steals. He also drew a critical charge in the middle of an 8-0 Clearview run that turned a 50-48 deficit into a 56-50 lead.
Bennett hit all five shots he took from the floor.
“I thought I was going to get put in for the fourth quarter, maybe, because it was Columbia,” Bennett said. “The last game against Columbia I was put in for Burkey when he fouled out, so I thought something like that would happen.
“When I came in and hit my first two buckets I thought I would shoot a little bit more. That and my teammates showed me their confidence in me, telling me to shoot the ball.”
Clippers coach John Szalay said Bennett earned more playing time on the practice floor.
“The kid has a lot of natural ability,” he said. “He’s been a JV player all year, but (assistant) Coach (Bob) Walsh and I noticed in practice how much he’s getting better and better. We needed him and he made a big, big impact on the ballgame.”
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clearview 68, Columbia 61
COLUMBIA (61): Brandon Severo 1-0-2, Jay Banyasz 6-2-17, Michael Boey 3-0-9, David Delahunty 10-0-23, Kevin Simon 2-0-4, Brian Hershey 1-0-3, Josh Gibson 0-0-0, Brandon Heidecker 1-1-3. Totals 24-3-61.
CLEARVIEW (68): Gerrell Williams 7-3-18, Iben Huff 1-0-2, Eric Burkey 3-1-7, Jason Young 4-0-8, Daimon Knowles 8-2-22, Caleb Branscum 0-0-0, Sharrod Brown 0-0-0, Antonio Bennett 5-1-11. Totals 28-7-68.
Columbia 13 18 14 15 — 61
Clearview 16 13 16 23 — 68
Three-point goals: Columbia 10-28 (Banyasz 3, Boey 3, Delahunty 3, Hershey), Clearview 5-16 (Knowles 4, Williams). Field goals: Columbia 24-55 (43.6 percent), Clearview 28-54 (51.8 percent). Free throws: Columbia 3-10 (30 percent), Clearview 7-11 (63.6 percent). Rebounds: Columbia 35 (Delahunty 13), Clearview 30 (Knowles 10). Turnovers: Columbia 11, Clearview 8. Total fouls: Columbia 14, Clearview 12.
Junior varsity: Columbia, 44-36.