SHEFFIELD TWP. — If Amherst looked at Saturday’s non-league game against Clearview as a postseason tune-up, consider all systems ready to go.
The Comets defeated the Clippers 60-50 in the regular-season finale. Both teams will enter sectional play with a 17-5 record.
The final score is not really indicative of how well the Comets played. They soared to a 21-2 lead, led by as much as 24 in the third quarter and held Clearview star Desiree Ray to one point over the first three quarters.
Amherst senior Sydney Failing led her team with a career-high 26 points, going 14-of-17 from the free throw line.
“Practice makes perfect,” Failing said. “I’ve been working on free throws all season so when it comes down to the end of the game I’ll be able to pull it out and make some free throws.”
The Comets defense was on full display, holding Clearview without a field goal until the 6:29 mark of the second quarter when a Raquel Santana layup made the score 21-4.
Clearview never gave up, though. With leading scorers Angel Blakely (17 points) and Ray (11) heating up in the second half, the Clippers cut the deficit to nine in the closing minutes of the game.
“I’m proud of the way my girls battled back tonight,” Clippers coach Nick Dimacchia said.
“We play Amherst every year at the end of the season for a reason. Not only is it a fun rivalry but they’re a great team and John (Rositano) is an outstanding coach who always has his team well-prepared. So this is a great game to get ready for the postseason.”
The officials were also in postseason form, calling 50 fouls. Both teams had two players foul out and Amherst played the entire fourth quarter with four players with four fouls. The teams combined to shoot 67 free throws.
Morgan Dziak also had 18 points for the Comets, including four 3-pointers.
“I thought we came out with the right approach, we made some shots and executed well,” Rositano said. “It was a good game for both teams to head into the tournament because what you saw tonight was tournament basketball. But for us to come on the road and really take it to a 17-5 basketball team makes me pleased about where we are heading into Wednesday night (the Comets’ tournament opener against Lorain).”
Coyia Inman, a 5-foot senior guard for Clearview, incited the home crowd late in the game when she came off the bench to score the Clippers’ final two points on Senior Night. She had scored all of five points all season.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amherst 60, Clearview 50
AMHERST (60): Sheridan Champe 1-0-2, Morgan Dziak 5-4-18, Brianna Shagovac 0-4-4, Sydney Failing 5-14-26, Brooke Wallace 4-2-10. Totals 15-24-60.
CLEARVIEW (50): MacKenzie Mielcarek 0-4-4, Katlynne Baker 0-4-4, Sydney Wright 2-2-6, Desiree Ray 4-3-11, Coyia Inman 1-0-2, Raquel Santana 2-2-6, Angel Blakely 7-3-17. Totals 16-18-50.
Amherst 14 18 12 16 — 60
Clearview 2 14 11 23 — 50
Three-point goals: Amherst (Dziak 4, Failing 2); Field goals: Amherst 15-44 (44 percent), Clearview 16-48 (33 percent); Free throws: Amherst 24-34 (71 percent), Clearview 18-33 (55 percent); Rebounds: Amherst 30, Clearview 38; Turnovers: Amherst 11, Clearview 20; Total fouls: Amherst 26, Clearview 24.
Junior varsity: Amherst, 47-25