Weekly Feature

2018-01-31 / Sports

First-half cushion helps boys hoops secure win


Clarence’s boys basketball team used a 16-4 run to start the game to help construct a 32-14 halftime lead, a lead which ultimately proved to be vital in the Red Devils’ 60-54 non-league conquest of Hamburg Friday.

Clarence, which was playing for the first time in eight days, ultimately connected on 10 three-point baskets over the course of the contest to finish with three more three pointers than two pointers on the day. That proficiency from behind the three-point line was especially crucial as Hamburg managed to whittle the Red Devils’ advantage down to three points halfway into the fourth quarter.

“I was just happy that we did enough good things to gut out a win,” coach Doug Ratka said. “We’ll learn from this game and get better. They came out and played well defensively in the second half – their man-to-man defense sags in the paint to the point where they are basically daring you to shoot – and made some shots to make a game of it.”

Clarence, which was ultimately outscored 40-28 in the second half, was led by Joe Olivieri’s 17 points and five rebounds. Olivieri connected on 8-of-9 free throws for the game to account for nearly half of his points.

Jack Putney chipped in with 13 points and seven rebounds, while Steve Kabayiza added 10 points. Mike O’Brien connected on a pair of three-point baskets in the second quarter to accumulate nearly all of his seven points for the Red Devils (7-6 overall), whose game against Jamestown Tuesday ended too late for this edition.

Clarence closes out its week Thursday against Lancaster; the varsity game time for that contest was recently changed to 6 p.m.

“We’re playing well for the most part right now, so the hope is that we can continue to play at a consistently high level with our league schedule coming to a close,” Ratka said. “It’s just coming down to our defensive intensity and having guys be responsible on defense, and that goes hand-in-hand with working together. Our offense has been pretty consistent all year, especially at home, so if we can keep getting that consistent offense it will all come down to getting stops on defense.”

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