CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – A balanced scoring attack and two long runs helped fuel Clarion Area to a 56-26 victory over Clarion-Limestone on Thursday evening at Clarion High School.
(Byline: Steve Smail. Photo by Kim Constantino)
Erica Selfridge led the way with 16 points and nine rebounds while Ava Cherico added 10 points. Payton Simko scored nine points with seven rebounds and Jordan Best added eight points with seven rebounds, and Noel Anthony chipped in with seven points.
“We want to be as balanced as we can as far as scoring,” said Clarion head coach Jess Quinn. “If someone has the hot hand of course we’re going to feed her. Erica, Payton, Jordan, and Noel were all doing their part and converting.”
Frances Milliron and Sydney Simpson combined for 18 of C-L’s 26 points with 10 and eight respectively.
“We just didn’t have an answer tonight,” said C-L head coach Gus Simpson. “We got lost on defense and we weren’t able to convert anything at the offensive end. Those two things alone aren’t going to get it done.”
Things started well enough for C-L (0-4) as Simpson buried a three-pointer to open the game. C-L would lead 7-4 before Anthony, Cherico, and Selfridge knocked down consecutive three-pointers to give Clarion the lead for good at 13-7. Clarion would continue to lead 15-9 after one.
A 6-1 run by C-L to open the second pulled the Lady Lions to within one at 16-15 with 6:13 to play. The Lady Cats responded with a 9-0 run to push the lead back to 10 at 25-15. A Milliron basket with 12 seconds remaining in the half stopped the C-L drought and cut the lead to 25-17 at halftime.
A Simpson three and another Milliron basket surrounded a Jordan Best basket to cut the lead to five at 27-22 with 6:58 to play in the third. An 8-0 Clarion run pushed the lead to 35-22 forcing a C-L timeout with 4:51 to play. Clarion continued the run which grew to 15-0 to push the lead to 20 at 42-22 with 2:43 remaining. An Anna Kennemuth basket stopped the long C-L drought before Cherico scored the final four points of the quarter for a 46-24 lead after three.
“Our message at halftime was to come out and set the tone in the second half,” said Quinn. “C-L played inspired ball in the first half. Those girls played tough and gave us everything they could. We came out and we executed our offense, and we converted our shots.”
With the mercy rule running clock in effect for much of the fourth quarter, Clarion closed the game with a 10-2 scoring advantage to set the final score of 56-26.
In the junior varsity contest, Gia Babbington scored 33 of Clarion’s 43 points including eight three-pointers as the Lady Cats captured a 43-39 victory.
Alyssa Wiant paced C-L with 12 points while Frances Milliron and Kendall Dunn each scored eight points.