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Clarion-Limestone Wears Down Redbank Valley, Rallies From Double-Digit Deficit to Punch Ticket to KSAC Final

CLARION, Pa. (EYT/D9) — ExploreClarion Player of the Game Jack Callen scored 10 of his game-high 16 points in the second half to help Clarion-Limestone rally for a 48-38 victory over Redbank Valley in a semifinal round game of the KSAC Championship tournament on Friday evening at Tippin Gym in Clarion.

(Pictured above, Jack Callen, No. 32, leaps as part of his introduction. Callen was the ExploreClarion KSAC Boys Basketball Semifinal Player of the Game/photo by Diane Lutz)

Callen also grabbed three of his team-high nine rebounds in the closing minutes while also making 4-of-4 free throws over the final 1:05 to help the Lions pull away.
“Our shots weren’t falling early on, but our defense picked up and these guys just have that will to win,” said C-L head coach Pat Craig. “Jack Callen played a great game for us tonight. He grabbed some key rebounds and knocked down some shots despite being in early foul trouble.”

Ty Rankin also reached double figures with 10 points and also added six rebounds and five steals. Jack Craig added nine points and Jase Ferguson chipped in with seven points, five rebounds, and four steals.

Clarion-Limestone Area High School sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Redbank Chevrolet and DuBrook.

Breckin Minich scored 10 points to lead Redbank Valley, including two of the Bulldogs’ five 3-pointers. Kieran Fricko also added a pair of 3s on his way to eight points.

Redbank Valley started the game 4-of-8 from the 3-point line before shooting just 1-of-11 from beyond the arc after that. C-L meanwhile finished 0-for-10 from beyond the 3-point line.

“Our shots weren’t falling, but in reality, I feel the turnovers is what really killed us tonight,” said Redbank Valley coach Emmanuel Marshall. “We need to do a better job possessing the ball. Rebounding, turning the ball over were keys and when those things happen, the shots don’t fall and things just keep snowballing on you.”

C-L opened up a 6-2 lead early on before the Bulldogs hit three straight 3-pointers by Fricko and two by Minich, which started a 16-2 run. That carried Redbank Valley to their largest lead of the game at 18-8 on a 3 by Owen Clouse a minute into the second quarter.

Redbank Valley led 15-8 after one quarter.

C-L held an 11-9 scoring edge in the second quarter to trail 24-19 at halftime.

The Lions started the third quarter on a 6-0 run to take a 25-24 lead on a pair of free throws by Callen. That would be the first lead since 6-4. The lead would change three times over the final six minutes of the quarter, with Redbank Valley holding a 32-29 lead by the end of the frame.

Redbank Valley would get a basket by Minich to push the lead to five at 34-29 early in the fourth.

C-L would score the next seven points to take the lead for good, with Paul Craig making an old-fashioned three for the 36-34 lead with 5:46 to play. Ferguson would score with Jesse Siwiecki adding a steal and layup for a 40-34 lead at the 3:36 mark.

Braylon Wagner would make 1-of-2 free throws to cut the lead to 40-35. Callen would make a basket before Fricko hit a three to cut the lead to 42-38 with 1:05 to play. Callen would hit four free throws sandwiched around a layup by Rankin to set the final score.

“Our game play was to try and pressure them throughout the game to try and wear them down,” said Pat Craig. “I think that paid off as the game wore on because they weren’t hitting their shots in the second half like they did in the first half.”

With the win C-L will face Karns City for the KSAC Championship on Saturday evening.

“We know Karns City is a very good team,” said Craig. “They have a good inside and outside game. It should be a really good game and hopefully we can come out on top.”

Clarion-Limestone Area High School sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Redbank Chevrolet and DuBrook.