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Clutch Free-Throws Boost C-L Over A-C Valley

STRATTANVILLE, Pa. – In a game largely decided at the free-throw line, the Lions went 13-for-16 in the fourth quarter to snatch a 64-60 win over A-C Valley.

(Photo by Dave Cyphert/ ProPoint Media Photography. More action photos available for print and/or digital purchase are available here.)

The game was tight throughout, with the Lions erasing an early Falcons lead to tie the score at halftime. The Lions’ ability to get to the charity stripe was the deciding factor, with C-L scoring 22 points from the free-throw line, 13 of which came during the final period.

Hayden Callen led C-L with 15 points, including nine in the fourth quarter. Jordan Hesdon added 14 points for the Lions, while Tommy Smith tallied eight points on the night. Levi Orton had a phenomenal game, scoring 35 points in the loss.

The Falcons started on the front foot, scoring the quarter’s first five points to take a quick lead. C-L swiftly fought back, scoring six unanswered points of their own to seize the lead. As the quarter continued, both sides found their scoring touch in transition, using speed and good passing to create offense. The Falcons had the better end to the opening period, taking an 18-14 lead into the second period.

A-C Valley began to assert themselves in the second quarter, starting the period on a big run to increase their lead to 10. Orton started to heat up in the period, finding his scoring touch both down low and from the free-throw line. Just as the Falcons looked as if they were beginning to pull away, the Lions hit back, breaking the A-C Valley press to score easy layups. The mini-run brought the Falcons’ lead down to four with three minutes to go in the first half. C-L continued their run during the rest of the quarter, ending the period tied at 33 apiece.

The offensive pace slowed down in the third quarter, with both teams having difficulty finding their outside touch. Neither team was able to break open a lead, and the score remained tied at 40 with four minutes left in the third quarter. The game continued to go back-and-forth as the period wore on, with no team establishing a clear edge. The Falcons scored the final bucket of the period to take a 46-44 lead into the fourth quarter.

An absence of offense defined the beginning of the fourth quarter, as both teams’ defenses were locked in down low. After a timeout, the game began to open up, and a big three by Callen gave C-L a 51-50 point lead with four minutes remaining. With both teams finding themselves in the early bonus, the game turned into a free-throw shooting contest. Two made free-throws by Riley Klingensmith gave the Lions a 58-54 lead with two minutes to go.

Two more makes, this time by Hesdon, boosted the Lions lead to 60-54. A clutch three by Tanner Merwin cut the C-L lead down to three, but the Falcons would get no closer, as Callen would go four-for-four from the charity stripe to secure a 64-60 C-L win.

With the victory, C-L advances to 6-8 on the season. A-C Valley drops to 7-3 with the loss.