STRATTANVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – Slow starts can be expected in your first game of the season and for Clarion-Limestone that was no exception as the Lions trailed 17-5 after one quarter before rallying for a 51-44 victory over Moniteau on Thursday evening at the Lions’ Den in Strattanville.
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C-L (1-0) trailed 15-1 before a 4-2 edge closed the gap to 17-5 after one.
“Since it was our first game, we told the kids the speed of the game was going to be a lot different than in practices,” said C-L head coach Joe Ferguson. “We’ve only had 10 practices, so we still have a lot to learn. We were undisciplined in our defense especially in that first quarter which led to a lot of what happened in that first quarter.”
Chason Delarosa-Rugg tallied nine of his 11 total points, all coming from beyond the three-point line in the opening quarter for the Warriors.
C-L kept chipping away in the second quarter as the Lions were able to trim the lead to just five at 27-22 following the second of two three-pointers by sophomore Riley Klingensmith who finished with a game-high 17 points.
“Riley is just a sophomore and was playing in his first varsity game for us,” said Ferguson. “He played pretty good defense besides scoring those points and he also played within himself very well.”
Moniteau built their lead back to 10 at 36-26 with five minutes to play in the third quarter. C-L would then respond with a 13-2 run to end the quarter giving the Lions their first lead of the game at 39-38. Hayden Callen would score the final seven points of the quarter for C-L. He finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
“We started rebounding better in the second half,” said Ferguson. “We also started moving the ball better and taking better shots. We moved the ball and ran some offensive sets. We have three new guys out there with Hayden Callen being our only player who has been out there playing the majority of the time the past four years. Our other seniors who are playing now haven’t seen a lot of time. With Hayden drawing a lot of attention those other guys know they are going to have to pick things up in order to help out.”
A pair of free throws by Mason Mershimer early in the fourth put the Warriors ahead 40-39. An old–fashioned three-point play by Klingensmith put C-L back in front 42-40. Mershimer scored with 5:06 to play to tie the score at 42-all. An 8-0 run by C-L put the Lions ahead for good at 50-42 with just under a minute to play in the contest.
Brady Thompson scored on a putback with 28 seconds left for the Warriors final points. Jordan Hesdon added 1-of-2 free throws with 20 seconds remaining for the 51-44 lead.
Moniteau had a glimmer of hope as Callen was whistled for a technical foul with 17 seconds remaining, but Delarosa-Rugg missed both free throws and C-L got a steal on the ensuing inbounds play and was able to run out the clock to secure the win.
“It helps playing against good competition and Moniteau has a good team,” said Ferguson. “They’ve been in every game they played so far. You can iron out a lot of things just by playing and then being able to point them out in the next practice. We found out a few things we need to work on, but we have a few days and practices to be able to do that. It was nice to come out of here with a win that’s for sure.”
Brady Thompson finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for Moniteau. Kyle Pry added nine points while Mershimer scored eight points and 10 boards.
C-L will play at Keystone on Wednesday.
Clarion-Limestone 51, Moniteau 44
Score by Quarters
Moniteau – 17 12 9 6-44
C-L – 5 17 17 12-51
T. Williams 2 0-1 4, M. Mershimer 2 4-4 8, C Delarosa-Rugg 4 0-2 11, R. Jewart 0 0-1 0, K. Pry 4 0-2 9, B. Thompson 5 0-0 12. Totals: 17 4-10 44.
J. Hesdon 3 4-6 10, Hayden Siegel 0 0-0 0, R. Hummell 1 0-0 2, B. Rankin 1 0-0 2, H. Callen 6 0-0 14, R. Klingensmith 7 1-1 17, T. Smith 2 2-2 6. Totals: 19 7-9 51.
Three-pointers: Moniteau 6 (Delarosa-Rugg 3, Thompson 2, Pry), C-L 4 (Klingensmith 2, Callen 2).