THE SCORE

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - SPORTS -

CLEARVIEW 73, LUTHERAN WEST 50

Try­ing to slow down the 2018-19 Clip­pers (2-0, 1-0) will prove to be a chal­lenge this year as Coach John Sza­lay has con­di­tioned his group to get out and run with the best of them.

Locked in a tight con­test through most of the first quar­ter, it wasn’t un­til a late push that started in the fi­nal minute of the first half that gave Clearview all the mo­men­tum and con­fi­dence to force turnovers and run the floor in the open court.

Knot­ted at 12-12 just be­fore the end of the first quar­ter, the Clip­pers shifted into a new gear in the se­cond quar­ter on a 12-0 run that proved to be the big dif­fer­ence in the game.

Not­ing his team’s depth and com­mit­ment to the full-court press as a big fuel to the team’s early suc­cess, Sza­lay said his team went out and did what they prac­ticed.

“I thought Lutheran West con­trolled the tempo pretty good in the first quar­ter, then we had that spurt where we steal the ball un­der their bas­ket and it turns into quick points for us and then you start feel­ing con­fi­dent and flow­ing a bit,” Sza­lay said. “That’s tough on them. I thought Lutheran West had a great game plan, but we were able to throw so many kids at them with a lot of pres­sure, and it takes them away from things they prac­tice and that’s al­ways tough.”

Forc­ing turnover af­ter turnover with speed and quick­ness, the Clip­pers just fo­cused on get­ting the ball up the court to the open man.

Lead­ing by as much as 21, Clearview didn’t have one player load up the stat sheet, but a balanced at­tack of scor­ers that just wore down the Longhorns (0-2, 0-1) at each turn.

“We prac­tice full court, 94 feet. We’re al­ways press­ing and be­ing ac­tive in the pass­ing lanes and tak­ing ev­ery chance we can get to get the ball back up the court,” se­nior Jaylen Paschel said. “We run that ev­ery day in prac­tice. We al­ways press each other hard.”

Putting in the hard min­utes be­hind the scenes, de­spite be­ing only two games into the sea­son, the Clip­pers are run­ning its of­fense at mid­sea­son form. Cred­it­ing the hard work dur­ing the week as a sign of ma­tu­rity, it all comes down to the ex­tra guys com­ple­ment­ing the starters’ ex­e­cu­tion on game day.

“We work on it ev­ery day and we’re blessed with depth, I mean we re­ally are. They play the same way whether we go to the bench or not. They push the ball, they de­fend hard, they get good bad pres­sure,” Sza­lay said. “We’ve got to use that depth and wear teams down.”

In the end, Sza­lay’s bench put in the hard min­utes late in the game as Lutheran West never quit and kept push­ing to break back in. But it was that same bench that helped in the first half that fin­ished strong to en­sure Clearview re­mained un­beaten as ju­nior CJ Flem­ing walked away with a team-high 12 points com­ing off the bench.

“The first game, I prob­a­bly didn’t use that bench enough and we were gassed at the end and Amherst had a great fourth-quar­ter run against us,” Sza­lay said. “If we have it, we’ve got to use it and those kids, they played well and who­ever is play­ing well is go­ing to stay out there un­til we make an­other change. It’s good to get this one un­der our belt. We’re try­ing to get bet­ter each game, and I thought we got bet­ter to­day than we were last Fri­day.”

RANDY MEY­ERS — FOR THE MORN­ING JOUR­NAL

Jaylen Paschel of Clearview brings the ball up court against pres­sure ap­plied by Austin Kim of Lutheran West dur­ing the first quar­ter Dec. 7.

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