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