BELLVILLE — Clear Fork coach Chuck Schmitt brought out his team’s water bottles before the Colts played North Union on Thursday night.
It might have taken a fire hose to cool down the hot-shooting Cats at the Colt Corral.
North Union shot 57 percent from the floor, paced by senior guard Taylor Day. The Cats jumped out to a big lead early and cruised to a 67-29 win over Clear Fork in a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference game.
The win improved North Union to 8-4 overall and 4-3 in the league. Clear Fork fell to 4-6 overall and 1-4 in the MOAC.
Recent winter weather has not helped the Colts, who have not played since Dec. 30 against unbeaten Loudonville.
An unfamiliar opponent in Clear Fork’s first year in the MOAC didn’t help either on Thursday. Varsity coach Chuck Schmitt was not available after the game, but JV coach Ryan Vermillion admitted the Colts didn’t know much about North Union.
“We really didn’t have a whole lot on them,” Vermillion said. “It’s the first year we played them and next year they will be out of the league. We knew a little bit, but not a whole lot.”
Clear Fork certainly learned a lot about the smooth-shooting 5-9 Taylor, who poured in 20 points before sitting out the fourth quarter. Taylor’s total included four triples.
The Cats went on a 14-2 run in the final 6:08 of the first quarter to turn a 4-3 lead into an 18-5 edge after one quarter. Trailing 20-9 in the second, Clear Fork watched North Union go on an 11-0 run to build a 31-9 edge with 2:30 left before halftime.
The Cats outscored the Colts 18-4 in the third period to take a 51-17 lead after three quarters.
Taylor was just one of three North Union players in double figures. Freshman forward Journey Blevins added 17 and senior center Avery Clak added 15.
The Colts had no players in double figures. Junior Reagan Marshall had seven points, all of which came in the first half. Senior Tabi Hamilton added six and junior Alli Studenmund had five.
“Defensively, (Marshall) came out and played well. Tonight, she was shooting and they were falling for her,” Vermillion said.
North Union connected on 27 of 48 field goal attempts and added eight of nine at the line. Clear Fork shot 31 percent from the floor (12-39) and hit both its free throw attempts. North Union had a huge 32-18 rebounding edge and seven fewer turnovers, 14-21.
Clear Fork, which won its first two games, has now dropped eight of its last 10. Vermillion said the solution is clear.
“We just need to shoot the ball better and make plays,” he said. “Turnovers are like our Achilles’ heel.”
Weather permitting, Clear Fork is scheduled to play Saturday at Buckeye Valley in another MOAC game.
Carl Hunnell | Aim Media
Clear Fork senior Erika Robinson tries to stop North Union sophomore Kori Marvin.
Carl Hunnell | Aim Media
Clear Fork senior Macy Wade dribbles up court against North Union sophomore Madison Amstutz.