Clear Fork battles back to thwart Galion upset bid
GALION — In Las Vegas, betters would have called the Clear Fork-Galion game on Thursday night the ultimate trap game.
Fortunately for Clear Fork, the Colts escaped the snares, erased a double-digit deficit and escaped with a 61-54 win to remain perfect in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.
Why a trap game?
Start with the fact it was Clear Fork’s seventh game in the last two-plus weeks. Throw in the fact the Colts were coming off an Overtime win on Saturday and a 10-point win on Tuesday. Add in a huge MOAC game coming up at Ontario on Saturday. Lastly, the Colts beat the Tigers (6-11, 3-8) by 20 points in December.
Yep. Trap game for the Colts (14-3, 10-0 in the league).
So how did the colt-shooting Colts find a way to win after finding themselves down 36-23 midway through the third quarter?
“We talk all the time about taking this season one game at a time,” Clear Fork coach Steve Bechtel said. “We got a few guys sick … a few guys banged up.
“Galion came out with a great game plan and they gave us all we wanted tonight,” Bechtel said.
BARNETT BATTLES BACK: Senior 6-3 forward Chance Barnett, who passed the career 1,000-point mark last week, had the answer for the Colts.
Barnett scored 16 of his team-high 21 points in the second half, including nine in the third quarter as the Colts went on an 15-4 run to wipe away Galion’s 13-point lead. The Colts trailed just 40-38 going into the fourth quarter.
“We had a lot of guys stepping up tonight at both ends of the court tonight,” Bechtel said. “Our bench was huge tonight (13 points) and we really picked up the intensity, especially at the defensive end.”
A basket by freshman Brady Tedrow with 6:38 left in the fourth put Clear Fork up 42-40, its first lead since 3-2 two minutes into the game.
Four Colts combined to sink 15 of 18 foul shots in the final period to ease away to the final margin of victory.
“(Free throws) were huge down the stretch for us,” Bechtel said. “Those are going to be even more important in the bigger games we play down the road.”
FINDING WAYS TO WIN: In the OT win against Wooster Triway on Saturday, the Colts saw a huge lead evaporate and had to battle back. Against the Tigers, it was just the opposite.
Clear Fork is finding different ways to win.
See more photos from the game in an online gallery on thebellvillestar.com
“That’s the sign of a great team,” Bechtel said, “and great leadership by our seniors. I would rather play with a big lead at the end of a game, but it doesn’t always work that way. We really had to dig deep tonight.”
Tedrow and Jared Schaefer each backed Barnett with 11 points. Brennon South added nine.
Galion’s Isiah Alsip led all scorers with 22 points, the only Tiger in double figures. Zhamir Anderson added nine.
Clear Fork shot just 29 percent from the field (14-48) for the game, but hit 52 percent in the second half (11 of 21). The Colts finished at 79 percent from the line (23-29). Galion hit on 38 percent of its FG attempts (21-56) and 71 percent at the line (10-14).
The Tigers had a 39-28 rebounding edge, but committed seven more turnovers than the Colts (17-10).
UP NEXT: Clear Fork, the only unbeaten team in the MOAC, travels to Ontario (9-5, 8-2) on Saturday night for a league game. Galion hosts North Union on Saturday in another MOAC game.