Clear Fork wins overtime thriller vs. Triway

Chance Barnett honored pregame for scoring 1,000 points for Colts

By Carl Hunnell

Bellville Star

BELLVILLE – Clear Fork’s Chance Barnett was honored before Saturday’s game against Wooster Triway for topping 1,000 points in his career.

Then the 6-3 senior turned in the defensive play of the game as the Colts (12-3) knocked off the Titans, 72-68 in overtime.

Leading 59-57 with less than a minute left in regulation, Triway had a fast-break chance with 6-5 senior Jordan Stokes roaring to the basket. Barnett raced down the court and leaped from behind, swatting the shot harmlessly out of bounds.

Triway (10-4) got a free throw with 44 seconds left by 6-5 senior Gabe Walker, taking a 60-57 lead. That set the stage for sophomore Brennan South to calmly nail an NBA-range triple at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

“I saw (Stokes) get the ball and he was way ahead of me,” said Barnett, who led the Colts with 24 points in the non-league win. “I knew I had to work to get down there. I ran as hard as I could. Coach (Steve Bechtel) had told me earlier, ‘You got 1,000 points … now get it done defensively.’ I was working as hard as I could.”

PERFECT OT: During the OT period, the Colts were perfect: two of two from the field and eight of eight from the line, including six clutch FTs by South, who finished with 21 points.

Barnett, who reached the 1,000-point mark on Friday night, was thrilled for his younger teammate.

“That (buzzer-beater three) was a huge shot,” he said. “Brennan is a great kid, a great teammate. I loved seeing him step up like that. He’s a hard worker. I was happy for him and it was great for the team.”

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For the first three quarters, an OT seemed a remote chance with Clear Fork leading 35-21 at halftime and 48-33 going into the fourth.

Then the game took as many twists and turns as the Black Fork.

Triway sophomore Bryce Briggs nailed five of his seven triples in the fourth quarter as the Titans roared back, taking a 54-53 lead with 4:31 left and extended it to 59-54 with 2:24 left.

South hit a triple with 1:31 left to cut the deficit to two and setting the stage for the last-moment fireworks.

Clear Fork coach Steve Bechtel, whose team sits atop the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference standings with a perfect 8-0 mark, said the game reminded him of past duels with the Titans.

“Just two teams duking it out and coming down to the last possession of regulation,” Bechtel said. “And then two teams leaving it all on the floor in overtime.”

Bechtel was also thrilled for Barnett, a four-year starter for his Colts. But Barnett’s defense is what made him smile most.

“His defense is what stood out. He was a little outmatched down there size-wise with (Stokes), but he did a great job defending him as best he could. We know what we’re going to get from Chance offensively, but the defense stood out to me,” Bechtel said.

“That (block) was a great hustle play, running back and showing senior leadership.”

1,000-POINT MAN: Barnett appreciated the pre-game honor and applause.

“I appreciate all the support from the Valley,” Barnett said. “They have been behind me the last four years, even through the ups and downs. It meant a lot for them to honor me like that. I have always tried to represent Bellville the best I could,” Barnett said.

“Then we come out and get a huge win … that was fun,” Barnett said.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Junior A.J. Blubaugh backed Barnett and South with nine points. Freshman Brady Tedrow added eight.

Walker led Triway with 24 points. Biggs had 21 and Stokes finished with 15.

The Colts shot 50 percent from the field (25-50) and hit 13 of 14 at the line. The Titans hit 47 percent from the floor (25-53) and nine of 17 at the line, though just two of seven in the fourth quarter and OT.

Triway had a commanding 42-13 rebounding edge, but committed 10 more turnovers than the Colts, 19-9.

UP NEXT: The Colts, who went 3-0 this week, play Marion Harding on Tuesday in a make-up game in the MOAC.

“We play Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday next week,” Bechtel said. “Get some rest tonight and Sunday.”

Triway hosts Orrville on Tuesday.