by Ben Murphy
Sitting in first place in the Jack Pine Conference, the Clare boys basketball team wasn’t about to have a letdown at Clare County rival Harrison on Thursday. Instead quite the opposite happened, as the Pioneers had a complete performance to take down the Hornets, 82-36.
“Another big win for us in Jack Pine Conference play,” Clare head coach Matt Alexander said. “Our pressure and size created a lot of issues for Harrison. We were able to really get them uncomfortable with our pressure and never really let them get into any flow offensively. Our post players in Jacob Recker and Miles Haggart were just too much for them to stop or keep off the glass.”
For the Hornets, it was certainly a frustrating night as they scored a season low in points in the loss.
“Clare played very well,” Harrison head coach Scott Hawley said. “They attacked us defensively, controlled the boards and made it difficult for us to move the ball. They are one of the most complete teams we have faced this year. We had a good effort from our guys, but we found ourselves in difficult matchups too many times.”
The Pioneers got going in the opening quarter as Haggart put in eight points and Recker netted six. Karson Tocco also hit a three pointer as the Pioneers made it 19-6 after one.
In the second, Recker hit a three and also had a pair of field-goals in the paint. Conner Kirby was able to score eight points in the frame, but Clare’s lead swelled to 33-19 at the half.
Eight different Clare players scored in the third, led by Haggart with six more points, with Harrison getting a four point quarter by Haydin Sims and Todd Kirchen hit a three, as the sides played to a 57-28 score entering the fourth.
Recker hit a three and netted seven total points in the final frame as Clare wrapped up the lopsided win.
Recker led all scorers with 24 points, Haggart finished with 16, Al Warner and Caden Dunn poured in eight points each, Connor Carmody, Tocco and Evan Lake netted six points apiece, Ritchie Montgomery, Clayton Phillips had three points and Dawson John chipped in with two points.
The Hornets had Kirby and Logan Ashcroft score eight points apiece, Chris Benoit, Kirchen and Sims scored six points each and Zahn Tuckey added two.
Harrison (3-4 overall, 2-3 JPC) played at Farwell on Thursday and is at McBain Northern Michigan Christian on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Clare hosted Beaverton in another JPC contest and was able to pick up a 63-41 victory.
“We got off to a slow start trailing 14-6 after the first,” Alexander said. “We really picked up the defensive pressure in the second and started knocking down some shots. We couldn’t buy a bucket to start the game but once we got going it was our best shooting night of the season so far, knocking down 11 three pointers. As Beaverton made adjustments to our outside shooting we are able to get Haggart touches inside. Another great team win.”
After trailing 14-6 after one, Clare had a pair of threes by Lane Ingraham and a three each by Dunn and Montgomery as the Pioneers were able to pull ahead 28-21 at the break.
Ingraham and Montgomery hit one three each in the third as it was 45-39 entering the fourth, where Ingraham ended his good night with two more threes.
Ingraham finished with five threes to score 18 points, Montgomery drilled four treys and scored 14 points, Haggart put in 12 points, Warner finished with seven, Recker was good for six, Dunn added five and Tocco scored one.
Clare (6-1 overall, 5-0 JPC) hosted Meridian on Thursday, hosts Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart on Tuesday.