Lake pulls away from Falls for 70-48 win
At the very least, a pesky Clear Falls boys’ basketball team is troublesome.
When the Knights are red-hot against a superior opponent, they’re an upset waiting to happen.
Fortunately for Clear Lake Friday night, the Falcons didn’t catch the Knights in top form.
Head coach Tommy Penders’ team used a pair of third-quarter spurts to build on a 31-24 halftime lead and pulled away to a 70-48 victory in a District 24-6A matchup at Krueger Fieldhouse.
“Clear Falls is good - just look at their results of who they’ve beaten and who they’ve hung with,” Penders said. “They didn’t have (guard Dorian) Mason for upwards of about three weeks, and you can see how much better they are with him in the lineup.
“I thought we did a really good job, defensively, and I thought we did a good job of attacking the basket.”
Falls (12-13, 1-2) held only one lead in the game - 7-6 in the first quarter - but was within striking distance of the Falcons for 2 ½ quarters.
When Mason hit a jumper at the outset of the second half to pull the Knights within 31-26, the outcome was certainly still in doubt.
From there, though, Clear Lake (18-5, 1-1) went on a 14-4 run, which included steals from senior forward Jake Mather and junior guard Caleb Wright that led to baskets. Senior guard Casey Davis also sank two free throws and capped the flurry with a long-range three as the Falcons opened a 45-30 cushion.
Clear Falls, though, cut into the deficit quickly with a pair of 3-pointers from 6-5 senior Jacob Dortch to pull the Knights within 45-36.
However, that would be the final time Lake would own a single-digit lead.
Davis immediately answered with a 3-point bomb, and sophomore guard Lawrence Brown made two free throws for a 50-36 score. Lake junior guard Jaja Sanni added two more free throws for a 52-36 bulge 49 seconds before the end of the third quarter.
In the closing eight minutes, the Knights could get no closer than 54-42 on a basket by Mason with 6:02 left.
Lake then left no doubt about the verdict with a 12-2 run which opened a 66-44 advantage with two minutes showing.
“We had a good week to get healthier and get some rest,” Penders said. “We recovered well, and I thought we played a mature game at the point guard position.
“Sanni makes a lot of mistakes with the ball, but it’s because he wants to be so good. He’s coachable, and he doesn’t have a fear of failure. When he penetrates well like he did tonight, he makes Casey a much better player, among others on the team.”