Clear Creek holds off Clear Lake for 64-59 victory
A nail-biting win over Alvin on Tuesday wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for the Clear Creek boys’ basketball team being able to topple Clear Lake Friday afternoon at Carlisle Fieldouse.
But when the two longtime rivals met in a rather subdued atmosphere on Buddy Carlisle court, anything was possible.
When the Wildcats’ Calen Anderson buried a 3-pointer just prior to the third quarter buzzer and teammate Logan Farlow swished in another long-range trey to start the final period, those consecutive baskets provided a lead Creek wouldn’t relinquish in an eventual 64-59 victory.
The outcome kept Creek (13-4, 2-0) tied atop the District 24-6A standings while the Falcons (15-3) fell in their opening league encounter.
“It’s hard to figure out the psyche of a team,” Creek head coach Wes Bryan said. “I thought we were really ready for Alvin - we had a great practice the day before.
“Yesterday’s practice…(thumbs down gesture). It’s always weird playing these games at the end of the semester. You never know where kids’ heads are.”
Creek, however, was plenty resilient, limiting Clear Lake to just 26 second-half points after claiming a 37-33 halftime lead.
The Wildcats built as much as a seven-point lead on two occasions in the final quarter, but Lake fought back and had a chance to tie late in the contest.
A 3-point play by Anderson allowed the Wildcats to open a 56-49 lead with 4:08 left, and when Maurice Pinnock scored for Creek with 3:34 showing, the bulge was at 58-51.
However, Clear Lake’s JaJa Sanni nailed a jumper and guard Casey Davis recorded a 3-point play to pull the Falcons within 58-55 at the 3:02 mark.
Creek distanced itself slightly when freshman Seth Jones made two free throws with 1:59 left for a 60-55 cushion. However, Lake put itself right back in the game when Davis scored two straight baskets for 60-59 score with one minute showing.
The Wildcats earned some more wiggle room when senior post Hunter Smith swished two free throws with 23 seconds left for a 62-59 lead.
On Lake’s next possession, Sanni sped into the forecourt but couldn’t find an open teammate and threw up an off-balance shot which Creek rebounded.
The Falcons’ then fouled Pinnock with five seconds remaining, and the sophomore guard made both attempts for a 64-59 score, securing the victory.
“We had some really good open looks and didn’t hit them tonight,” Lake head coach Tommy Penders said. “We missed a few free throws, too, from guys that don’t normally miss.
“I thought Creek did a good job of making open shots. They’re 13-4 and we’re 15-3 - that’s the way it goes. It was a weird game. Normally, this game is played at 7 (p.m.) and it’s a crazy atmosphere. We got into it, for sure, but Creek was just better.”
Lake held only one lead in the first half at 2-0.
Creek then scored the next nine points with Smith collecting four of those inside. Lake, though, would go on an 11-4 run to tie the game at 13 on two Jake Mather free throws.
The teams were tied at 15 after one period before Creek erupted for 22 second-quarter points. The Wildcats built as much as an 11-point lead (37-26) on a basket by Anderson.
The Falcons, though, responded with a 7-0 run to close the half to trim the lead to 37-33.
Lake finally took its first lead since the game’s opening free throws when 6-8 post John Argue scored inside for a 45-43 lead. Another basket by the senior center kept Lake ahead 47-44 with 2:29 left in the third quarter before Creek answered with five straight points to assume its 49-47 edge entering the final period.
“We scored 37 in the first half which is not a very Creek-like effort this year, offensively,” Bryan said. “We shot the ball very well, but I thought the biggest thing was our defense. We were getting in the gaps.
“We couldn’t really match up with Argue’s size, but we did what we could, and we scrapped out a win.”