Clare handed visiting Roscommon a 70-46 loss Tuesday night, handing the Pioneers their sixth Jack Pine Conference boys basketball victory of the season.
“It was a great overall team game,” Clare head coach Rob Wise said. “We had some great defensive pressure and we did a nice job getting the ball into our big men. It was nice to see the kids bounce back after a tough loss the night before and also coming back after losing to Roscommon at their place.”
Clare led from the start, leading 17-11 after the first and pulled ahead 35-23 at the half. The Pioneers continued to pull away in the second half, outscoring the Bucks 14-3 in the third and 21-14 in the fourth.
Scott Smith led Clare with 16 points, Hunter Ruby had 12 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and four blocks and Colton Punches had 12 points.
On Monday, Clare dropped a non-league road game at McBain, 74-60.
The Ramblers led 21-11 after the first and 44-23 at the half. Clare outscored McBain 18-14 in the third to close within 58-41 entering the fourth, where the Pioneers again outscored the Ramblers, this time 19-16.
“The take away from this game is we played hard,” Wise said. “We made some mental mistakes in the first half but we competed. Earlier in the year when down by that much we would have stopped playing hard. This team is growing up and it showed by having our three sophomores lead us in scoring.”
Smith led Clare with 16 points, Mason Packard added 11 and Connor Clickner netted 10.
On Friday, Feb. 15 the Pioneers topped host Gladwin in JPC play, 52-49 behind a last second three-pointer by Punches to win the game.
Gladwin jumped out to a 19-5 lead after the first quarter but Clare chipped into the lead slightly in the second to make it 30-17 at the break. The Pioneers crawled closer with a 16-13 edge in the third to make it 43-33 entering the fourth, where Clare finished off the comeback with a 16 point edge.
“We were lazy closing out in the first half and they made some uncontested three,” Wise said. “In the second half we woke up and contested shots and rebounded their misses. Our defense was really good and we slowly chipped away at the lead. Great road win for our young team.”
Smith led Clare with 17 points and Hunter Ruby had 14 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.
Clare (9-9 overall, 6-6 JPC) hosts Farwell tonight (Friday) and hosts Houghton Lake on Thursday.