Visiting Beaverton proved they were worth the early season hype Friday night, dethroning the defending Jack Pine Conference champion Clare Pioneers 62-37.
“They are the favorites to win the league,” Clare boys basketball head coach Rob Wise said. “A combination of foul trouble and inability to handle their pressure defense was our downfall. Our inexperience really showed through.”
The Beavers, used their strong defensive pressure to cause 32 turnovers, taking control of the game early on, playing to a 17-6 lead after the first quarter. Beaverton extended its lead to 29-12 at the half, before outscoring Clare 12-4 in the third and 21-17 in the fourth.
“It was one of those games that I knew was going to happen because we are so young,” Wise said. “The nice thing is the guys are not happy with their performance and want to get better.”
Zach Pulcifer hit four three-pointers to lead Clare with 16 points, Colton Punches added 12 and Mason Packard put in six.
On Wednesday, Dec. 5 the Pioneers opened their season with a non-league game at Breckenridge, topping the Huskies 60-53.
“It was a good first game for us,” Wise said. “We came out pretty quick in the game. We made eight three-pointers as a team. Our communication was great which was one thing I was worried about with such a young team. I was also pleased with how well we ran the floor.”
Clare took leads of 16-12 after the first, 36-25 at the half and 53-40 after the third. The Pioneers extended their lead to 18 points early in the fourth quarter before a late Breckenridge rally cut it to single digits.
Hunter Ruby led Care with 21 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, Pulcifer hit four threes to finish with 16 points, Packard had 10 points and 11 rebounds, Spencer Harrell added five points and eight rebounds and Conner Clickner had three points and seven assists.
Clare (1-1 overall, 0-1 JPC), hosted Harrison on Wednesday, hosts Meridian tonight (Friday) and hosts non-league Pinconning on Monday.