Clare boys win two, now 3-2

 

Clare used a big second quarter to top visiting Pinconning Monday night, earning a 48-34 non-conference boys basketball win.

The Pioneers held an 11-7 lead after the first quarter but erupted for 20 second quarter points to lead 31-11 at the half.

The Spartans had an 11-9 edge in the third and a 12-8 edge in the fourth to account for the final.

Clare was led by Spencer Harrell with 17 points and 10 rebounds in the win.

“Spencer played with a lot of energy,” Clare head coach Rob Wise said. “He really sparked us when we were playing a little lazy. Our mental focus wasn’t there. We shot seven-for-19 from the free-throw line and that has been a strength of ours so far.”

Scott Smith scored seven points, with Mason Packard and Colton Punches both scoring six. Hunter Ruby added two points and eight rebounds.

On Friday, the Pioneers played host to Meridian in a Jack Pine Conference game, falling 61-44.

Meridian opened the game on an 18-4 run before Clare closed the gap to 20-13 at the end of the first. The Pioneers whittled the Mustang lead down to 26-25 late in the half, but Meridian ended the frame on a 12-2 run to earn a 38-27 lead at the break.

Meridian continued to maintain its lead in the second half, outscoring Clare 14-9 in the third and 9-8 in the fourth.

“We played well at times, the problem was they had two big runs that we couldn’t recover from,” Wise said. “We need to learn how to finish off quarters.”

Zach Pulcifer led Clare with 13 points and Punches added 11.

On Wednesday, Dec. 12 Clare topped visiting Harrison 74-29 in a JPC contest.

The Pioneers controlled the contest from the start, leading 17-4 after the first and 30-13 at the half.

“Our full court pressure gave them problems and they had a difficult time starting their offense,” Wise said. “We moved the ball really well on offense and knocked down 12 threes.”

Clare outscored the Hornets 18-12 in the third and 26-4 in the fourth to finish off the win.

Pulcifer led Clare with 20 points, hitting five three-point baskets. Smith scored, in his varsity debut netted 11 points, Zack Tyler netted 10 and Harrell scored nine.

Cody Cooper led Harrison with seven points with Brooks Leonard and Tod Stier both scoring six.

Clare (3-2 overall, 1-2 JPC) returns to action with a league game Jan. 4 at Roscommon.

“We have progressed well every day,” Wise said. “This young team is growing more and more confident the more court time we see. I am especially happy with the development of the sophomores. They all played on the freshmen level last year and that’s a difficult transition. We lack some consistency, but that will only come as we play more.”