By Ben Murphy
It went about as expected but nonetheless Clare girls’ head coach Matt Rodenbo was happy with how his Lady Pioneers played in their 79-41 win over visiting Houghton Lake Thursday night.
“I thought we moved the ball well and got a lot of looks at the basket,” he said of the Jack Pine Conference win. “Our rebounding was better and we got to more loose balls in the second half.”
Clare wasted little time taking control of the game, taking an early 9-1 lead after back-to-back lay-ups by Corrine Wezensky.
Houghton Lake’s Callee Akin scored on a fast-break to make it 9-3 but Wezensky and Lindsay Winter combined to score the rest of the Pioneers’ in the quarter as Clare took a 24-6 lead after the first.
Winer hit a mid-range pull-up jumper to kick stark the second quarter, Lexi Harton hit a deep two, Amanda Yats scored a basket off a Winter assist and Kodi Humphrey scored a put-back basket to make it 32-6.
H-L’s Hailee Akin hit a pair of free-throws to stop the bleeding momentarily but Yats hit another jumper the other way and Clare rolled from there and took a 41-19 lead at the half by getting a Wezensky hoop on a Winter assist just before the break.
Winter picked up where she left off in the second half, scoring eight of the team’s first nine points of the third to lead 50-19. A basket by Wezensky pushed that lead to 52-19 until Sarah Garrett hit a three for the Lady Bobcats, but the Clare onslaught continued as they carried a 63-29 lead into the fourth.
Yats hit two free-throws to start the fourth quarter and Callee Akin hit two for Houghton Lake to make the score 65-31, though Harton buried a three later on that put Clare up 69-34.
Bridget Ripke hit a late three for the Bobcats but Clare closed the game on a hoop by Tara Pummel to bring the final to 79-41.
“Overall it was a good night,” Rodenbo said. “Our bench came in and played well tonight and that was nice to see. I’m very happy for those kids.”
Winter led Clare with 23 points, Wezensky had 18 and Harton had nine. Tara Pummell, Amanda Yats and Kenzie Humphrey all had six, Kodi Humphrey had five, Mackenzie Thayer had four and Morgan English added two.
Clare (11-1 overall, 9-0 JPC) had its’ contest on Monday in Evart postponed due to weather. The Pioneers returned to action on Thursday in Beaverton and host Harrison Feb. 4.