Clare’s early season dominance in the girls basketball Jack Pine Conference race continued Tuesday night, cruising to a 59-19 win over visiting Harrison.
“We got off to a real nice start,” Clare head coach Matt Rodenbo said. “We need to keep on working to get better. I was not pleased with the way we shot free throws.”
The Pioneers only shot nine-of-19 from the line, but that seemed to matter little on a night that started with Corinne Wezensky batting the opening-tip to Melissa Benchley who drove for a fast-break layup just four seconds into the game.
Clare’s heavy defensive pressure struck Harrison quickly as well, getting a Courtney English steal and fast-break basket to make it 4-0 just seconds in.
English followed that up by hitting the first-of-two free-throws, and though her second was off the mark, Wezensky put-back the miss for a 7-0 lead.
Clare extended its lead to 16-0 and added to it on an English three-pointer, after getting a crisp pass from Lindsay Winter.
Winter closed the quarter with back-to-back three-pointers to give Clare a 31-0 lead after the first.
The Lady Hornets opened the scoring in the second quarter, getting two free-throws by Katelynn Sherrick to fall through.
Harrison also scored on two free-throws by Brooke Colville to make the score 36-4 and added their first field-goal on a Hillary Brewer put-back to make it 40-6.
Clare closed the half with a Winter three-pointer and a fast-break hoop by Alex Stark to lead 47-6 at the half. Stark was the recipient of an Amanda Yats pass, after Yats swiped the ball from a Harrison player.
The Hornets actually outscored Clare 9-8 in the third quarter, with both teams scoring four points in the fourth as they played through a running-clock to the 59-19 final.
Winter finished with 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists to lead Clare in the win, English added 15 points, Stark tallied nine, Benchley had five points, seven steals and six rebounds and Wezensky added four points and six boards.
Brewer and Sherrick led Harrion with six points apiece.
On Thursday, Dec. 6 the Clare girls topped host Beaverton 62-42 in another JPC contest.
Clare took a quick 22-3 lead after the first and led 36-14 at the half behind 18 first half points by Winter. The Pioneers outscored the Lady Beavers 17-11 in the third before Beaverton finished with a 17-9 edge in the fourth.
Winter knocked down five three-pointers to finish with 30 points, English had 14, hitting three three-pointers, Ashley Petree scored seven with Stark and Yats both netting four.
Clare (3-1 overall, 3-0 JPC) played at Meridian on Thursday and hosts Montebella on Tuesday.
Harrison topped Roscommon 41-36 on Dec. 6, giving the Lady Hornets their first win of the season and in league play.
Harrison trailed 8-4 after the first, 22-18 at the half and 32-23 after the third, but rallied with an 18 point fourth quarter to pull off the win.
Brandi Powell scored eight of her nine points in the final quarter to help lead the comeback. Erica Heckman put in nine points as well, adding 10 rebounds and four assists, Brewer had eight points and 10 rebounds, Olivia Sharp had seven points, Sherrick had four, Allison Lipovsky had three points and seven rebounds and Colville had one point.
Harrison (1-3 overall, 1-2 JPC), played at Farwell on Thursday, plays at Evart on Monday, before returning home Wednesday to host Marion.