Down 15, Clare battles back to win opener

November 29, 2018

by Ben Murphy
Sports Writer

While they weren’t able to claim either, the Clare boys basketball team was right in the thick of things when it came to contending for Jack Pine Conference and district titles. The Pioneers, who were 17-3 overall and 11-3 in the JPC, expect to be contenders once again this go-around.

“We are long and fast with a number of scoring threats,” head coach Matt Alexander said. “We have to get them to buy into playing hard on both ends of the floor. Our focus so far has been on defense, we have the ability to really cause teams issues when we play defense the way that we are capable of.”

Returning from last year’s team are seniors Brenden Sersaw (guard), Nick Roe (guard), Jake Hawley (forward) and Kaden Kelly (forward, center, 13 points per game, nine rebounds).

“We have four seniors that are all great leaders,” Alexander said. “Finding that leader shouldn’t be an issue for this team.”

Who is gonna get it? Clare and Beal City players scramble for ball.

Who is gonna get it? Clare and Beal City players scramble for ball.

New to the team are juniors Mason Clark (guard), Shane Jenkins (guard, forward), Josh Gould (forward), Avery McJames (forward), Todd Lake (guard), Matt Thompson (center), Dylan Schalm (center), Drew Schuster (guard) and freshman Jacob Recker (forward).

“The guys set goals to win the JPC, districts and a regional championship,” Alexander said. “In order for us to be successful we need this group to come together and play as a team. If we play together, we have the potential to be pretty good.”

Clare opened its season on Tuesday with an exciting, come-from-behind 58-56 non-league win at Beal City.

“Our guys showed a lot of grit, Alexander said. “We were down 15 points with six minutes to go and battled back to win. I really like the fight I see out of these guys. We still have work to do but we are definitely heading in the right direction.”

Clare ballhandler tries to drive by Aggie defender.

Clare ballhandler tries to drive by Aggie defender.

The Aggies led 11-8 after the first, 31-24 at the half and 45-37 entering the fourth.

Sersaw led the team with 21 points, Kelly netted 16, Schalm poured in 12 and Schuster put in seven.

Clare (1-0 overall) heads to Roscommon tonight (Friday) in its JPC opener, is in Ogemaw Heights on Monday and hosts Houghton Lake on Thursday.

“I think that Meridian (defending JPC champ) will be very good this year and should be the team that we are all chasing,” Alexander said. “You can never count out Beaverton. I believe that if we play to our potential we should be battle for a chance to win the JPC.”

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