By Ben Murphy
Farwell hung around for awhile in Friday night’s Jack Pine Conference boys basketball game at Clare, but a 19-3 run by the Pioneers that took up the final minute of the second quarter and first four minutes of the third helped Clare pull away for a 77-58 win.
“We played a nice game when we got the ball into the half court,” Clare head coach Rob Wise said. “Hunter Ruby was just awesome, he has really come on lately and that’s what we need out of our seniors this time of year.”
Clare held an early lead through the early portion of the contest, taking a 12-6 lead on a put-back basket by Ruby.
Trevor McComber hit a three-pointer to put Farwell behind 12-9, though Clare finished the quarter with a Ruby lay-in to take a 23-15 lead at the end of one.
Walter Mosby hit a three-pointer early in the second and added a short jumper to keep the Eagles in the game, trailing 35-26 but Clare caught fire from the field, ending the half on a 9-3 run to lead 44-29 at the half.
The Pioneers scored the first 10 points of the second half, taking a 54-29 lead behind a put-back basket by Spencer Harrell, a Ruby put-back basket, a hoop by Colton Punches and four more points by Ruby.
“We made a few adjustments at halftime and did a better job containing Walter Mosby,” Wise said. “Conner Clickner was better in the second half seeing the floor and not getting into a position of being trapped.”
Jacob Sutton hit a three-pointer for Farwell to end the run to make it 54-32, but the damage was done as Clare continued to control the contest, leading 60-39 entering the fourth.
“We picked a bad time to have our worst defensive game of the season,” Farwell head coach Erik Schunk said. “They were hustling their butts off but they were not mentally executing the right things.”
Ruby and Harrell scored four points apiece in the fourth to help secure the win while Farwell’s Curtis Robinson hit a three-pointer and scored seven in the frame.
Ruby led the Pioneers with with 25 points and 15 rebounds, Harrell had 12 points and 12 boards, Clickner had 11 points and Punches had nine points and six assists.
The Eagles were led by Mosby with 15 points, four assists and three steals, Robinson had 12 points and three rebounds, Sutton had nine points and four boards, McComber had eight points and two steals.
Clare (10-9 overall, 7-6 JPC) hosted Houghton Lake on Thursday to finish the regular season and begins defending its district championship on Monday against Chippewa Hills (10-9) at the Big Rapids district.
“As far as the post-season we will have to take care of the ball to be successful,” Wise said. “All of the teams we play in the district will press and change defenses. We have to be mentally prepared to handle several different kinds of pressure. It is an area that we have improved on throughout the season.”
In other action, Farwell topped visiting non-league foe Montabella on Tuesday, earning a 50-40 win.
Farwell led just 8-6 after the first quarter, getting two-point field-goals by Mosby, Trent Marhofer, Sutton and Robinson.
Sutton and Austin Hickey both knocked down three-pointers in the second as Farwell caught fire for 19 points, giving the Eagles a 27-16 halftime lead.
Mosby scored six points in the third and Dylan Brown hit a three-pointer to help Farwell preserve a 40-30 lead entering the fourth, where both teams scored 10 points.
The Eagles were led by Mosby with 11 points, five steals and four rebounds, Marhofer had nine points and 11 boards, Sutton had eight points and Brown had seven points and two assists.
Farwell (4-15 overall, 2-11 JPC) finished the regular season at home on Thursday against Gladwin. They begin district play on Wednesday, playing district host Big Rapids (19-1).