Pioneers scorch Gladwin, fall short to Beaverton

January 11, 2018

Clare’s Brenden Sersaw knocks down a short jumper during last week’s road win in Gladwin.  Photos by Ben Murphy

Clare’s Brenden Sersaw knocks down a short jumper during last week’s road win in Gladwin. 
Photos by Ben Murphy

by Ben Murphy
Sports Writer

The Clare boys basketball team didn’t take too long to shake off some post-holiday rust. The Pioneers, playing at Jack Pine Conference foe Gladwin on Thursday, Jan. 4, overcame an uneven opening act and eventually pulled away for a comfortable 67-40 victory.

“We got off to a slow start coming off break,” head coach Matt Alexander said. “The second quarter, we got things rolling and built a 17 point lead going into halftime. It was a good game to get us going after the long break.”

In the first quarter, Brenden Sersaw hit an early three and Tyler Smith netted six points, though the Pioneers built just a 13-11 lead after one quarter.

The Pioneer offense exploded for 27 points in the second quarter, led by seven points by Tanner Punches, five by Tucker Roe and a Tyler Rodenbo three. This all helped to stake Clare to a comfortable 40-23 halftime lead.

Kaden Kelly soars up for two.

Kaden Kelly soars up for two.

Smith netted six of Clare’s 13 third quarter points as it led 53-35 entering the fourth quarter, where Justin Bidwell netted six points to help it finish off the win.
Pacing the Pioneers was Smith with 17 points and four rebounds, Roe had 10 points, four steals and two assists, Punches added nine points, five assists and three steals, Sersaw had nine points and four assists, Rodenbo finished with seven points and three assists, Bidwell finished with six points and Kaden Kelly had four points, hauled in 11 boards and swatted eight blocks.

On Tuesday, Clare lost a key road JPC game at Beaverton, 42-39. The loss drops the Pioneers to a third place tie in the league along with Harrison and Beaverton.
Clare used an early three by Roe and four points in the paint by Smith to take a 9-7 lead after the first quarter, but could only net four points in the second, resulting in a 22-13 halftime hole.

In the third quarter, Smith continued his strong interior game with six more points, Kelly had five points and Rodenbo buried a three, but the Pioneers still trailed 35-27 entering the fourth.

Six more points in the final quarter by Smith make a late run at the lead, but Clare couldn’t crawl all the way back.

Tyler Rodenbo pushes the tempo in transition. 

Tyler Rodenbo pushes the tempo in transition.

“We got off to a good start but gave up a couple buckets late in the first quarter,” Alexander said. “The second quarter was our downfall, we did not play very good defense in that quarter and just couldn’t find a rhythm on offense. We were able to turn things back round in the third [quarter] and start to close the gap. Our fourth quarter continued the same and we got it to one point with 30 seconds left, but gave up an offensive rebound on a Beaverton missed free throw and fouled them on the put-back and they hit both free throws, giving them a three point lead with 16 seconds left.”

Smith led the charge with 20 points and 10 rebounds, Kelly added nine points and 12 boards, Roe had five points, Rodenbo had three points and six assists and Jeff Allen added two points.

“We will get back to work and look to improve and be ready for the next game,” Alexander said.

Clare (4-2 overall, 3-2 JPC) hosted Farwell on Thursday, hosts Pine River on Tuesday and hosts Houghton Lake next Friday.

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