SHEFFIELD TWP. — Tuesday’s much-anticipated crossover matchup between Clearview and Keystone, the top teams in the Patriot Athletic Conference, looked at times like anything but a game between teams with title aspirations.
The Clippers came in looking for redemption after suffering their first loss of the season Friday at Fairview, while the Wildcats went home searching for answers after their second consecutive lackluster loss on the road.
In between, Jalyen Paschel and Jamir Billings each scored 12 points and Clearview survived a third quarter in which it turned the ball over 10 times to pick up a 64-49 win.
The Clippers (7-1, 6-1 PAC) came out strong in the first half with junior guard Chase Christensen connecting on three 3-pointers and Billings, a sophomore guard, scoring nine points in the second quarter to take a 38-21 halftime lead.
“This is a big win after what happened Friday night,” Paschel said of the Clippers’ 20-point loss at Fairview. “We needed to bounce back. I wanted to make sure we didn’t feel what we felt last week after that game at Fairview. That was my main focus.”
After spending most of the third quarter on the bench after picking up his third foul just seconds into the period, Paschel redeemed himself by scoring the Clippers’ first six points of the fourth quarter.
Clearview had to hold on after Keystone cut the lead to 50-46 with 4:31 left to play.
“When the games get close we always get an extra push from our fans,” Paschel said. “We have great fans, a great student second and great support from our parents. It means a lot to everyone and really keeps us pumped up.”
After being outscored 25-12 in the first 12 minutes of the second half, Clearview ended the game on a 14-3 run.
Keystone (7-5, 6-1) found itself trailing by 20 points midway through the second quarter. The fact they were able to make a second-half run and outscore the Clippers by 10 points in the third quarter was little consolation to coach Jeff Holzhauer.
“Our kids didn’t want to play,” he said. “We didn’t do anything with any confidence. I don’t know what our kids were scared of. We had zero flow offensively and I don’t even know why.”
Bryan Sayers scored nine of his team-high 11 points in the second half for Keystone, which has lost three of its last four games.
“We wanted to speed up the tempo of the game (in the second half),” Holzhauer said. “We weren’t scoring enough and any teams that pressure us, we have to find a way to make them pay. We weren’t attempting to make them pay. We weren’t attacking the backside of their pressure at all. … I have no idea why we didn’t feel like playing basketball tonight but it was missed assignment after missed assignment.”
Both teams are tied for first in their respective halves of the division with Clearview sharing the Stripes lead with Fairview and Keystone sharing the Stars lead with Buckeye.
Joe Norris was also in double figures for the Clippers with 11 points. Standout Clippers guard Javon Todd was held to six points. He left the game and returned to the locker room late in the fourth quarter with a cut in his mouth after colliding with a Keystone player on a drive to the basket.
In hindsight, Clearview coach John Szalay thinks Friday’s loss could have been just what was needed to keep his team focused on achieving its goals this season.
“Sometimes a loss is a blessing in disguise,” he said. “Sometimes it wakes you up and you start paying attention to little things that maybe you lost track of.
“When I went back and watched the film of Fairview, we really played a bad game. Tonight was different. Everyone contributed and our seniors stepped up. We came out strong, then we got a little sloppy there in there third quarter but we finished strong. We got a couple of steals, turned them into layups. Our defense really stepped up. Jamir (Billings) was just a demon on defense. He just creates so much for us on the defensive end.”
Clearview 64, Keystone 49
KEYSTONE (49): Kollin Rodick 2-0-5, Ethan Sokolowski 3-1-7, Kevin Mealwitz 2-0-5, Matt Mealwitz 2-0-4, Mason Strader 4-0-8, Bryan Sayers 5-1-11, Sean Saterlee 2-2-7, Jacob Shackelford 1-0-2. Totals 21-4-49.
CLEARVIEW (64): Jaylen Paschel 6-0-12, Josiah Hitchens 2-0-4, Chase Christensen 3-0-9, Joe Norris 5-0-11, C.J. Fleming 1-0-2, Javon Todd 2-0-6, Dre Taylor 1-0-2, Jamir Billings 3-5-12, Jordan Reed 3-0-6. Totals 26-5-64.
Keystone 6 15 20 8 — 49
Clearview 15 23 10 16 — 64
Three-point goals: Keystone (K. Mealwtz, Saterlee, Rodick), Clearview (Christensen 3, Todd 2, Norris, Billings). Field goals: Keystone 21-54 (39 percent), Clearview 26-48 (54 percent). Free throws: Keystone 4-7 (57 percent), Clearview 5-14 (36 percent). Rebounds: Keystone 40, Clearview 28. Turnovers: Keystone 24, Clearview 17. Total fouls: Keystone 17, Clearview 15.
Junior varsity: Keystone, 64-46