SHEFFIELD TWP. — The difference-maker in a 70-55 Patriot Athletic Conference crossover win by Clearview over Buckeye came a full 16 game minutes before the final buzzer.
While many will remember a tremendous third quarter that ultimately put away the Bucks, a 28-foot bomb from Javon Todd at the horn of the second quarter was what the Clippers needed to knock off Buckeye on Tuesday.
Jordan Reed (13 points) tipped the ball to Todd (19 points, seven rebounds, five assists), and the four-year starter drilled it to make it 32-29 Bucks at the break.
“I knew they were on a run and we had to go inside the locker room with some momentum,” Todd said. “When I made that shot, I knew we were going to come out all into it and positive.
“I wanted to go into the third quarter on a good note, so I had to do something good for the team. It kept our heads up. Once I hit that shot everything started clicking and momentum started coming our way. When we came out, we started to get more steals. We got more energy.”
The energy was almost palpable as Clearview (13-4, 12-1) put together a 20-4 run over the second and third quarters.
When Michael Knoll (15 points, 12 rebounds), Cam Imes (17, eight) and the Bucks (14-3, 11-2) tied things at 41 with 2:45 left in the quarter, the Clippers responded with a 15-2 run.
“We just started out slow,” Reed said. “We always start out slow. That’s just the way it is. We always pick it up during the game. That third quarter hit and something clicked and we started making everything. Coach (John Szalay) told us that we were playing a good team, but that we were a good team and we needed to go out and play good basketball and focus on us.”
The third quarter was all Clippers as they shot a collective 12-for-16 from the floor and committed one turnover.
On the flip side, a Buckeye team that drained six 3-pointers in the first half went 5-for-20 and didn’t hit a single shot from behind the arc.
“That’s our best third quarter of the year,” Szalay said. “We’re usually flat in the third quarter, but we built on that momentum. We feed off our defense. Our defense made some steals and Javon Todd just carved up their 1-3-1 (zone). He did a great job. That’s all him.
“We’re a team that plays on emotion. We play defense. Our defense creates our offense.”
Todd matched Reed’s seven-point third quarter but added a chunk of assists and offensive boards to keep the Bucks at bay.
“He’s a four-year starter and I trust him totally,” Szalay said. “He kept things under control and made the right pass when he needed to make the right pass. He took it to the rim when he could. He played with three fouls, but played smart.
“He didn’t pick up his fourth foul until about a minute to go. He’s just my guy. It’s great to have a point guard like him. He was the difference-maker tonight.”
The win proved to be important, with Fairview beating Keystone to stay tied with Clearview atop the Stars Division.
Should both teams win Friday — the Clippers play at Brookside and Fairview at Firelands — the two will meet Feb. 15 at Clearview with the winner grabbing at least a share of the crown.
Should the Clippers win, it would mark the fourth consecutive Stars Division title and seventh in the 14-year history of the conference.
“We played good against Buckeye,” Reed said. “If we can beat this team, we should play good against Fairview and hopefully come out with the win.”
Clearview 70, Buckeye 55
BUCKEYE (55): Cam Imes 6-0-17, Michael Knoll 6-1-15, Dom Monaco 0-1-1, Anthony Watkins 2-0-4, Brock Brumfield 5-1-12, Elijah Walker 0-0-0, Aaron Drew 1-0-3, Jamie Getian 0-0-0, Clay Gunkelman 0-0-0, Pat Midea 1-0-3, Logan Schulz 0-0-0. Totals 21-3-55.
CLEARVIEW (70): Jaylen Paschel 3-0-6, Jamir Billings 6-0-13, Dylan Rebman 1-1-3, Chase Christensen 2-0-5, Javon Todd 7-2-19, Joe Norris 1-1-3, C.J. Fleming 3-2-8, Jordan Reed 6-1-13. Totals 29-7-70.
Buckeye 20 12 11 12 — 55
Clearview 15 14 27 14 — 70
Three-point goals: Buckeye (Imes 5, Knoll 2, Brumfield, Drew, Midea), Clearview (Todd 3, Christensen, Billings). Rebounds: Buckeye 39 (Knoll 12), Clearview 30 (Paschel 8). Assists: Buckeye 15 (Brumfield 6), Clearview 20 (Todd 5, Billings 5). Total fouls: Buckeye 16, Clearview 13.
Junior varsity: Buckeye, 49-35.