SHEFFIELD TWP. - John Szalay was right when he said after the game, "The final score looked like a romp, but it wasn`t really indicative of how the game really was."
His Clearview team, with no lettermen back from last year, lost to visiting Vermilion by a lopsided 60-38 score Friday night in a non-conference season opener for both teams.
But the inexperienced Clippers only trailed by four, 37-33, after three quarters and actually led 27-26 in the third after a 3-pointer by Tony Williams.
However, the taller Sailors - led by Andy Pena`s outstanding second half - took control in the fourth quarter, outscoring Clearview 23-5 in the final eight minutes to win going away.
Pena, a 5-foot-11 senior guard, scored 17 of his 20 points in the last two quarters to spark the Sailors` strong finish.
"Pena was the difference in the game," said Szalay. "I thought we hung in there pretty well for three quarters. We really battled, and I`m proud of that. But then Pena took over.
"We just made some bad decisions with the basketball - but that`s correctable."
Clearview`s inexperience was shown in two ways - it committed 28 turnovers and made only six of 18 free throws.
But the Sailors, too, looked ragged at times - typical of a first game - with 26 turnovers and only hitting on 11 of 24 at the free-throw line.
"Defensively we played a pretty good game," said Vermilion coach Kurt Habermehl. "But we have a lot of guys playing their first varsity game and it showed with too many unforced errors. But the more we play the more comfortable we`ll get. The team is going to grow as the season goes on.
"Give credit to Clearview. They hustled and played hard. John always gets his kids ready to play."
Pena was modest about his great performance.
"I was just at the right place at the right time and got some baskets," he said. "I`m happy we won but we`ve got to improve. I thought we did a good job hustling."
Pena scored Vermilion`s first nine points in the third, two on a spectacular layup after stealing the ball and driving half the length of the court.
The Sailors` height advantage led to a 38-33 edge in rebounds - led by 6-5 senior Matt Litjegren with eight and 6-7 junior Derek Hoebing with seven. Vermilion also shot well from the field, hitting 53 percent to only 32 percent for the Clippers.
Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7137 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vermilion 60, Clearview 38
VERMILION (60) - Andy Pena 9-2-20, Derek Barbato 4-5-13, Matt Liljegren 4-1-9, Nick Farley 3-0-7, Derek Hoebing 1-2-4, Paul Kishman 1-0-2, Justin Turner 1-0-2, Tim Clark 1-0-2, Mike Virgin 0-1-1 Kyle Herchler 0-0-0, Nick Clason 0-0-0, Dustin Hendricks 0-0-0. Totals 24-11-60.
CLEARVIEW (38) - James Washington 5-2-12, Anthony Henson 2-0-5, Lucas Wright 2-0-5, Miguel Couvertier 2-0-4, Tony Williams 1-1-4, Michael Meoling 2-0-4, Ricki Perkins 1-0-3, Anthony Hitchens 0-3-3, Kyle Baughman 1-0-2, Antwaun Carlton 0-0-0, Jordan Celestino 0-0-0, F.J. Neely 0-0-0. Totals 14-6-38.
VermilionÂ Â 13Â Â 9Â Â 15Â Â 23Â Â - Â 60
ClearviewÂ Â Â 6Â 11Â 16Â Â Â 5Â Â - Â 38
Three point goals - Vermilion 1 of 6 (Farley), Clearview 4 of 8 (Henson, Wright, Perkins, Williams); Field goals - Vermilion 24 of 45 (53 percent), Clearview 14 of 43 (32 percent); Free throws - Vermilion 11 of 24, Clearview 6 of 18; Rebounds - Vermilion 38 (Liljegren 8, Hoebing 7), Clearview 33 (Hitchens 5, Washington 6); Turnovers - Vermilion 26, Clearview 28: Fouls - Vermilion 15, Clearview 21 (Meoling fouled out).
Junior varsity - Vermilion 46, Clearview 34.