STRATTANVILLE — Visiting Keystone took the “only thing that matters is the final score” approach to Tuesday night’s come-from-behind win over the Clarion-Limestone Lions.

The Panthers led 2-0 and then didn’t lead again until 39-38 with four minutes to play in a 48-46 victory over the Lions Tuesday night.

After Brandon Pierce made a 3-pointer to give Keystone the 39-38 lead, Deion Deas answered for a 40-39 lead for C-L. Pierce added another 3-pointer while Troy Johnson followed with a traditional 3-point play for a 45-40 Keystone lead with 2:29 to play.

The Lions then closed the gap to one at 47-46 with a 6-2 run which ended at the 48-second mark of the final quarter. A C-L turnover gave the ball back to Keystone when Panthers head coach Greg Heath called his only timeout of the contest.

The Lions then fouled Isaak Jones who made 1 of 2 free throws with seven seconds remaining to put Keystone up 48-46. C-L got one last chance out of a timeout, but Curvin Goheen’s shot from inside the paint fell off the rim, allowing Keystone to take the victory.

The Lions led 15-4 after the first quarter. Keystone claimed the second quarter by a 13-10 scoring edge to close to within 25-17 by halftime.

But the theme for the Lions was taking care of the basketball. Or not taking care of it.

“We weren’t patient enough with the ball tonight like we needed to be,” said C-L head coach Joe Ferguson. “In the second half, they began trapping more and we weren’t taking care of the ball which led to them being able to get back in the game.”

C-L (8-2 overall) pushed its lead back to 11 at 33-22 late in the third before a Johnson inside hoop and a Jones jumper trimmed the lead to seven at 33-26 after three.

An 8-2 Panthers run to start the fourth cut the lead to one at 35-32 with 5:22 to play. Keystone tied the score 36-all before Jordan Hesdon made a short jumper giving C-L a 38-36 lead prior to the three by Pierce.

Pierce led the way for Keystone (8-1) with 12 points including knocking down a trio of 3-pointers. Johnson added 11 points while Jones added nine.

For C-L, Deas and Hayden Callen each scored 11 points with Callen also grabbing 14 rebounds. Goheen added nine points and nine rebounds while Mitch Knepp also grabbed nine boards.

“We were able to get a look at the end but the shot just didn’t fall,” said Ferguson. “I told the guys not to hand their heads after this one because at the time of our two losses each of our opponents had only one loss on the season. Both teams know they probably didn’t play their best ball tonight. We just have to learn some things from this one. It was a good high school basketball game.”

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The Lions (8-2) visit Moniteau Friday before hosting Clarion Monday. They travel to Redbank Valley next Wednesday.

In last week’s game:

FRIDAY, Jan. 3

C-L 71,

Forest Area 24

At home after a slow start, the Lions pulled away during the middle two quarters on their way to a 47-point rout of Forest Area.

Deion Deas paced C-L with 19 points while Hayden Callen added 18 points with seven rebounds. Curvin Goheen chipped in with eight points and 10 boards. Nine of the 11 C-L players who saw the court scored.

“It’s tough coming back from break playing that first game,” said C-L head coach Joe Ferguson. “Once we got settled in the kids did a nice job especially defensively. We have to get back to work and get ready to face a really good Keystone team on Tuesday night.”

It took almost two minutes before either team would score as Jordan Hesdon made 1 of 2 free throws with 6:41 to play. Franklin Meals gave Forest their only lead of the game 20 seconds later on a three-pointer. A 12-3 run by the Lions gave C-L a 13-6 lead with 47 seconds remaining in the quarter. Julian Gillenwater completed a four-point play to close the gap to 13-10 before Mitch Knepp made a pair of free throws for a 15-10 lead after one.

After a Meals three-pointer started the second to close the gap to 15-13, C-L then reeled off 13 straight points for a 28-13 lead with two minutes to play in the half. Noah Burke who led the Fires with nine points stopped the long scoring drought with a bucket at the 1:00 mark. C-L then closed the half on a 9-0 run for a 37-15 halftime lead.

C-L pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring the Fires 22-4 to extend the lead to 59-19 putting the PIAA Mercy Rule running clock in effect for the final eight minutes.

C-L also won the junior varsity contest, 46-13, with Hayden Siegel scoring 13 points to lead the Lions. Corbin Coulson added eight and Ryan Hummell chipped in with six.

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