SENECA — Posting its fifth 80-point game and sixth win by 40 or more points, the Clarion-Limestone Lions basketball team rolled to an 88-48 KSAC-North win at Cranberry Monday night.
It’s the fifth straight win for the Lions, who improved to 14-3 overall and 7-0 in the KSAC-North going into Wednesday’s game in Marienville against Forest Area.
Friday, the Lions can wrap up their fifth straight division title at home with a win over North Clarion. C-L beat North Clarion in their first meeting, 72-59.
Next week, the Lions visit Punxsutawney Monday and host Venango Catholic Tuesday.
Against Cranberry, the Lions got another big game from Ian Callen, who had 28 points, 12 steals and eight assists. Hayden Callen turned in a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Also reaching double figures were Deion Deas and Christian Smith with 14 and 13 points respectively. Julian Laugand dished out 10 assists.
Matt Meehan led Cranberry with 14 points.
In last week’s game:
FRIDAY, Jan. 26
C-L 52, Clarion 44
At home against the Bobcats, the Lions turned a one-point deficit into a nine-point lead in the third quarter before holding off a furious Clarion comeback attempt.
“This was a character-type building win for us,” said C-L head coach Joe Ferguson. “I also think the type of game we had will also benefit Clarion as we finish out our seasons as well. “We knew it was going to be a competitive game going in.”
Clarion was able to make its comeback in part because the Lions had three of their core starters foul out within a three-minute span of the fourth quarter. Julian Laugand, Ian Callen, and Deion Deas all fouled out.
“It was definitely hard having those guys foul out,” said Ferguson. “Give our guys off the bench credit for hanging in there and keeping things together.”
Christian Smith led the Lions with 17 points and eight rebounds. Deas added 13 points, Hayden Callen 11 points and nine rebounds, and Ian Callen nine points with 13 boards.
Austin Hummell led Clarion with 14 points and 19 rebounds while Cam Craig and Josh Craig each adding nine points. Josh Craig hit three 3-pointers accounting for his total.
C-L got off to a fast start in jumping out to a 9-0 lead in the first five minutes of the contest forcing a Clarion timeout. Clarion closed the quarter on a 7-1 run to pull within 10-7 after one quarter. C-L led 19-18 by halftime.
After a 22-22 tie in the third quarter, the Lions went on a 13-4 run in building a 35-26 lead. A pair of Cam Craig free throws late put the score 35-28 after three quarters.
“I told our kids we had to be more patient on the floor and that we had to play a different style than what we were used to,” said Ferguson. “The kids did a good job of dictating the pace the way we wanted them to. I think that’s what led to the separation we got in that third quarter.”
C-L increased its lead to 11 at 41-30 in the fourth before a 12-5 run by the Bobcats closed the gap to four at 46-42. Deas would make a pair of free throws for a 48-42 lead before fouling out.
Clarion missed a pair of 3-pointers and was forced to foul and Smith made four straight free throws around a pair of free throws from Cam Craig of Clarion over the final 11 seconds to set the final score.