Clairton holds off Carmichaels
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Bryon Clifford knows how to make a statement.
At the end of the first and second quarters against Carmichaels, the senior guard hit buzzer-beating shots and helped Clairton (9-5, 6-0) open a 19-point halftime lead en route to a 51-42 Section 4-A victory over the Mikes.
“I have to make sure that I have my feet set and that I at least try to make it,” Clifford said. “I don't just try to just throw it up there because that could turn out ugly and end up going over the hoop or something. I try to take my time and, it might look like I rushed it, but I didn't.”
Clifford led the Bears with 15 points and has 912 in his career. Considering he is averaging around 19 points per game this season, he could become the first Clairton player since the turn of the century to reach 1,000 career points sometime near the season finale at Monessen on Feb. 9.
“It means a lot,” Clifford said. “I'm trying to reach that milestone. It takes a lot to score 1,000 points, and I'm just waiting for it to come. I just have to be patient and let it come.”
Patience was not one of Clairton's virtues against Carmichaels as the team turned up a full-court pressure defense throughout the first half. The Bears forced 11 turnovers in the first two quarters as Clifford scored 10 points and Tyler Boyd nine before intermission.
“We made them play at our pace, and we're a fast team and we made them run a lot,” Boyd said. “Some of our boys got really tired because we pressed the whole game and we should have sagged off a little bit and caught our breath. In the second half we got a little tired and, I'm not going to lie, I got tired myself, but we're taught to fight through that.”
Clairton's basketball conditioning still isn't quite where it would be had the football team not won its fourth consecutive PIAA Class A championship on Dec. 14. This was the first time all season that the Bears had the full contingent of players they will head into the postseason with, and it became painfully obvious just how far the team has to go to play a whole game at full speed.
As good as Clairton was in the first half — the team was 15 of 30 from the floor and was active all over the court — in the third quarter the team made only 1 of 11 field goals (9.1 percent) and allowed Carmichaels to crawl back into the game.
“That was the best that our full-court pressure has been all year and, in a way, I'm kind of glad they made it close in the second half because we need to learn how to win a close game,” Clairton coach Matt Geletko said. “If we are to get to where we need to be, we have to win games like this down the stretch and I was happy with the way we played, especially offensively.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Plum grad Cressler makes coaching debut
- Junior forward Beale scores 30 points as Freeport wins 4th straight
- Injuries won’t dash South Fayette girls basketball’s hopes
- Fox Chapel’s Urso adjusts quickly between football, basketball
- Harris develops into team leader for Gateway boys
- Chartiers Valley boys basketball competes, bonds in Arizona
- Ringgold girls escape with 41-35 win over Brownsville
- Sewickley Academy boys basketball off to fast start
- Gateway girls roll to victory in Section 2 opener
- Uptempo style of play leads to strong start for Bishop Canevin boys
- Perz providing Norwin boys basketball a scoring spark