Golden Eagle men's cagers get first win

CLARION After trailing by as many as 11 points midway through the first half, the Clarion University men's basketball team clawed its way back to win a thriller 64-62 at home versus Lake Erie College on a buzzer beater by Jarrod Stukes. Tonight's win marks the first win at the helm for Golden Eagle head coach Damian Pitts and his staff.

With just 2:35 remaining in the game, the Golden Eagles trailed by just one point and put the game in the hands of their senior guard Elijah Cottrill who managed to score the last five of seven points to put Clarion in a spot to win the game.

With the Storm trailing by two points, Kevin Peterson tied the ball game at 60 all with a pair of free throws with just one minute remaining. Cottrill put the Golden Eagles back on top with a pair of free throws of his own, but Peterson answered with a layup to tie the game one more time with just 22 seconds remaining.

Coming out of their final timeout, Clarion turned to their sophomore point guard Stukes who would not be rejected. After driving the lane and losing the ball Stukes managed to reclaim possession and go up under the basket to knock down a heavy contested layup as time expired, giving Clarion the win.

It was certainly a tale of two halves for Clarion as the Golden Eagles struggled from the floor in the first half, shooting just 28-percent from the field and 28.6-percent from three point range. The second half proved to be much stronger, as they knocked down 15 of 27 attempts (55.6-percent) while also shooting 6 of 14 (42.9-percent) from beyond the arc 100-percent from the charity stripe.

Kaison Branch finished with a game-high 20 points, while Cottrill and Aaron Hilzendeger added 10 points. Cottrill also finished with a season high six assist, while Branch finished with eight boards to go along with his 20 points. James Price added eight points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes of action.

Stevan Rodriguez contributed seven points and one steal on the night, while Jaiquil Johnson added a solid five points off of the bench. Kass Taylor played a solid 10 minutes, adding two points and two rebounds.

For Lake Erie, Gabe Kynard led the Storm with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Peterson added 13 points and 12 boards.

West Chester 73, Clarion 54

CLARION The Clarion men's basketball team faced its toughest test of the young season on Sunday, falling by a score of 73-54 to West Chester at Tippin Gymnasium.

Turnovers were an issue for both teams as Clarion committed 20 giveaways and the Golden Rams gave the ball away 12 times. West Chester was able to convert those Golden Eagle mistakes, though, outscoring Clarion 23-9 in points off turnovers. The Golden Rams also commanded the rebound column 47-43 on the afternoon.

Kaison Branch had a team-high 15 points, followed by James Price, who had eight points and six rebounds. Stevan Rodriguez came off the bench to grab a team-high eight rebounds, while adding seven points.

Clarion opened the game on a 4-0 run but, after a Golden Rams timeout, West Chester scored the next 17 points to build an 13 point lead. Rodriguez knocked down a three pointer at the 7:58 mark to cut the lead to 14 but that's as close as Clarion would get in the first half. After a Jarrod Stukes three with 13 seconds left the Golden Rams would take a 37-21 lead into the half.

Clarion shot 23-percent from the field in the first half behind Rodriguez's five points and six rebounds. West Chester shot 34-percent in the half paced by Malik Jackson's 13 points.

Elijah Cottrill was able to cut the Golden Ram lead to 13 in the second half when he buried a deep three at the 17:33 mark off of an assist from Stukes, but the Blue and Gold weren't able to gain any traction on offense. Sharp three point shooting from West Chester proved to be the difference in the second half as the lead was extended to as big as 24 points.

On the afternoon Clarion shot just 29-percent from the field and 33-percent from beyond the arc, while West Chester shot 37-percent from the field.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

West Chester 78, Clarion 74

CLARION The Clarion women's basketball team went back and forth in a wild home contest on Sunday, but West Chester ultimately got the better of the Golden Eagles in a 78-74 decision at Tippin Gymnasium.

There were 10 total lead changes as both teams played an evenly-matched game, with Clarion leading 58-54 entering the final quarter of action. The Golden Eagles led by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter, starting with a jumper by Yndiah Bobo and a putback make by Emily Hegedus. The Golden Rams cut it to a two-point deficit with just under eight minutes to go, and Gabrielle Troisi tied the game at 7:05 with a transition make. West Chester took the lead for good with 6:10 remaining, though Clarion cut the lead to 70-67 on a midrange jumper by Yasmin Lewis.

Lewis posted her first double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, including six offensive boards. Ke'Airah Massiah led Clarion in scoring with a 16-point effort, shooting 6-of-13 from the field and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. Celeste Ryman came off the bench for 15 points, all of them coming on three-pointer makes, and Hegedus recorded 15 points, six rebounds and three assists.

The Golden Eagles opened the game on a 10-4 run, with Massiah scoring the final two buckets in that sequence. Bobo bumped the lead to three possessions with a free throw at the 4:42 mark, making it 13-6, but West Chester rallied to pull within 17-16 with under two minutes to play in the quarter. Clarion responded by scoring six straight points, including a fastbreak jumper by Massiah, and led 23-18 at the end of the first. The Golden Rams got the better of the second quarter by outscoring Clarion 21-14 and taking a two-point lead into the locker room.

The Golden Eagles did jump back into the lead late in the third quarter, with Jada Smith sinking a jumper in the paint to make it 50-49. Clarion embarked on a 7-0 run to build a two-possession advantage, with Ryman sinking a three off a steal by Hegedus to make it 58-52.

Kutztown 57, Clarion 39

CLARION The Clarion women's basketball team lost a defensive battle at home on Saturday, as the Golden Eagles fell 57-39 to Kutztown at Tippin Gym in their 2019-20 PSAC opener.

Neither team was willing to give an inch on defense, as Clarion held the preseason PSAC East favorites to just 36.1 percent shooting from the field. Meanwhile, the Golden Bears also held strong in their own end, holding the Golden Eagles to under 30 percent for the game. It did not appear that would be the case after the first 10 minutes of action as Kutztown took an 18-15 lead and both teams shot the ball well. Both sides knuckled down after that, with neither side shooting better than 32 percent for the rest of the game.

Yndiah Bobo led Clarion in scoring with 10 points, while Jada Smith finished with eight points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Yasmin Lewis fought through foul trouble to record seven points and six rebounds.

Kutztown opened the game on a 12-4 run, with Casey Remolde capping off the rally with a pair of free throw makes at the 5:20 mark of the first quarter. Ke'Airah Massiah responded with the Golden Eagles' first three-pointer of the contest, cashing in from the wing to make it 12-7. Bobo cut the lead to 12-9 on an offensive rebound and putback, and Smith made it a one-point contest on the next possession with a transition bucket. Bobo scored again with 49 seconds remaining in the first quarter to pull the Golden Eagles to within 16-15, but Annie Whalen scored on Kutztown's next trip down the floor to make it a three-point game.

Clarion kept things close early in the second quarter, with Lewis scoring on a putback to make it 20-19, and Emily Hegedus sank a free throw at the 6:21 mark to tie the game at 20. The Golden Bears responded with 13 straight points, though, and took a 33-21 lead into the halftime break. Their lead got as high as 16 points in the third quarter, thanks to a three-pointer by Rylee Derr, and Kutztown led by as many as 22 in the fourth.