Keystone rallies past C-L

Brandon Pierce

Keystone rallies past C-L

By Steve Smail

For the CLARION NEWS

CLARION TWP.

After scoring the first two points of the game, Keystone trailed the rest of the contest until a Brandon Pierce three-pointer gave the visiting Panthers a 39-38 with four minutes to play in ultimately coming away with a 48-46 victory over Clarion-Limestone on Tuesday evening.

After the Pierce three gave Keystone lead, Deion Deas answered for a 40-39 lead for C-L. Pierce added another three-pointer while Troy Johnson followed with an old fashioned three-point play for a 45-40 Keystone lead with 2:29 to play.

The Lions 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 with 12 seconds left 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.

"I never really thought we were in a position where we needed a timeout," said Heath referring to not using his timeouts. "I will call a timeout if I see our body language isn't right or we need a change in strategy. I usually try to save my timeouts until the end anyways especially in tight games."

After leading 2-0 early in the contest, Keystone made just one more shot from the field in the opening quarter as Clarion-Limestone used a 12-0 run and 15-2 run overall in taking a 15-4 lead after one quarter.

Keystone finished 5-for-20 from behind the three-point arc while also just making 5-of-17 free throws for the game.

"We had a horrible shooting night both from the floor and the foul line," said Heath. "But, fortunately for us they started to fall later in the game when we needed them to. It was uncharacteristic of us as far as the shooting goes. We played good defense which kept us in the game until those shots did finally fall."

Keystone claimed the second quarter with a 13-10 scoring edge to close to within 25-17 by halftime.

"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 C-L lead to one at 35-32 with 5:22 to play. Keystone tied the score at 36-36 before Jordan Hesdon made a short jumper giving C-L a 38-36 lead prior to the 3-pointer by Pierce.

"When we started making that run early in the fourth and we were getting some turnovers I thought we had a chance," said Heath. "It was not a thing of beauty by either team that's for sure. I'm thankful for the win, but I'm not happy with the way we went about it."

Pierce led the way for Keystone with 12 points including knocking down a trio of three-pointers. Johnson added 11 points for the Panthers while Jones added nine.

For C-L, Deion Deas and Hayden Callen each scored 11 points with Callen also grabbing 14 rebounds. Curvin Goheen added nine points with 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."