Turnovers stifled the Bluejays' offense in the first quarter as Hartville managed to keep the score close by benefiting from six Clever turnovers with a 12-12 score in the game’s first eight minutes.
Clever was able to rattle off six unanswered points with 12 points from seniors Dalton Fisher (14 points total) and Travis Pennewell (9 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal).
Hartville and Clever players found themselves knocked around the court during the course of the game, with 44 total fouls being charged in the game. Both squads were unafraid to play physical. This would eventually send Shade Piper (17 points, 7 rebounds) of Hartville and Matt Hamilton (11 points, 1 assist, 3 rebounds) of Clever to the bench with five personal fouls each.
Bluejays coach Luke Brosius attributed both the fouls and turnovers to the intense defensive play and full-court pressing from Hartville which hadn’t been experienced yet by the Clever squad.
Fisher would collect 14 points total on the night along with all-tournament player recognition, though he spent a lot of the second half on the bench after earning four fouls.
Hartville’s point guard Hunter Simmons also found his way to the bench by gaining three fouls by the 5:38 mark in the second quarter.
“That hurt us a lot,” said Eagles’ coach Brett Reed said of Simmons’ play, “it was as huge for us as it was for them losing Fisher.”
Simmons also received all-tournament honors but did not find success on the scoring ledger.
Action peaked in the game’s final minute as Hartville trimmed the Clever closer than the five-point margin sustained in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles could not force overtime and would give up a free throw to put the final score at 54-50.
In the 3rd place game of the Clever Tournament, Purdy overcame a ten point second half deficit against Sparta with a 10 point 4th quarter effort from senior Cameron Terry.
Hartville will travel to Mountain Grove Tuesday December 4, while Clever will host Ash Grove on Friday 7.