Entering Friday night’s game against Scott County Central, Clever coach Luke Brosius figured winning would come down to three aspects: transition defense, rebounding and limiting turnovers.
The Blue Jays got a checkmark of approval in all three, and ran away from the Braves for a 75-48 victory in the opening game of the Ozark Mountain Shootout at Branson High School.
“Those three things we kind of emphasized the last couple of days in practice,” Brosius said. “We felt like if we did those three things well, we had a great chance to win.”
Scott County Central, which won its fourth consecutive state title last season and entered the game ranked No. 2 in the MBCA poll for Class 1, couldn’t get its full-court press going against Clever. That in turn led to easy baskets for the Blue Jays, who had four players score 13 or more.
Matt Hamilton’s steal and 3-point play put Clever ahead 34-22 with 12 seconds remaining in the first half. The Braves got within 47-40 at the end of the third quarter, but the Blue Jays started the fourth with a 9-2 run and led by double digits the rest of the way.
Clever outscored Scott County Central 28-8 in the fourth quarter.
When the transition game wasn’t there, Class 3 Clever used its rare height advantage to hurt Scott County Central around the paint and on the boards. Brosius estimated Clever only gave up one offensive rebound in the first half.
“We’ve struggled with (rebounding) in the past,” Brosius said. “Usually, we’re the smaller team. Tonight it was a little nice to have a size advantage.”
Jared Albright led all players with 21 points. Teammate Dalton Fisher scored 13 and had eight assists.
Clever (7-0) returns to the Ozark Mountaint Shootout on Saturday to play Summit Christian Academy at 11:30 a.m.
Clever 75, Scott County Central 48
Clever 21 13 13 28 --- 75
SCC 10 12 18 8 --- 48
Clever – Jared Albright 21, Travis Pennewell 14, Matt Hamilton 13, Dalton Fisher 13, Ryan Farmer 5, Colton Pemberton 5, Chase Thomas 2, Alex Petrochilos 2