Clear Fork fell behind 20-8 after one quarter, then outscored Ashland 44-23 over the next two quarters and withstood a career-night by the Arrows’ Drew Delaney to post a 68-60 Ohio Cardinal Conference win on the road at Arrow Arena Friday night.
“I talked to the kids and we talked about as well as Ashland scored, we battled back and we didn’t hang our heads and we just consistently one possession at a time got back into the game,” Clear Fork coach Steve Bechtel said, referring to overcoming the early Arrow advantage. “I just talked to (Drew) Delaney’s dad out there after the game, I thought we were going to give him 40. He attacked the basket really well. He does a lot of things really well.”
Delaney scored a career-high 38 points for the Arrows, just off the school record of 42 set by Tom Malone in 1970 but it wasn’t enough to lead Ashland to victory. He had 17 points in the first half, scored 4 of Ashland’s 7 points in the third quarter and scored all 17 of Ashland’s points in the fourth quarter. In fact, Brett Vipperman’s 3 points in the third quarter were the only other Arrow points in the second half.
“Only two guys scoring after halftime really hurt us,” Ashland coach Tom Fralick said. “We played well in the first quarter, we came out pretty strong . We were obviously happy with a 20-8 lead in the first quarter. Clear Fork really hurt us in the third quarter, outscoring us 21-7. They shot the ball really well and we gave them too many easy buckets.”
Clear Fork still trailed 35-31 at the half and, after Delaney opened the third quarter with two free throws to built the lead to 38-31, the Colts went on a 13-0 run to go in front 44-38 and never trailed again. Keith Corbin, who hadn’t scored in the first half, scored 7 points in the third for Clear Fork, matching Ridge Winand’s 7 points in the third to spark Clear Fork.
The Colts, 11-9 on the year and 6-7 in the OCC, had a 9-point lead (52-43) at the end of the third quarter and increased the advantage to 11 points on a basket by Evan VanOrman 13 seconds into the fourth quarter. Delaney did his best to keep Ashland (12-8 and 6-7) in the game but Clear Fork got into the double-bonus and made 8 out of 10 free throws over the final two minutes to keep the Arrows at bay.
The game was Senior Night for Ashland.
“It’s disappointing, you want your seniors on Senior Night on their home court to have a win, but unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be for us tonight,” Fralick said.
Winand scored 26 points to pace the Clear Fork attack and Kadin Chrastina, who had 11 points in the first half, finished with 17. Corbin wound up with 8 points, Brandon Lures added 7 and sophomore Griffen Robinette chipped in with six points off the bench.
“We hit our free throws down the stretch,” Bechtel said. “Last week wasn’t the same story. We battled back and got stops when we needed to.”
Delaney’s 38 points included 13 baskets from the field and a perfect 10 for 10 from the foul line. Isaac White scored 14 points for Ashland, all in the first half. Vipperman added six points and Andrew Dickinson scored two points. Only four Ashland players made it to the scoring column.
Ashland travels to Massillon Washington tonight and West Holmes pays a visit to Clear Fork.