CLYDE – In order to beat a team the quality of Division III, fifth-ranked Huron, an opponent must play quality basketball for a full 32 minutes.
Clyde coach Lou Garcia said his team could only say it did for 31 minutes and 57 seconds.
Eric Wiseman’s 3-point attempt to win rimmed in and out and Huron escaped with a 41-39 Sandusky Bay Conference road victory.
“Clyde controlled the tempo very well,” Huron coach Bobby James said. “That was their thing. They kept it low-scoring and that was to their advantage. We average over 60 points a game, but they did a great job controlling the tempo.”
Matt Dewey drained a 3-pointer to put the Tigers (8-0 overall, 5-0 SBC) ahead, 36-34. Later, Nick Stauffer stole a pass and laid it up and in with 2:05 left in the fourth quarter to put Huron up four.
After a series of missed shots, Zach Rieman and Eric Weir exchanged free throws. The Fliers (2-5, 1-3) missed a 3-pointer but Matt Webb grabbed the offensive rebound and put it back up to cut the lead to 39-37 with 18.2 seconds left.
Weir was fouled and made one before Collin Rieman scored. Weir was fouled once again and made one before Zach Rieman grabbed the rebound and quickly moved up court. He passed to Alex Marshall who passed to Collin Rieman, the game’s high-scorer, who made the extra pass to Wiseman, whose 3-pointer was slightly off, allowing Huron to escape. Clyde made just 3-of-15 shots in the final quarter.
“We played with them for 31 minutes and 57 seconds, I guess,” first-year coach Garcia said. “We sat down as a group, looked at our record and looked at their record. Our kids bought in that we could play and compete with Huron despite the fact that they are undefeated. We were one shot away.”
Collin Rieman, who hit nine field goals and finished with 21 points and six rebounds, made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put Clyde ahead 11-8 after one quarter. The Fliers finished off a 13-2 run over a 8:46 span with a Collin Rieman 3-pointer. Adam Storer scored six points over the last 3:14 of the half to aid Huron’s 7-0 run to end the quarter. The Fliers led, 20-17 at halftime.
“Their size and shooters really concerned us,” Garcia said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game. We’re going to come back and know we’re a good team. We’re going to go back to the little things and believe in ourselves.”
Despite escaping with a win, Huron didn’t shoot well. It connected on just 13-of-40 shots (32.5 percent). Stauffer topped the Tigers with 15 points and 13 rebounds while Storer had 11 points.
“Our chemistry is great right now,” James said. “It’s always been great though. Close games like this draw you closer. It’s a good, hard-fought SBC win.”
Zach Rieman tallied nine points and 10 rebounds.
“I’m very proud of my kids,” Garcia said. “We didn’t just give up. It would’ve been easy to throw in the towel at certain times but we fought, literally to the end. Huron was just a little bit better.”