BOYS BASKETBALL Clemente helps JFK turn back Mathews' bid
The Mustangs gave JFK a game, but the Eagles made their free throws.
By JOHN KOVACH
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
WARREN -- Even though the Mathews High boys basketball team dressed only eight players, the Mustangs played Warren JFK like they had a full roster Friday at the Eagles' gym.
But down the stretch, Mathews was plagued by mistakes, fouls and free throws as Warren JFK capitalized on Colin Clemente's scoring and the foul line to protect its narrow lead and pull away to a 61-55 victory.
Clemente, a 5-foot-9 senior guard, scored 12 of his game-high 17 points in the final quarter, as the Eagles (6-3) withstood a strong comeback from Mathews (2-3), which had trailed by 39-29 in the third quarter but rallied to within 51-50 with about 2:00 left.
However, Clemente scored seven of JFK's next 10 points, five of them on free throws, for a 60-54 lead with 15.6 seconds left to seal the verdict. The Eagles made nine free throws in the final quarter
Jimmy Kokrak added 14 points and three blocks while Chris Shaker had 12 points and three blocks and John DeFiore a season-high 17 rebounds with five points, to reinforce the Eagles. Marc Rossi contributed six assists and six points.
"That's [eight players] all we have," said Mathews coach Kevin Haynie of his small roster. "We have eight guys who want to play. We made some cuts. We kept eight varsity players. We have nine JVs."
Despite being undermanned, the Mustangs had several chances to take the lead near the wire, but were foiled my mistakes.
"We broke down and got people in foul trouble. Two starters [Matt Weymer and Ian Paddock] fouled out in the last two minutes. We wanted to go inside, but we lost our big man [Paddock] and point guard [Weymer]. We had some bonus fouls [coming] but we couldn't capitalize."
Weymer, Paddock sparkle
Weymer scored 15 points, including three 3-point goals, and Paddock had 14 points to lead Mathews, while Tyler Stanton added 11 points and Adam Hughes 10.
Weymer and Paddock each had eight points to fuel Mathews' comeback from the 10-point deficit to within 56-54 with 40.5 seconds left.
Coach John Condoleon of JFK said that Haynie's explanation "was a factor from their point of view, but it didn't stop us from what we wanted to do."
For one thing, the Eagles were able to get the ball to Clemente in the clutch.
"Colin hit some big shots in the fourth, a couple of 3s. We picked up our intensity toward the end and [got] some fouls. We did what we had to do to win," said Condoleon, noting that Clemente knows how to get open.
"He scored 17 points and he faced a box-and-one defense all night -- four guys in a zone and one guy playing Clemente man-to-man. He's able to get free. He's a veteran and a four-year letterman.
"Colin is starting to shoot the ball well."
Dominated the boards
JFK also had an overall height advantage and was able to dominate the rebounding led by DiFiore's potent effort, limiting Mathews' second shots.
And the Eagles were 17-for-28 at the foul line.
"When we get to the line 20 times a game, we have a good shot at winning it," said Condoleon, who was pleased with several other players.
"Shaker is starting to play well in the post. Rossi did a nice job handling the ball. [Joe] Cicchillo stepped up and gave us some good solid minutes."