McClellan’s late three lifts Lakeview in overtime
By MIKE McLAIN
The Canfield High School boys basketball team won the battle of long-range shots, but it was a 3-pointer by Lakeview’s AJ McClellan that proved to be the biggest blow in the non-conference game here Friday.
With the score tied at 55 in overtime, McClellan’s pivotal 3-point shot gave the Bulldogs the lead for good in their 65-61 win in a game that was well-played by both teams.
McClellan, who scored a game-high 31 points, followed with a beauty of a drive to increase Lakeview’s lead to 60-55. The Cardinals were able to cut their deficit to 62-61 before the Bulldogs sealed matters with a four-point finish.
“I didn’t feel like it was going to stop,” McClellan said of the 11 3-pointers registered by the 1-1 Cardinals. “Every time a shot went up they kept going in. We didn’t know what to do. They made shots and went on a run. That’s what good teams do.”
The 3-0 Bulldogs are also a talented team, which they showed on both ends of the court. They made up for Canfield’s 3-point barrage by playing patiently on offense and not backing down defensively.
“Our box outs in the second half and in overtime were amazing,” Bulldogs coach Ryan Fitch said. “We really limited them to one shot, and I think that was a key. We didn’t give up any offensive rebounds. It’s hard enough stopping Canfield on the first attempt, let alone on two and three [shots].”
Cardinals coach Todd Muckleroy thinks the loss will be a learning tool. He knows most teams can’t live by the 3-point shot alone.
“It was the shooting from the outside that got us back into that game,” Muckleroy said. “I felt that down the stretch we were trading baskets – we were scoring 3 while they were getting two. That’s a dangerous equation sometimes when you’re doing that. Wish our guys could have made some stops, but they’re a difficult team to defend.”
Overtime was an opportunity for McClellan to show his offensive talents. He scored nine points in the four-minute session, including 5-of-6 at the foul line.
“I felt like I played well and held my composure there,” McClellan said. “The team relied on me to make big shots, and I was making shots the whole game. I saw an opportunity to play my game, and it worked.”
McClellan opened play with an eight-point first period as the Bulldogs assumed a 17-16 lead. Kyle Gamble, who scored 21 points for the Cardinals, had 11 points in the quarter.
McClellan added another nine points in the second period as Lakeview charged to a 32-23 halftime advantage. The Bulldogs were limited to 13 points in the third quarter, with their lead shrinking to 45-40.
The Cardinals took a 50-49 lead on a 3-point shot by Conor Crogan, who finished with 21 points. Lakeview’s Jeff Remmick, who had 15 points, tied the score with one free throw. Aydin Hanousek gave Canfield a 51-50 lead with a free throw, and Crogan added two free throws as the Cardinals led 53-50.
McClellan answered with a 3-point shot to tie the score at 53 with 30 seconds remaining in the period. After a Canfield turnover, Lakeview nearly prevailed at the end of regulation when Brendon Kilpatrick’s short, reverse layup after rebounding a Remmick miss rolled off the rim.