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After Stellar First Half, Clymer Holds Off Sherman

Clymer’s Hunter Wassink shoots between Sherman’s Landen Swan (10) and Derek Sears (11) during the first half of Monday’s CCAA Division 2 West game in Sherman. P-J photo by Matt Spielman

SHERMAN — Clymer was on cruise control during Monday’s first half.

It had to work late to hold on for a victory.

The Pirates led Sherman, 28-13, at halftime before holding off the Wildcats down the stretch for a 45-43 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 2 West win.

“That got a lot closer than we hoped it would be. We knew Sherman would make a run at us,” Clymer coach Irv King said after his team improved to 5-0 on the season. “We’re thankful to get out of here with a win. This is a tough place to win.”

“I love these games. I don’t like blowouts either way. Unfortunately we came out on the wrong end,” Sherman coach Cory Emory said after his team fell to 3-2. “That’s Sherman-Clymer right there. … You can throw out the records a lot of times and know it’s going to come down to the wire.”

Sherman’s Gerald Carris drives the lane as Clymer’s Bishop Kopta (10) and Micah Willink (24) defend during Monday’s CCAA Division 2 West game in Sherman. P-J photo by Matt Spielman

Clymer took a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter when Bishop Kopta was fouled as he hit a 3-pointer.

The Pirates never trailed.

The game was never even tied.

But it certainly wasn’t easy.

Sherman stormed back in the third quarter as Gerald Carris scored 11 of his game-high 15 points to rally the Wildcats within two points at 37-35.

Clymer’s Weston Hepler takes the ball to the basket as Sherman’s Keith Gormley (12) and Elijah Kioko (23) defend Monday. P-J photo by Matt Spielman

It seemed like only a matter of time before Sherman took the lead, but it never happened.

After a pair of blocked shots on their first possession of the final eight minutes, the Wildcats turned the ball over on five straight trips down the floor.

“We got a little excited in that stretch,” Emory said. “Instead of just doing what got us back into the game, everybody wanted to make that big play or hit that big shot to put us in the lead.”

A two-point lead ballooned to eight as Kopta hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 43-35.

“Sherman had cut it to two at the time,” King said. “Those were both huge makes.”

“They would drive and get us scrambling a little bit,” Emory said. “It just happened that in those scrambles … Bishop happened to be the guy that was open on those two possessions.”

After a Keith Gormley free throw, John Swabik hit a 3-pointer — his first field goal since the first possession of the second quarter — and Sherman was back within four.

Swabik later made it a two-point game before Clymer turned the ball over with under a minute remaining.

“They hit a couple of 3s that expanded the lead back to eight,” Emory said. “We went back to doing what we were doing to cut it down, but it was a little too late.”

A transition drive in the lane rimmed out and the Wildcats were forced to foul. The Pirates then missed the front end of a one-and-one situation three times, but twice were bailed out by lane violations. After the third miss, the Wildcats advanced the ball and found a pull-up 3-point attempt at the top of the key, but the shot missed and Clymer escaped.

“We had two great looks there at the end that just didn’t fall,” Emory said.

Carris had 13 rebounds and three steals to go along with his 15 points while Elijah Kioko grabbed seven rebounds for Sherman. Swabik finished with 12 points.

“He doesn’t really get very frustrated. He just kind of internalizes it and plays harder,” Emory said of Swabik, the University of Colorado-bound senior. “That’s probably why he’s a top-level athlete because he can take those frustrating times and keep playing harder. He never gets down on his teammates.”

Kopta and Austin White led the Pirates with 12 points apiece while Hunter Wassink added 9.

“So far we’re passing the test. This was our first tight one down to the wire,” King said. “It’s always nice to win that kind early. Last year we couldn’t seem to get over that hump in close games.”

NOTES: Clymer went 17 of 45 (37.8%) from the field, including 8 of 25 (32%) from 3-point range, and turned the ball over 12 times — six in the fourth quarter. … Sherman went 13 of 53 (24.5%) from the field, including 3 of 19 (15.8%) from 3-point range, and turned the ball over 16 times. … Clymer won the jayvee game, 65-11. The Pirates were led by 10 points from Kaden Beckerink and 9 from Dylan Michael.

CLYMER (45)

Kopta 4 1 12, Wassink 4 1 9, AWhite 4 0 12, Hepler 1 1 3, MWhite 0 0 0, OWhite 2 0 5, Willink 2 0 4. Totals 17 3 45.

SHERMAN (43)

Swabik 3 5 12, Carris 5 4 15, Hayes 1 0 2, Swan 0 0 0, Sears 2 0 6, Gormley 0 1 1, Kioko 2 3 7, Meeder 0 0 0. Totals 13 13 43.

3-point goals–Kopta 3, AWhite 4, OWhite, Swabik, Carris, Sears 2.

Clymer 11 17 9 8 — 45

Sherman 7 6 22 8 — 43

Jayvees: Clymer won, 65-11.

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