Clay's junior guard Patricc Both gets his fingers on a rebound during the third quarter of Friday evening's home game against Fremont Ross. Fremont Ross won, 68-41.
In the Three Rivers Athletic Conference boys basketball opener for both teams, Fremont Ross coach Mark Gedeon saw plenty he liked from his Little Giants, while Clay coach Rob Belegrin saw very little.
Ross (2-0, 1-0 TRAC) jumped on the Eagles from the outset, put the pedal to the metal, and never looked back in taking a 68-41 victory at Clay.
“I loved the passion and intensity our kids played with,” Gedeon said. “I loved our defensive rotations, and I loved how much they were willing to share the basketball with each other.
“We had 10 people contribute, and we never lost our intensity level. It’s nice to see the work you put into the offseason and the preseason carry into a game situation.”
The Little Giants, who got things done by committee with a 10-player rotation, were paced by 11 points each from Jack Gedeon, Drew Starks, and Tyler Wolf. Gedeon also had a game-high nine rebounds.
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Ross took a quick 5-0 lead, bumped it to 11-2, and held a 19-9 lead after one quarter. And then the Little Giants found a higher gear.
They outscored the Eagles (0-1, 0-1) 26-12 in the second quarter and remained in command throughout.
“We knew we’d have a little bit of a size advantage,” coach Gedeon said. “But we need all five guys to rebound, and all five guys to score. We don’t have that one go-to player that some teams have.
“We need everybody, every single possession, to be successful. Tonight that was evident. It’s by committee, and these guys have already bought into it.”
Ross was 25-of-46 (54 percent) from the field, 17-of-26 from the line, and outrebounded the Eagles 41-24. By halftime, when it trailed 45-21, Clay had committed 16 of its 25 turnovers.
“The effort was bad right off the bat,” Belegrin said. “We came out and turned it over, and we didn’t defend. It just steam-rolled from there.
“That’s a typical Fremont team. They’re going to be physical, and they’re going to be pressuring the ball. I figured we’d handle it a little better than we did, but they were more athletic than we were tonight, and we didn’t show up.”
The Eagles, who slowed the Ross offense a bit after halftime, were led in scoring by junior Patricc Booth and senior Jack Nagy, who tallied 16 points apiece. Clay could not match Fremont’s depth, however, as the rest of the Eagles managed just nine points in the game.
“We were concerned with Booth and Nagy and the way they can score,” coach Gedeon said. “For us to come out the way we did, definitely set the tone for the rest of the game.”
The Little Giants bumped their lead to 50-24 on a Gedeon free throw 2:04 into the third quarter, and took their largest lead of the game (28 points) at 65-37 on a Dylan Jagodzinski free throw with 1:55 remaining.
“We’re a lot better team than what we showed tonight,” Belegrin said. “I was disappointed in the effort right off the bat, especially playing at home.”
Clay was 16-of-50 (32 percent) from the field and 4-of-11 at the line.
Contact Steve Junga at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 419-724-6461 or on Twitter @JungaBlade.