McCluer Overtime Win Caps 4-0 SNC Record At Midwest Showdown Shootout
(Dec. 13, 2011)
By Jim Wieners
Four Suburban North Conference Boys Basketball teams has good games Dec. 9-10 at the Robert F. Hyland Performance Arena on the ever-expanding campus of Lindenwood University in St. Charles.
All four teams — Hazelwood Central, Hazelwood West, McCluer North and McCluer — came up with wins at the fifth Annual Midwest Showdown Shootout. The most intense game came late last Saturday afternoon, Dec. 10, when the 5-0 McCluer Comets pulled off an overtime thriller, 78-70, over Chicago Hyde Park.
A fourth McCluer rally started when they were trailing 52-43 as Leon Watkins, Jr., who scored three of his 12 points on a play with 6:12 left as he was fouled. Watkins missed the free throw but the shot started a rally as the Comets outscored Hyde Park 18-9 in the next 4:33 to tie it at 61-61 with 1:38. With the scored tied at 65-65 the Comets had a chance to win it at the buzzer but the shot rimmed off but in the overtime period the Comets outscored Hyde Park 13-5 scoring six key free throws for the win.
“Hyde Park has gotten a ton of talent (and) had us on the ropes,” said McCluer head coach Erwin Claggett, but “the guys kept grinding it out.” Defense was the key to the rally and Claggett said “defense was the catalyst all the way” especially in the fourth quarter and it got us key quick buckets.
Demetrious Floyd led the Comet scoring with 31 points, Tyrone Griffin added 12, and Chantel Stanciel had nine assists and five steals while Malik Ray had nine rebounds and seven blocks.
The win capped a successful weekend at the Shootout. “It says a lot about the kids in North County,” said Claggett. “It says a lot about the coaches in the Suburban North (and) it says a lot about the Suburban North (overall).”
McCluer is off until Christmas break when the Comets play in the Meramec Holiday Festival
Prior to the start of the McCluer-Hyde Park game Hazelwood Central head coach Josh Martin lauded the Suburban North Conference after the Hawks improved to 3-1 with a 72-57 win over Martin Luther King, Lithonia, Ga., who split their two-game weekend after winning Friday, Dec. 9, over Whitfield, 65-56.
“Our kids played hard, competed for 32 minutes,” Martin said. “That’s what we wanted.”
The key to the win came at the halftime buzzer when Demarco Buchanan made a desperate turn-around three-pointer from the baseline-sideline corner to tie the game at 23-23. The second half was all Hawks as they outscored MLK 43-34.
Hazelwood Central is playing the first semester without Jordan Martin (no relation to Josh Martin), who is academically ineligible but Josh Martin expects Jordan to be eligible to play in January. The Hawk coach said it is hard to lose Jordan but it gives the other players an opportunity. So far “they’ve gotten better,” said Josh Martin, “they came to work and want to get better.”
Hazelwood Central plays their home opener Dec. 16, 6 p.m. against Jefferson City
Hazelwood West opened the second day of the shootout, Dec. 10, with a late morning game 12 and a half hours after losing 68-64 at the St. Charles West Warrior Classic championship game to Lutheran North. West (3-1) completed a four-game, six day opening week with an 83-76 win over O’Fallon, Mo.-Christian High. The Wildcats won the game in the fourth quarter by outscoring the Eagles, 32-23.
“I’m proud of the kids, especially the way we came back after the tough loss (to Lutheran North),” said West coach Cary Lewis. “Fatigue is not an issue if you want to win.” Derrian Johnson led the Wildcats with 18 points while T.J. Ross, a transfer from Lutheran North, had seven assists and five steals.
Hazelwood West opens Suburban North play Dec. 16, 7 p.m. at Riverview Gardens.
McCluer North played the final game of the first night of the shootout 13 days after playing their most recent game at St. Francis Borgia and the Stars won 56-45 over Lee (Huntsville, Ala.) The Stars (3-1 prior to Dec. 12) dominated the middle two quarters (second and third) by outscoring Lee, 34-14.
Jordan Granger led the Stars with 18 points, making 10 out of 12 free throws, pulled down 13 rebounds, 12 on the defensive side, and blocked six shots.
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