All five starters scored in double figures and Clarksville used a 20-point third-quarter run to beat Alma, 66-42, on Friday in the 5A-West opener.
Clarksville (11-3, 1-0) won its 37th consecutive conference game, including last year’s 14-0 romp through the 5A-West.
“This group of seniors have not lost a conference, dating back to the 4A-4,” Clarksville head coach Tony Davis said. “It’s good for us to come in here and get that first one. We want to take it one game at a time, survive and advance in the 5A-West.”
Friday, Jake Folkerts scored inside for Alma 27 seconds into the second half and the Airedales took a 25-24 lead.
“The pace was in our favor in the first half,” Alma head coach Stan Flenor said. “We did an excellent job of executing and guarding. We got to the basket and got some easy baskets inside. I was real pleased with that. We knew they were going to come out and press us a little bit.”
Alma (8-4, 0-1) didn’t score again for almost six minutes and Clarksville reeled off a 20-0 run.
“That always helps,” Davis said. “We predicated on runs. When we finally make a few shots, our defense gets better. The two go hand in hand. We’re not bad. We have a chance to be very competitive.”
The Panthers did it about every way possible with all five starters getting into the action. Kendrick Lee bombed in a 3-pointer, Northside move-in Deontae Woodbridge scored inside and threw down a slam. Freshman Casey Benton converted a three-point play by adding a free throw after being fouled on a fast-break layup.
Jerren Thompson finished a pair of layups and Freddy lee hit a couple of free throws.
“They make it awfully tough on you,” Flenor said. “When you make a mistake, they’re getting an easy one on the other end and doubling up on you.”
Clarksville hit its first nine shots in the third quarter to break away while Alma missed 11 in a row after Folkerts scored to open the quarter.
‘”It looked like we got a little tired,” Flenor said. “We were clicking at all offensively in the third quarter. Our shots weren’t falling. We were a little short here and a little short there, but they’re an outstanding basketball team. They’re awfully talented.”
Freddy Lee led all scorers with 17 points and Kendrick Lee added 14. Woodbridge scored 12 points, Benton added 11 and Thompson 10.
Braylon Parker led Alma with 12 points.
Alma 61, Clarksville 43 (Women’s)
The Airedalettes missed just one shot in the second half before they went to the bench with the game firmly in hand.
Alma (8-4, 1-0) hit 12-of-13 shots in the first 14 minutes of the second half and put the game away with an 18-0 run.
“That covers up a lot of mistakes,” Alma head coach Madelyn Flenor said. “We shot it well, and our selection was good. When you take good shots, you have a better chance of making them and we had some layups, too.”
After Clarksville’s Blake Hurley drove for a bucket to slice Alma’s lead to 43-40 to open the fourth quarter, the Airedalettes answered with 18 points during the next six minutes.
Cierra Rainwater scored eight of her 10 points in the fourth-quarter scoring run, including a wide-open bucket off a dish from Robin Stewart on an in-bounds pass to open the spree. Stewart added a pair of baskets, one following a steal. Lania Wright also converted a steal into a layup and added two free throws in the run. Hailey Ostrander hit two free throws to cap the run and added a pair of assists.
“We are really a rhythm and momentum team,” Flenor said. “When we get on a run, we play really well together. I thought we were a little flat, but we played really, really well in the fourth quarter.”
Alma used an 11-point flurry to wipe out a 21-18 second-quarter deficit and take the lead for good.
“In the first half, we gave up some shot opportunities for the other team,” Flenor said. “We cut those down in the second half.”
Cassie Cochran came off the bench to spark the run with a 3-pointer from the corner with 3:18 left in the half. She added a layup and a steal, and another 3-pointer with 1:23 left to push Alma up, 26-21. Stewart capped the 11-0 run with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 19 seconds left in the half.
“Coming off the break, both teams looked tired I thought,” Flenor said. “We handled it a little bit better than they did. They have some kids coming off injuries. The press paid off for us late.”
Stewart led Alma with 12 points. Wright added 11 points and Rainwater 10.
Lindsey Hover scored 15 points for Clarksville (1-10, 0-1).