Things looked to be going well for the Clarke boys basketball team here Monday against Pleasantville.
After the Trojans jumped out to quick lead on Clarke, the Indians battled back and Dylan Diveney hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the first quarter with the Indians trailing just 14-13.
Pleasantville scored the first four points of the second quarter, but Diveney knocked down a jumper and then Colin Morris got a steal and layup, drawing a foul to cut the lead to 18-17, with a chance to tie it up at 18.
But, after a missed free throw, Pleasantville responded with a quick 9-0 run to go up 10 before taking a 31-20 lead into the half.
“They had very good defensive pressure,” Clarke head coach James Larson said. “In the first half, they got some steals and they got some easy layups. That’s how they got their lead. That kind of hurt us. Even getting those tipped passes, that disrupts our offense.”
Pleasantville put the game away in the opening moments of the third quarter as Josh Luna hit a 3-pointer and Trever Zoss sank a pair of 3-pointers to quickly stretch the lead to 40-20.
“Number 34 (Luna) killed us pretty good,” Larson said. “Got to give him credit, because we even got some hands up and he still made them. He played well tonight.”
Luna finished with 19 points, while Zoss totaled 20 for the Trojans.
Clarke fell to 3-9 with the loss, but Larson even though recent scores may not show it, he is seeing improvement from his team.
“I’ve definitely seen improvement with our boxing out,” Larson said. “Tonight, specifically. I saw a lot of our players make contact, box them out and then go get the rebound, so they’ve done a very good job. We just have to eliminate the easy points. We give them too many easy points where they don’t earn it. I think we’ve definitely taken some steps, but we still have a long way to go.”
Clarke also fell to Eddyville-Blakesburg, 75-53, on Friday.
The Indians received a balanced scoring effort as Diveney, Matt Blanchard and Morris each finished in double figures, but a 21-9 fourth quarter run by Eddyville-Blakesburg helped to put the game out of reach.
Diveney led the Indians with 14 points and 10 rebounds to go with three steals and two assists. Blanchard added 13 points with six rebounds and Morris finished with 11 points. Jared Jamison pitched in eight points with five assists. Brin Evins added three points with seven rebounds and Drew Wishon scored four points.
Clarke takes on Albia on Friday in a game that Larson said he is excited for.
Albia won the first contest in Osceola on Dec. 14, 76-59.
“We have Albia on Friday, which I’m excited about,” Larson said. “They beat us pretty good here. Even though scores we’ve had recently haven’t been as good, I know we’ve gotten better. I feel like, hopefully, we can turn the page on Albia, because they had some kids that hit some big shots on us. We’re going to go in with a little different gameplan.”