Kingston: They've come a long way, baby

KINGSTON — So close, yet so far.

It looked like the Kingston Buccaneers were finally going to get their first elusive win this season over the Olympic Trojans. But even senior Jack Clearman's stellar 27-point performance wasn't enough to clinch the victory.

Drawing on a source of energy mere mortals can only dream about, the Bucs nearly matched the Trojans basket for basket in the first half. At the half, the Bucs were down 36-27, but this is is one of those cases when score was not akin to the action on the court.

Clearman and sophomore sensation Aaron Lawrence clicked in a telepathic level on both offense and defense. Although Clearman and Lawrence gave stand-out performance, every Buc on the court pulled the crowd in like never before. Lawrence used his 5-foot, 5-inch stature to his advantage, weaving through the Trojans offense and to come up with four steals, while Clearman sunk three-pointers like he was wearing an invisible magic cape.

The exhausted Bucs left nothing on the court. By the end of the third quarter, the score 48-41 in the Trojans favor, the Bucs had nothing left to give. The fourth quarter proved fatal to the Bucs, with the Trojans outscoring them 16-7 for a final score of 64-48.

Trojan seniors Joey Johnston and Andre Henderson both shot scary accurate, hitting 22 and 13 points respectively.

Although the game was lopsided in the fourth quarter, the Trojans had nothing but props for the Bucs.

Trojans coach Devin Huff said he'd heard some buzz that the Bucs are vastly improved in the second half of the season. After Friday night's game, he thoroughly agrees.

"All the coaches who have played them in the second half have said the same thing: They've improved," Huff said. "They aren't the same team they were in the first half of the season."

Huff credits the team's improved play to coach Tim Olson and to the Bucs' effort on the court.

"He's just a great coach. They couldn't have a better coach than that," Huff said. "These guys aren't a joke. They aren't the Bad News Bears. They have some guys who do some really good things."

Henderson was critical of his own performance but not of the Bucs.

"I think I did well, but I could have done better from the freethrow line," said Henderson, who hit four for nine from the line. "Kingston improved. The last time we played them, we blew it open. This time, they were able to hang with us until the fourth quarter."

Lawrence agreed with that assessment.

"I'm happy with the way we played," Lawrence said. "We played a full and actual game. We're clicking on the court now. Everybody is starting to hang out with each other now and things are starting to go our way."

Lawrence added he believed the team achieved a "moral victory" on the court Friday night before jokingly taunting Clearman as a "ball hog."

"I thought this was a game we could win," Clearman said. "I know a couple of guys on the team, so I wanted to play a little harder. I didn't want to leave anything on the court."

While the players were spent at the end of the game, Olson's spot on the side of the court wasn't exactly restful.

"Ah, man ... I'm beat," he said, summing up the game as only he can. "We believe we can play now. Thanks a big difference from the first half of the season. We're doing far more things right than we are wrong."

Olympic 64 Kingston 48

Olympic 12 15 21 16 — 64

Kingston 9 18 14 7 — 48

Olympic—Joey Johnston 22, Andre Henderson 13, Larry Dixon 10, Vaughn Jones 6, Daniel Johnston 5, Deanzelo Thomas 4, Justin Sena 3, Kyle Featherstone 1.

Kingston—Jack Clearman 27, Aaron Lawrence 6, Justin Wing 4, Ry Ravenholt 3, Alex VanDeen 2, Richie Urie 2, Chris Hall 2, Paul Begala 2.

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