David Schuessler’s team hadn’t seen the full-court press this season and it certainly hadn’t seen it from an athletic team such as Manual. But though Clear Creek was able to figure it out once, it couldn’t twice on Dec. 10 on the first night of the two-day Golddigger Invitational.
Manual scored 15 of the game’s first 17 points, but it took a second such charge — a 17-5 run to end the first half — to push the visiting Thunderbolts to a 73-52 win over Clear Creek.
“We knew that they were going to press. I think the hardest part about it is that we hadn’t been pressed the whole year and so we hadn’t been tested on it,” Clear Creek head coach Schuessler said. “We practiced it the best we could in practice, but to be honest we don’t have the kind of athletes they have to replicate the quickness they throw at you. I wish we could’ve got that experience in a different way.”
Khalid Shareef scored 13 of his 19 points in the first quarter and Rosalio Pimentell also added 19 for Manual, which beat Middle Park, 84-29, in its second game of the tournament.
Schuessler called two timeouts in the game’s first 3 minutes, 35 seconds — the first just 45 seconds in with Manual up 4-0 and another after a Myles Mack-Lynch layup closed out the Thunderbolts’ opening run. The second one worked as Clear Creek (3-2), which bounced back to defeat Battle Mountain, 47-41, on Dec. 11, rolled off a 19-8 run of its own after breaking the press.
Xander Andrade scored 13 of his game-high 24 points in the first half — 11 in the first quarter. His final two points of the half rallied the Golddiggers from the early deficit to within 23-21 with 6 minutes, 17 seconds left before intermission. But, just like it had to open the game, Manual’s full-court press got the better of Clear Creek again. Manual (3-0) led by 16 late in the first half before winning by 21.
“They were great athletes, great athletes. When we started to break the press we weren’t getting guys in the middle, not moving the ball like we should,” Andrade said. “Then when we started coming back we broke the press right, got layups, started taking them out of their rhythm. Then when we stopped doing that they got back into their game. That’s all it was.”
The Golddiggers never got closer than 12 points after the break. Phillip Sprung was the only other player in double figures for Clear Creek with 11 points.
MANUAL 73, CLEAR CREEK 52
CLEAR CREEK 15-11-15-11—52
MANUAL: Chris Johnston 1 0-0 2; Myles Mack-Lynch 2 0-0 4; Khalid Shareef 8 3-3 19; David Dunehew 3 0-0 7; Benito Zamora 5 1-2 11; Michael Burnett 5 103 11; Rosalio Pimentell 9 1-1 19. TOTALS: 33 6-9 73.
CLEAR CREEK: Jacob Cook 1 2-3 4; Sebby Andrade 1 1-2 3; Connor Gunderson 2 2-2 6; Xander Andrade 11 1-3 24; Cory Kerr 0 0-0 0; Jackson Weiger 1 0-0 2; Phillip Sprung 5 1-1 11; Kellen Cosby 1 0-4 2. TOTALS: 22 7-15 52.
3-POINTERS: Manual — Dunehew; Clear Creek — X. Andrade; FOULED OUT: None; TECHNICAL FOULS: None