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Late comeback falls short for Clifton-Clyde, Eagles eliminated by Olpe

The Clifton-Clyde Eagles entered the 2024 state tournament with a strong focus and a team with athleticism and basketball intelligence that is rare to find in any other team in the state. No matter how the game against Olpe went this was a season to be proud of for Clifton-Clyde but still there was a chance to make something extra special.

As expected this one was back and forth early and at the first time out with 2:10 left in the 1st it was Olpe 6 Clifton-Clyde 4.

CCE would retake the lead with a Jack Skocny coast to coast, to the rack. He makes it AND 1. Behind 9 early points for Skocny it was an11-8 advantage for Clifton-Clyde. Jack was far from done in this game, however. Olpe would get back within 1 to end the quarter at 11-10.

In the 2nd, Olpe went on a strong run to take an 18-11 lead with just under 5 minutes left before half. Clifton-Clyde would cut the lead with an Oliver Nobert jumper to make it 18-14.

That jumper by Nobert is significant because it was the only time a Clifton-Clyde Eagle other than one Jack Skocny would make a shot from the field in the first half. Skocny went into the halftime locker room with 13 of Clifton-Clyde’s 16 and Justin Steinbrock’s team trailed after two quarters 22-16.

In the 2nd half, Olpe started to get in foul trouble and with 5:39 left in the third the Eagles would be at the line for what was the first of 14 free throws in the 2nd half. They would make 11 of those 14 to keep this game close late.

With the game at a 26-22 Olpe advantage with 2:37 left in the 3rd, Olpe’s Abbot Bailey hit back to back threes to make the lead 32-22. They would make it 11 by the end of the 3rd quarter at 40-29.

Shortly into the 4th, Skocny would collect his 19th point to bring it within single digits again. Skocny would go on to make the next 6 points for Clifton-Clyde including an old fashioned 3 point play giving him 25 and bring the deficit to just 4 at 42-38 with 4:29 left to go.

Olpe would maintain that 4 point lead for the next few minutes as Clifton-Clyde just wasn’t able to break through. The last proverbial punches were thrown with just under 1 minute to go. Olpe's Blake Skalsky with the old-fashioned 3 point play to make the lead 8. Then Jack Skocny said "I'll just take care of that in one shot" and drills from deep. Skocny finished with 28, Clifton-Clyde trailed by 5.

Unfortunately for Clifton-Clyde that was their final swing as both teams went cool to end the quarter as fatigue and the hard nosed style of this game started to take it’s toll on both teams.

The Eagles fought and fought in this game. They trailed by 11 going into the 4th quarter and got it back to within 3 but CCE is going to fall just short. Final score 58-50.

A valiant effort and a terrific season for Coach Steinbrock and his team. Clifton-Clyde ends the season 20-4.

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