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Clymer takes step toward Division 2 West crown

February 8, 2017
By Matt Spielman - , Westfield Republican

CLYMER - Entering this season, it looked like it would be a two-horse race between the Chris Robson-led Sherman Wildcats and Cordell O'Brien's Frewsburg Bears for the CCAA Division 2 West crown.

Somebody forgot to tell the Clymer Pirates.

After not seeing the floor in their previous game against Westfield, Corey Neckers came off the bench Thursday night to hit a pair of huge 3-pointers and the Pirates rallied for a 57-52 victory over the Bears to take control of their own destiny for an outright league title.

Article Photos

Photo by Matt Spielman
Clymer’s Dustin Neckers shoots over Frewsburg’s Cordell O’Brien during the first half of Thursday’s CCAA Division 2 West boys basketball game in Clymer.

"We had a little talk with him and he made some big baskets for us tonight," Clymer coach Dan White said. "He was a huge lift off that bench. We've been struggling hitting that outside shot. Hitting those two big 3s was key for us."

Clymer improved to 7-1 in the league with games against Cassadaga Valley and Panama next week before a likely first-place showdown at Sherman on Feb. 13.

Frewsburg's Caleb Caldwell attempts a layup while being defended by Clymer's Henry Sullivan (13). P-J photo by Matt Spielman

Frewsburg's Caleb Caldwell attempts a layup while being defended by Clymer's Henry Sullivan (13). P-J photo by Matt Spielman

"We know we have to face Sherman again," White said. "It's going to be a tough road playing at Sherman, but this was a big confidence boost for us."

Frewsburg fell to 8-2 in the league with games against Westfield and Cassadaga Valley remaining. The Bears (12-4) now likely need Sherman to beat the Pirates for the three to tie for the Division 2 West crown.

"I hope we learn from this. We've got to play with a little more composure down the stretch," Frewsburg coach Tom Nelson said. "We lost our poise. We've got four seniors on the floor who have to learn to handle that pressure better than that."

Frewsburg took a five-point lead on a Tyler Marchincin 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter, but Clymer (10-5) answered with a pair of Dustin Neckers free throws and a 3-pointer from Justin Svetz with 2:24 remaining.

"He's been struggling from outside the arc," White said of Svetz. "He's been doing a great job of dribble-driving and finishing at the rim. He hit a big shot. Seniors step up in those kind of moments."

Frewsburg took the lead back when O'Brien and Quinn Conlan hit free throws on consecutive possessions for a 52-50 lead.

Josh VanEarden answered with a free throw for Clymer and the Pirates stole the ensuing Frewsburg inbounds pass. The hosts eventually found Corey Neckers open for a 3-pointer that gave the Pirates a 54-52 lead with 1:21 remaining.

"I stressed to them, be big with your hands," White said about the steal on the inbounds pass. "They played it right into our hands and our boys made a nice play on it."

The Bears missed an open corner 3-pointer on their next possession before turning the ball over on their final three possessions of the game.

"Some of that was them playing well defensively, but we didn't take care of the ball," Nelson said. "Our collars got a little tight. We didn't execute the way we needed to. We got a little excited and forgot what we really needed to do."

The first half turned into the O'Brien Show for Frewsburg as the senior, who is closing in on 1,000 points for his career, scored 20 of his team's 26 points in the opening 16 minutes.

"I want there to be more balance. I thought he was forcing some things when we needed other people to score," Nelson said. "The other guys have got to contribute and not just always look to him."

Josh VanEarden hit a big 3-pointer to give Clymer a two-point lead late in the third period, but Brad Nelson answered with a slick reverse layup to tie the game at 36-all. Robert Overton then scored to give the Pirates a 38-36 lead that turned into a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

"They are well balanced," Coach Nelson said. "I thought our defense was pretty good at times, but they would dribble-penetrate, find the open man and hit shots."

O'Brien finished with 28 points, five rebounds and seven steals while Conlan grabbed 10 rebounds and Nyle Bird handed out seven assists.

Dustin Neckers finished with 17 points, six rebounds and three steals while VanEarden had 13 points to go along with four assists. Jordan Wade also had four assists and Svetz picked up three steals in the win.

"We made a ladder and the next-to-top rung is to win our league," White said. "These boys have put in a lot of hard work from the offseason until right now. They are buying into what we are trying to sell. They are taking full ownership of it and it's awesome to watch."

NOTES: The game featured 11 ties and 20 lead changes. Clymer was 21 of 45 from the field, including 6 of 12 from 3-point range. Frewsburg was 19 of 42 from the field, including 2 of 11 from 3-point range. Frewsburg won the jayvee game, 53-44, behind 18 points from Dan Reinagel, 13 from Nolan Brink and 10 from Connor Rodgers. Lucas Beckerink, Garrit Hinsdale and Zavon Overton each scored 12 for Clymer.


Nelson 2 0 4, Piazza 0 0 0, O'Brien 11 6 29, Bird 2 2 6, Bjork 0 0 0, Caldwell 1 1 3, Marchincin 3 0 7, Conlan 0 3 3. Totals 19 12 52.


CNeckers 4 0 10, VanEarden 5 1 13, Svetz 2 0 5,Sullivan 0 0 0, Overton 2 0 5, DNeckers 6 5 17, Wiggers 0 0 0, Wade 0 2 2, Davis 2 1 5. Totals 21 9 57.

3-point goals - O'Brien, Marchincin, CNeckers 2, VanEarden 2, Svetz, Overton.

Frewsburg 11 15 11 15 - 52

Clymer 12 13 13 19 - 57

Jayvees: Frewsburg won, 53-44.



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