Hayden Callen Helps C-L Steal Momentum, KSAC North Back from North Clarion

| February 2, 2019

FRILLS CORNERS, Pa. (D9Sports) – Momentum is a funny thing.

(Photo: C-L’s Hayden Callen was the Hager Paving Player of the Game)

Relisten to the game:

One minute it’s there, the next minute it’s gone and the next minute the other team has it.

For Clarion-Limestone, the momentum went its way when it mattered the most, and the Lions now control their own destiny for a sixth straight KSAC North title after a 56-43 road win over North Clarion Friday night.

“I couldn’t be happier with where we are at,” sophomore forward Hayden Callen, who had a game-high 21 points to go with 10 rebounds and three steals while being named the Hager Paving Player of the Game, said.

Hayden Callen helped C-L have the momentum when it counted the most scoring 13 of his 21 points in the final 9:27 of the game after North Clarion had seemingly stolen all of the momentum with a 9-1 run that tied the game at 31 on a Kyle Mills basket with 1:50 to play in the third quarter.

But with the home crowd alive for perhaps the first time on a night in which the home team struggled mightily from the field shooting 30.9 percent (17 of 55), and one of C-L’s best players, Deion Deas, on the bench with an newly sprained ankle (he did hobble his way back onto the court in the fourth quarter), it was Callen who rose to the occasion.

He hit two free throws at the 1:27 mark to give C-L a lead it would never relinquish again, 33-31, and then scored again with 1:05 left to make it 35-31.

After Mills, who scored 15 points and hauled down 16 rebounds, got an offensive putback, it was again Hayden Callen getting fouled, this time with 4.4 seconds left in the third quarter, and hitting both free throws to extend the Lions lead back to four, 37-33, heading to the final eight minutes.

The run continued for C-L at the start of the fourth quarter with the Lions scoring the first six points of the quarter, the final two on a basket by Hayden Callen, to push the lead to 10, 43-33.

North Clarion never got closer than six points the rest of the way, and now the North is once again C-L’s to lose. The Lions can clinch their sixth straight division title by winning their remaining two KSAC North contests – at Venango Catholic Feb. 6 and home to Cranberry Feb. 8 – and by beating Keystone Monday, Feb. 4, which would give them the tiebreaker over North Clarion, even if the Wolves win their remaining KSAC North games – Feb. 6 at Clarion and Feb. 8 vs. Venango Catholic.

“It feels good,” C-L head coach Joe Ferguson said. “But we don’t have a lot of time to think about it. We didn’t even talk about the game against Keystone, which is another huge game Monday night. We are going to ride this out into the evening and into (Saturday) morning when we have practice.”

The Lions won in part because they were able to contain a North Clarion offense that came into the game averaging 72.7 ppg including putting up 79 in a 79-47 win at C-L in December.

But the Wolves were never able to get on track Friday night and finished with a season-low 43 points. The shots never really fell, but especially not early when North Clarion was 3 of 17 from the field in the first quarter while falling behind by 10 points, 16-6, at the end of the quarter.

“We started out coming out with fire,” Hayden Callen said. “We started out hot.”

Watch all of Hayden Callen’s thoughts on the win.

Ferguson credited Mitch Knepp with C-L being able to contain the inside game of North Clarion, which also features 6-foot-4 Tyler McCord-Wolbert alongside of the 6-7 Mills, who scored seven of his 15 points in the third quarter.

“We call (Knepp) the wall,” Ferguson said. “In the league, I think Mitch is the closest one to being able to neutralize Kyle. Kyle is such a force. We really tried to double him, and Ian (Callen) is so strong in there too, so between the two of them (Knepp and Ian Callen) I felt that was our best chance. And hope that they didn’t knock down their 3-pointers.”

Ferguson got his wish about the 3-pointer as well, as North Clarion managed just three long balls on the night.

Deas added 13 points for the Lions, including 10 in the first half, despite suffering a sprained ankle in the third quarter (he did play some in the fourth quarter although he was not at 100 percent), while Ian Callen chipped in nine points, 12 rebounds and three steals.

Logan Minich chipped in nine points for North Clarion.

The win pushed C-L’s record to 14-3 overall and 7-1 in the KSAC South with North Clarion falling to 16-2 and 7-1 in league play. The Lions, as mentioned before, are at Keystone Monday, Feb. 4, while North Clarion travels to DuBois Central Catholic Monday.


Score by Quarters

Clarion-Limestone 16 6 15 19 – 56
North Clarion 6 11 16 10 – 43


Deion Deas 5 1-2 13, Julian Laugand 1 1-2 3, Ayden Wiles 0 0-0 0, Ian Callen 3 2-4 9, Curvin Goheen 2 0-0 4, Kaden Park 0 0-0 0, Hayden Callen 6 7-7 21, Mitch Knepp 2 2-2 6. Totals 19 13-17 56.


Sam Minich 3 1-2 7, Jacob Bauer 0 0-0 0, Logan Minich 2 4-4 9, Korey Mills 3 0-0 7, Tyler McCord-Wolbert 1 0-0 2, Zyler Hargenrader 0 0-0 0, Devon Walers 1 0-0 3, Kyle Mills 7 1-2 15. Totals 17 6-8 43.

Three-pointers: C-L 5 (Deas 2, Hayden Callen 2, Ian Callen). North Clarion 3 (Logan Minich, Korey Mills, Walters).

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