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Clarence Holds Off West Seneca West For Big ECIC I Win

With the game tied and less than two minutes left on the clock at Clarence High School, everyone in the gym knew River Reinhardt was going to get the basketball for the home team. He scored anyway.

Reinhardt’s runner with 1:35 left in the game put the Red Devils ahead to stay and Clarence gutted out a 64-58 win over West Seneca West in ECIC I action on Thursday night.

“We want the ball in his hands and he knows that and he’s going to make plays,” Clarence coach Doug Ratka said. “He’s our leader and the guys look to him, and a lot of other guys stepped up too.”

Reinhardt led the way with 27 points – and after West took its first and only lead of the game midway through the fourth quarter, the standout senior scored the game’s next six points to put the game back into control.

“I was looking to be aggressive,” he said. “It’s tough trying to drive against the zone but we did a good job of spreading it around and then penetrating gaps.”

The Red Devils led for almost the entire night but couldn’t put the defending champs away until the final seconds. Clarence built a double-digit lead at times but West Seneca West continued to hang tough and finally took its first lead of the night on Connor Schermerhorn’s 3-pointer with 4:48 left. Reinhardt tied it with a bucket with 3:02 left and then hit again. After Zach Ianello drew a charge to get the Red Devils the ball back again, the third-year starting point guard drove to the basket for the eventual winner. Reinhardt added a pair of free throws.

“There were a lot of peaks and valleys in that game,” said Lancaster senior forward Jack Putney, who tacked on two free throws in the final seconds to seal it. “We just gotta stick together as a team. There’s nothing we can do individually we all do our one-fifth together then it’s going to work out how we want it.”

Putney finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Red Devils and was a force inside and out, hitting three 3-pointers outside and grabbing 10 rebounds inside, despite standing just 6-foot-1 going against taller opponents.

“He’s an incredible athlete,” Ratka said. “It’s funny when I talk to people I’ve met coaching and tell them baseball is his No. 1 sport, they’re like, ‘Wait, what?” Because he does so much in football and basketball. He’s an athlete and he just gets it. We’re not a tall team so he has to go get rebounds against bigger kids. He knows it and he goes and gets them. That’s just his mentality.”

Ianello added nine points, all on 3-pointers for Clarence (7-2 overall and 3-1 in ECIC I). Jackson Wurtz hit two 3-point goals in the first few minutes to start the scoring and ended with eight points,

For WSW (4-6, 2-2 ECIC I), Nate Ryniec scored 21 points, including six of the game’s combined 23 3-pointers. Adrian Baugh added 16 points and Schermerhorm 12 for the Indians.

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