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Reinhardt Leads Clarence Boys Basketball to Big Win at Williamsville North

The smallest guy on the smaller team had the biggest game. That led to a big-time statement win for the Clarence High School boys basketball team.

River Reinhardt scored 29 points and the Red Devils rattled the early ECIC I standings with a 61-54 win over previously-undefeated Williamsville North on the road Tuesday night.

“We were out-sized but you make up for that with your heart,” the 5-foot-9 Reinhardt said. “I told everybody before the game we need that with every rebound, every loose ball, and tonight we got that.”

The Red Devils came in on a two-game losing skid that followed a 3-0 start and had lost five of their last six against the neighboring rival Spartans. Williamsville North also entered at 4-0 and had two ECIC I wins under its belt.

The Red Devils still weren’t deterred and they bounced right back into the division race.

“It was just great tenacity,” Clarence junior guard Cole Harris said. “We came into this knowing we can battle with anybody. It doesn’t matter if you’re taller than us, we’re still going to be ready. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. If we come out playing like we know we can, we’re expecting the W.”

Clarence led throughout the first half as the Spartans struggled from the free throw line and on the boards. The Red Devils led by as many as 10 in the first half but the Spartans had an answer and climbed back to within 23-22 at halftime. And then senior Joe Nusall, who led his team with 21 points, gave Williamsville North its first lead with a 3-pointer just seven seconds into the second half. But that’s when Reinhardt went to work. He scored 12 points in the decisive third quarter, despite North’s tight double-team defense on him most of the time.

“Everyone in the gym knows River is going to score and he’s our best player and he still goes for 29,” Clarence coach Doug Ratka said. “That’s what you get with a three-year starter. He’s a coach on the floor out there and he knows how to play.”

Harris scored 15 points – including four clutch free throws that thwarted North’s desperation late comeback in the final minute of the fourth quarter. Jack Putney scored eight points and Zach Ianello seven for the Red Devils (4-2 overall, 2-1 ECIC I).

Jacob Belote scored 15 points and Jonathan Abaya added nine for the Spartans (5-1, 2-1 ECIC I).

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