It was an up and down start to the week for the Nokomis boys basketball team, who split a pair of games in the Metro-East on March 1 and 2.
While the results were mixed, there was one constant - the three-point shooting of senior Ben Clavin, who made nine threes in the Redskins’ two games.
Six of those threes came in the victory over Father McGivney to start the week as the Redskins eeked out a 44-41 victory.
Clavin hit his first three in the opening quarter, but the Griffins held Nokomis to just three more points, coming off a Kendall Knodle bucket and a Seth Johnson free throw.
Down 11-6 going into the second, Clavin went off, hitting four threes and leading Nokomis to a 21-12 advantage in the quarter and a 27-23 halftime lead.
Father McGivney would shave two points off the lead in the third, but Clavin hit another three and Johnson knocked down four more points to keep the Griffins from gaining any more ground.
When Nokomis needed to hit free throws, they did that too, going 4-for-4 in the fourth as they outscored McGivney 8-7 to escape with a three-point win.
Clavin finished the game with 19 points, hitting a fourth quarter charity toss to go along with his six threes.
Jake Johnson added eight points, six of which came in the fourth quarter, while Seth Johnson finished with seven.
Elijah Aumann, in his first game back after a two-week quarantine, scored five, while Kendall Knodle (two), Reece Lohman (two) and Ryan Eisenbarth (one) finished out the scoring.
In Tuesday’s game, the Redskins ran into a buzzsaw in the form of Metro-East Lutheran senior A.J. Smith, who entered the game needing 25 points to reach 1,000 for his career. Smith would do that and more as he scored a career best 31 to lead the Knights to a 69-42 win.
Smith sparked a barrage of threes in the opening quarter hitting three of his team’s five treys in the first eight minutes. He’d also hit a trio of twos, giving him 15 points in the Knight’s 23-point first quarter.
Nokomis would be outscored in all four quarters, but the next three were all closer than the 13-point margin in the first frame. The Knights would edge the Redskins 17-12, 19-13 and 10-7 to collect their seventh win of the season, while Nokomis fell to 7-5, despite scoring just three points under their season average.
Ben Clavin remained hot from three-point land as he hit three bombs for nine of his team-high 11 points. Seth Johnson had Nokomis’ only other three, accounting for a third of his nine points.
Kendall Knodle and Ryan Eisenbarth would add a half dozen each, with freshman Reece Lohman contributing 4. Nolan Himes, Cooper Bertolino and Jake Johnson rounded out the scoring with two points apiece as Nokomis had their three-game win streak snapped.
An opportunity for a new streak came on Wednesday, March 3, at Edinburg, with games at South County on March 5, and at home against Bunker Hill on March 6, scheduled to round out the week.
March 1 at Glen Carbon
Nokomis 6 21 9 8 44
Fr McGivney 11 12 11 7 41
Nokomis (44) - Ben Clavin 19, Jake Johnson 8, Seth Johnson 7, Elijah Aumann 5, Kendall Knodle 2, Reece Lohman 2, Ryan Eisenbarth 1. Totals: 16 5-6 44.
Father McGivney (41) - Jackson Rogers 22, Darren Luchetti 12, Jacob Huber 6, Justin Wenos 1. Totals: 9 20-30 41.
Three-point field goals: Nokomis 7 (Clavin 6, Aumann 1); Father McGivney 3 (Rogers 2, Huber 1).
March 2 at Edwardsville
Nokomis 10 12 13 7 42
Metro-East Luth. 23 17 19 10 69
Nokomis (42) - Ben Clavin 11, Seth Johnson 9, Kendall Knodle 6, Ryan Eisenbarth 6, Reece Lohman 4, Nolan Himes 2, Cooper Bertolino 2, Jake Johnson 2. Totals: 17 1-4 42.
Metro-East Lutheran (69) - A.J. Smith 31, DaMarcus Bean 10, Rodrick Homes 8, Luke Neath 7, Zion Tucker 5, Champ Chipman 3, Joseph Haynes 2, Derek Scott 2. Totals: 29 2-4 69.
Records: Nokomis (); Metro-East Lutheran (7-3).