Clippers post divisional win over Watervliet
The first quarter of the boys’ basketball showdown between host Martin and Watervliet on Friday, Jan. 10, couldn’t have started much worse for the Clippers.
And it couldn’t have finished much better.
After falling behind 8-0 to start the game, Martin regrouped to finish the opening period on a 16-1 run to go up 16-9 en route to posting the 51-43 victory.
It didn’t take Clippers coach Bradley Moelker long to identify his team’s issue at the start of the game.
“I know it’s so cliché, but it all starts with our defense,” he said. “We just had a short spurt where we were not communicating well and they took advantage of it.”
The defensive performance improved following a timeout. And it was Travis Thorne who led the charge.
“Travis was just a menace out there again tonight,” Moelker said. “He puts constant pressure on players without fouling. He is able to play that hard because he knows the four others on the court with him are there to help and rotate when needed.”
Thorne finished with eight steals.
While Thorne was the defensive catalyst for the Clippers, Collin Coburn was the same on the offensive side. Coburn went for a game-best 19 points.
“He’s playing with confidence and really understands the game this year,” Moelker said of Coburn.
Cayden Curry was next with nine points, followed by Mitchell Jager with eight.
“Mitchell was a big part of our fast turnaround in the first quarter,” Moelker said. “He is dangerous when he is shooting with confidence and he hit two big shots right when we needed him to.
It was nice to get contributions from a lot of different players on the offensive end.”
Moelker was especially pleased with the fact that his team was able to hang onto a late lead in this game, something the Clippers were unable to do three days earlier against West Michigan Aviation Academy.
“I was really proud of how the guys handled themselves during the final stretch of the game,” Moelker said. “On Tuesday night, we had a four-point lead and ended up throwing some preventable turnovers. It was nice to see that we learned from that and kept our composure.”
The Clippers lost the game to West Michigan Aviation Academy 43-39.
“I was definitely proud of the way we fought throughout that game,” Moelker said. “There were some times when things were not going our way that we could have fallen apart. But we continued to battle.
“We can’t complain about our defense. They are a talented team and we really worked hard to keep them to 41 points, which is about 20 below their season average. There are just some fine details that we need to fix in order to be great on that end.
Moelker credited Thorne and Coburn with leading the way defensively.
“Those two worked their butts off all night, running around out there,” Moelker said.