ONTARIO — Richland County’s most unselfish team continued to spread the wealth Thursday night at the O-Rena.
Clear Fork handed out 14 assists and four Colts scored in double figures in a 52-40 Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference win over Ontario.
Clear Fork (8-1, 5-0) used a familiar recipe to run its winning streak to eight straight games. The Colts had 14 assists on 22 made field goals and dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Warriors (4-4, 3-2) 39-27.
“We don’t care who scores, as long as we get the win,” said junior guard Brennan South, who had 11 points and four assists. “Everyone is getting involved. As long as everyone is scoring, everyone is happy.”
The Colts didn’t waste any time Thursday night, outscoring 17-2 in the opening six minutes of the first quarter. Five different players scored during the run.
“They make basketball so much fun,” Clear Fork coach Steve Bechtel said. “Sharing the basketball, pushing the basketball and finding the open guy … it is very enjoyable to be around them.”
Clear Fork led 17-8 after the first quarter and 26-18 at the half before Ontario made things interesting. The Warriors opened the third quarter on a 8-2 run and cut Clear Fork’s lead to 28-26 after a Kolten Kurtz 3-pointer with 6:17 to play in the period. The Colts outscored Ontario 12-2 the rest of the quarter and took a 40-28 lead to the fourth.
“You talk about the first three minutes of the game being important and the first three minutes of the (second) half,” Ontario coach Joe Balogh said. “They were really good the first three minutes (of the game).
“To start the second half I thought we were really good … but once we got it to two, then we had a couple wasted possessions.”
A.J. Blubaugh led Clear Fork with 12 points. South, Jared Schaefer and Brady Tedrow each had 11, while Gannon Seifert added seven. Schaefer grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds, all at the defensive end.
Jayden Jacobs paced Ontario with 10 points and six rebounds. Kurtz, Griffin Shaver and Parker VanArsdalen each had nine.
“We knew they were similar to us. They were balanced in scoring,” Bechtel said. “They could hit from the perimeter but they also had an inside presence as well.
“It was a huge challenge for us and I was glad we came away with the victory.”
Clear Fork will host Marion Harding on Saturday, while Ontario welcomes Galion to the O-Rena.
“The league is really, really tough,” Bechtel said. “Hopefully we can keep it rolling.”