South

Clear Fork junior Brennan South fires a pass as he drives the lane against Mansfield Christian on Saturday afternoon. South led the Colts with 14 points in a 60-31 win in the 419 Challenge.

ONTARIO -- Clear Fork coach Steven Bechtel didn't admit a 60-31 win against Mansfield Christian on Saturday erased the memories of last year's upset loss to the Flames.

But the veteran coach, whose team improved to 6-1 with a win in the opener of the annual 419 Challenge at Ontario High School, said his team passed a mental challenge.

"We knew coming in that mentally we had to stay more focused than anything," Bechtel said. "I thought our kids did as well a job as they possibly could have."

Clear Fork, winning its sixth straight after a season-opening loss to Lexington, demonstrated early a repeat of last year was not in the offing against the winless Flames (0-7).

The Colts outscored MCS 14-5 in the first quarter and 23-4 in the second to build a 32-9 halftime lead.

"We were just flat," said Mansfield Christian coach Adam Parrott, whose team lost a 48-47 thriller to Loudonville on Friday night. "We just had no energy. It's almost like we left everything on the floor last night and didn't have anything for today."

Berry

Mansfield Christian's Ethan Berry puts up a shot on Saturday in the 419 Challenge at Ontario High School, defended by Clear Fork's Jared Schaefer.

BALANCED SCORING: Ten different Colts scored in the victory, led by junior guard Brennan South with 14 -- 12 in the first half. Senior A.J. Blubaugh and junior Ethan Delaney each had 12.

"We freely subbed people in and got some of the younger kids some varsity experience just to see how they would react," Bechtel said.

"We just wanted the kids to value each possession. They knew (Mansfield Christian's) record coming in and that's hard to get young kids to understand .. to just go out and play the game of basketball. Don't play the scoreboard. Execute. I called some timeouts just to remind them of that and focus them again," Bechtel said.

Stigall

Mansfield Christian's Parker Stigall blocks a shot from Clear Fork's Kyle Glasener on Saturday in the 419 Challenge at Ontario High School.

No MCS player reached double figures. Senior Noah Cyphers and junior Gavin Kiliany each had six.

"We finally played the fourth quarter (outscoring the Colts 14-12). I was satisfied the way we fought at the end. It's just disappointing to close out the first half of the season with the way we played, especially in the first half," Parrott said.

UP NEXT: Clear Fork hosts Madison on Friday in a cross-county, non-league game. Mansfield Christian is idle until Jan. 4 when the Flames travel to Crestline for a Mid-Buckeye Conference game.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"

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