BELLVILLE — Carleigh Pearson went to work in the fourth quarter.
Ontario’s senior playmaker, Pearson scored 11 of her game-high 24 points in the decisive final period as Warriors pulled away for a 58-46 win over Clear Fork on Wednesday at Les Hauenstein Gym,
The Warriors (1-2, 1-1 Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference) led 38-34 when Pearson took over. She knocked down a long 3-pointer less than a minute into the final period, part of a game-clinching 13-4 run during the first four minutes of the fourth. Her mid-range jumper with 4:10 remaining gave Ontario a 51-38 lead.
“That’s being a senior,” Ontario coach Mitch Willeke said. “She’s not rushing a whole lot. Everything is in rhythm. It’s being senior tough for us.”
Clear Fork (2-4, 1-1) responded with a 5-0 run to make it 51-43 with 3:19 to play, but Pearson iced it with a conventional three-point play with 1:27 remaining, giving Ontario a 56-43 lead.
“I started off slow. I wasn’t making my 3 shots,” Pearson said. “I went in the locker room (at halftime) and just talked to my teammates. Once all of us are pumped up then we just get on a roll.”
Ontario led 11-9 after the first quarter and 26-22 at the half. The Warriors opened the third on a 8-2 run to take a 34-24 lead, but Clear Fork closed the third on a 10-2 run to make it 38-34.
“We knew they were going to make a run,” Willeke said. “You had a feeling in that third quarter they will come out … I don’t think the pressure necessarily got to us. We just went kind of cold.”
The Warriors outscored the Colts 20-12 in the fourth.
“We’ve struggled in the fourth quarter a lot this year,” Clear Fork coach Scott Sellers said. “The run to start (the fourth quarter) put enough space to where some of that self-doubt came back in.
"We’re trying to get out of that. We’ve had that here for the last five or six years. It’s certainly something we’re trying to build out of.”
Haley Guisinger backed Pearson with 10 points for the Warriors. Izzy Graaf added eight.
Junior center Bekah Conrad paced the Colts with 11 points. Josie Schwaner and Pacey Chrastina each had 10, while Lilly Wortman added nine.