Clyde can’t slow Truckers

MANSFIELD Price Carter was upset.

The 7-year-old redhead came out of the Clyde locker room with tears streaming down his face.

Seconds later, his father, Clyde head coach Ryan Carter came out and pulled his son aside.

“That’s life. Sometimes these things happen in life,” coach Carter told his son. “Keep your head baby. I love you.”

It was a piece of advice he gave his son about life.

Sometimes you fell the giants.

Sometimes the giants clobber you.

On Wednesday night in the Division II district semifinal at Mansfield Senior High School, the giants or Norwalk (24-1) in this case won the battle, downing the Fliers, 74-45.

“I was proud of our kids’ effort. They played their tails off,” coach Carter said. “They made some plays in the third quarter, both offensively and defensively. They took some things away that we were doing in the first half and were able to score in transition and that’s what they do.”

The game wasn’t a blowout the entire time. But like their namesake, the Truckers, once Norwalk started going in the second half, it was too hard to slow them down.

“I don’t know if the final score was indicative of how the whole game went. I thought we had opportunities. We took their best punch early on and was able to keep it close. I was proud of our kids. I know we lost and it was a pretty big margin but I thought our kids played with a lot of heart and we just didn’t make enough plays. That was the difference.”

Norwalk put it into fourth gear in the third quarter. Clyde (16-8) had cut it to one, 32-31, on an Eric Wiseman bucket a minute and a half into the quarter.

Norwalk then went on a 12-0 run keyed by four Clyde turnovers and three missed buckets.

“That’s sort of what we do,” Norwalk coach Steve Gray said. “Our pressure at times just wears teams down a little bit. You make a mistake and we have the ability to turn it into two really quick.”

When Derek Gray scored at the 3:20 mark of the third to stop the scoreless skid, Norwalk was in cruise control at 44-33. It was the closest the Fliers got the rest of the game.

“It’s them making some plays and making some shots. Really it was all transition looks,” coach Carter said. “That’s what they do. That’s how they play. They’ve lost, what two games in the last two years? I don’t know. They’ve did it to a lot of people.”

Clyde hung with Norwalk in the first half, trailing only 30-27 at intermission despite nine turnovers.

“We knew we were going to turn it over some. What we were really trying to stay away from was turning it over for layups and dunks for them,” coach Carter said. “If we were going to turn it over, I wanted to try to turn it over north and south. I think that’s what we did in the first half. Second half we turned it over more east and west. When you do that against them, it’s two points at the other end.”

It left coach Gray concerned.

“We just became very impatient there for a while,” coach Gray said. “I thought we were in trouble at halftime. I don’t think we played the way we were capable and I give a lot of credit to Clyde for knocking down shots and Clyde surprised me a little that they were going to play at a quicker tempo. I told them that coach Carter was going to put (Clyde) in a position to be successful and I don’t know if (my team) listened to me.”

Jeff Thomas turned in a double-double for Norwalk with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Ben Haraway led all scorers with 23 points. Jordan Johnson and Breck Turner each tossed in 10 points in the victory.

Clyde was paced by senior Dristen Cook who tickled the twine with 14 points, including four 3-pointers. Gray finished with 10 points.

Carter said he was proud of this team.

“I was proud of our kids’ effort. It’s only the sixth time in our school’s history that Clyde has been in the district,” coach Carter said. “We’ve only won six sectional championships in our school’s history so I was proud of our group. We didn’t have enough things go our way tonight but it doesn’t change how I feel about those guys in that locker room.”

Norwalk moves on to face Sandusky Perkins (21-3), who bested Lexington in the opener, 66-52. The two tip off at 7 p.m. Saturday back at Mansfield Senior.