Clyde takes over in third against TC

By Jimmy Watkins

Sports Writer

CLYDE — As the buzzer sounded, Clyde guards Kaiden Olson and Caden Berger exchanged smiles and daps as they looked up at the scoreboard.

In Clyde’s 84-74 win over Columbian at Clyde High School on Friday, the starting Clyde backcourt combined for 40 points on nine 3-pointers. They started the season as green, first-year varsity starters. They looked anything but against Columbian.

“We both were on, obviously,” said Olson, who had 19 points and six assists. “But it’s kind of crazy to look up at the scoreboard and see that. Combining for 40, it’s kinda crazy.”

Berger scored 21 of the 40 Olson referenced on six 3-pointers, and most of them came in the third quarter. The Fliers (10-9, 6-4 Sandusky Bay Conference Lake Division) trailed by four to start the second half, but they buried Columbian under a 3-point barrage to take a 13-point lead into the final frame. Berger made most of them.

Berger scored 14 of his team’s 27 points and made four of his eventual six 3-pointers in the third. What’s more, he could feel the Flier faithful raising their energy with each swish.

“It was just a fun game atmosphere,” Berger said. “The energy is huge for us. We always build off of that. When our shots are falling, there’s not much other teams can do.”

Olson’s turn came in the fourth quarter, and it was less flashy. Of his 10 fourth-quarter points, seven came at the free throw line. But the Fliers have not been able to count on free throw shooting to close games this season. They shoot 56 percent for the season. They almost blew a a comfortable lead late in their first meeting against Columbian because of it.

They shot 21 of 27 (78 percent) against Columbian. Olson (9 of 12 on free throws) played a large part in that.

“I think everybody knows we’re not the best free throw shooting team in the league right now,” Fretz said. “To be able to hit free throws and finish games is so important.”

After the game, the two Columbian fans approached Fretz and congratulated his team on the win and its great shooting display. Fretz’s reply: “We’ve had two good shooting games this year. Both came against you guys.”

He’s right. The Fliers haven’t been reliable perimeter shooters this season. They entered Friday’s game shooting 33 percent from 3-point range. They shot 11 of 19 (57 percent) against Columbian.

On most nights, Clyde has relied on Jack Morrison’s inside presence and Carson Rieman’s slash-and-kick game. They didn’t need to thanks to Berger and Olson, and it’s a good thing they didn’t.

Both Rieman and Morrison left the game with injuries. Morrison limped to the training room in the first half but returned to start the second. He finished with 13 points. Rieman had to be helped to the training room in the third quarter, but returned to knock down two key free throws late in the fourth.

“Carson fights, Jack fights — it’s in they’re blood,” Fretz said. “It’s the Clyde blue-collar way. They just keep coming back.”

The Fliers needed to invoke that attitude in a game they trailed by nine in the first half. Columbian coach Travis Kinn’s team looked good early. But after Berger’s third-quarter outburst, the Tornadoes never recovered.

“They shot the ball incredibly well,” Kinn said. “I think we let that and some other things get to us. Some of our guys got a little frustrated and let that take them out of their game.”

Bryce Burns tossed in 23 points for the Tornadoes (13-7, 6-5), LJ Reaves scored 18 and Cyrus Burden and Logan Beaston both added 12.

Kinn’s players may have a chance to earn retribution for their frustration in a few weeks. They could see the Fliers at sectionals.

Fretz is also aware of that possibility, but he can’t worry about that yet. The Fliers still have three regular season games before they can think playoffs.

“That’s a great question,” Fretz said when asked about a potential third meeting with Columbian. “But I can’t answer that right now.”