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Nic Clem scores 30 as Wakefield boys down Tandem Friends

Wednesday, Jan. 16 | By Joe Rummel
Wakefield School senior guard Nic Clem entered Tuesday’s game against Tandem Friends needing seven points to become the third-highest boys basketball scorer in school history.

He easily eclipsed that mark with a 30-point effort as the Owls rolled to 51-43 win over the Badgers at home in The Plains.

Clem passed former Owl sharpshooter Sam Kott, who played from 2001-05, and now has 1,146 points. With an estimated 18 games left, he's eying the numbers of Wakefield's all-time greats Eric Wilson and Jeff Byrd, who share No. l with 1,335 points.

Clem has been a mainstay in the Owls' current three-game winning streak. Wakefield (4-11) jumped out to an early 6-0 lead Tuesday and never looked back, leading 14-9 after the first quarter.

Clem ended the first half with 15 points, sending home a baseline jumper just inside the 3-point line before the buzzer. The basket came on a driving pass and assist from senior Jayson Garner, who drew the zone defense towards him and kicked the ball out.

The early contributions of Garner, who finished with 12 points (all in the first half) and junior Cavan Mulcahy (seven points, all in the first half), gave Wakefield a commanding 34-21 lead at the break.

Despite playing the same half-court trap defense and never trailing, the Owls almost let the game get away. Clem scored Wakefield’s only five points in the third quarter as the Badgers (6-6) clawed to 39-35.

“Up by 14 points, I think they relaxed a little bit, and they allowed Tandem Friends to make a run on them, which shouldn’t happen…They realized that and started to pick it up,” Owls coach Tee Summers said. “We pride ourselves in getting up and down the floor…we don’t walk the ball up. We go as fast as we can.”

Tandem Friends senior Josh Connelly (10 points, 6-for-6 free throws) led the resurgence, getting to the foul line twice by driving the lane and drawing contact. Teammate Rees Parrish (9 points) helped the comeback when he was fouled on a 3-pointer.

Wakefield's series of fouls sent Garner to the bench with four fouls with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.

In a do-or-die fourth quarter, Tandem Friends settled for mainly 3-pointers, living— and ultimately dying—from behind the arc. The Badgers shot 20 percent from 3-point land (4-for-20 total) and 15-for-41 overall (37 percent).

But Clem, who registered his 1,000th career point to start December, added three more to start the fourth, padding the Owls’ lead to 42-35.

“Once a couple go down, the hoop seems to get a little bigger for me. It’s all muscle memory at this point,” said Clem, who finished 5-of-12 from 3-point range and 11-of-18 overall with five rebounds and six steals.

More importantly, he answered every opposing fourth quarter basket. Clem ended up scoring 15 of Wakefield's 17 second half points, including another key hoop when Tandem closed to 42-37.

“You just have to have confidence shooting the ball. You have to have the mentality it’s going to go in,” Clem said.

Heading into a four-game road stretch, Clem continues his bid to become the school's all-time scorer and get his own banner in the gym, like former teammates Byrd and Wilson.

The mark is clearly within reach, especially if he keeps scoring 30 a night.

“I’m trying to catch them definitely… It’d be something good to hold against them,” he laughed. “It’ll be pretty close.”

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