Late CHS rally can’t hold off Spartans
In a battle between the top Sierra League teams, the Damien Spartans outlasted the Claremont Wolfpack, 59-54, to remain a perfect 3-0 in conference.
Claremont is now 15-6, 2-1, while Damien sits comfortably atop the league standings at 17-3, 3-0. Despite trailing for the duration of the game, CHS never fell out of striking distance, trailing 17-13 after one quarter of action and 33-25 at the break.
Claremont senior Omar Mahmoud led the Pack in scoring at the break with eight points, which included a nifty step-back jumper and a three pointer pulling the Pack to within eight in the first quarter. Mahmoud finished with a team-high 21 points, shooting seven of 17 from the field.
After an impressive first half, Mahmoud picked up right where he left off in the second half, scoring the first eight points for the Wolfpack to keep Claremont within single digits of the Spartans.
Senior Chris Edward, who finished with 12 points, capped off a three-point play with 1:30 left in the third to give Claremont a spark heading into the final frame of action, trailing 47-37.
Damien opened the fourth quarter on fire, scoring seven points in the first three minutes to stretch its lead to 55-42 with five minutes remaining. With most of the gymnasium assuming to have the game in the bag at this point, Claremont fought back and went on a 12-0 run to pull to within one with thirty seconds remaining.
As the home crowd grew nervous of falling victim to a large comeback victory, Spartan Jeremy Hensley followed through with a layup in traffic to give Damien a 57-54 lead with 15 seconds remaining.
Claremont missed their ensuing opportunity and was forced to foul, but Damien would connect on two free throws to solidify the 59-54 victory.
The Wolfpack accounted for 11 turnovers and was virtually unable to stop the Spartans from driving to the hole and scoring in the paint. Outside of their interior defense, the Wolfpack did a sound job at limiting the Spartans to points outside the paint and from beyond the arc.
Claremont will host Chino Hills Friday at 6:30 p.m. in search of its third conference victory.
Boys soccer still undefeated after hard fought tie
The Claremont boys soccer team tied, 1-1, in its lone match this week against Damien on Wednesday.
The Pack now sits at 9-3-3 and 2-0-1 in the Sierra League, tied with the Spartans for the top spot in conference. The tie snaps Claremont’s three-game winning streak and is its first tie since December 10.
As a team this season, the Pack have scored 34 goals and accumulated 20 assists, combining for 88 total points. The Pack will take the field again on Wednesday, January 29 when they travel to Charter Oak to take on the Chargers.
Girls soccer unable to hold off strong St. Lucy’s play
The Claremont girls soccer team lost, 2-0, to St. Lucy’s on Wednesday, giving the Pack consecutive losses for the first time since December 7.
Claremont fell to 1-2 in the Sierra League and is now 11-6-2 overall.
The story of the season thus far has been the play of the Wolfpack defense, having only surrendered 18 goals in 19 games this season. Claremont has scored 34 goals.
The Pack will continue Sierra League play Friday at 5:30 p.m., as they will travel to Chino Hills to face the Huskies.