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Back in the Race: Pioneers close huge week with easy victory WITH GALLERY

  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)
  • Clare improved to 10-4 overall and to 8-2 in JPC action via a 45-23 win over Beaverton Thursday. (PHOTOS BY JIM LAHDE -- MIPREPZONE.COM)

Coming into this week they were sitting in third place in the Jack Pine Conference, basically on the outside looking in.

After Thursday night's 45-23 victory over visiting Beaverton the Clare High School girl's basketball team officially put itself back into the JPC regular-season conference title conversation.

For the week the Pioneers (10-4, 8-2 JPC) topped conference-leading Gladwin 57-53 on Tuesday via 21 points and eight rebounds from Natalee Kunse, handing the Flying G's their first JPC loss of the season.

Clare followed that up with an even more impressive showing Thursday as they trapped the Beavers (9-3, 7-3 JPC) and forced eight first-half turnovers en route to a 25-6 halftime lead. From there they cruised to an easy win all while exacting a little revenge on Beaverton who had beaten them 45-43 in overtime back in December.

With the win Clare enters the final three weeks of the regular season one game behind Gladwin for the conference lead and with a little hard work and some luck they might just be able to claim at least a share of the JPC regular-season title.

"We lost to both of these teams before the (Christmas) break on the road in the same week," said Clare coach Kevin Richards following his team's third-straight victory. "We knew we had a tough week ahead and a lot of work to do to get these wins. We got up emotionally for both of these games and that's a tough thing to do especially after a big win like we had Tuesday."

The Pioneers were absolutely dynamite in the opening quarter as their defense held the Beavers scoreless through the opening four minutes. Meanwhile the Clare offense reeled off 12 straight to claim a 12-0 lead. At the end of one quarter the hosts led 15-6 before putting it away by not allowing a single Beaverton point in the second stanza to go into the half up 25-6.

"Our defense carried us early," said Richards. "This win puts us in second place but we're also riding high confidence-wise. We know we're going to have help to win the conference so we're set on improving ourselves for districts."

Lexy Harton led the Pioneers on the night as she tallied 21 points and was a pest defensively at the point. Kunse added in 11 points, six boards, five steals and three assists while Haley Miller had six points and Ellie Johnson five. Victoria Hitchcock also had a bucket for the hosts.

Clare returns to action at home against Ludington at 7:30 p.m. Monday in a non-conference contest.

Last Updated: 2/2/2017 10:04:58 PM EST