Clarkston boys’ basketball coach Justin Jones provided a fitting summation after both Bantam teams crept away with wins against Cheney to open their Great Northern League schedules in similar fashions.

“Early in the year, teams are gonna go through offensive struggles, no matter how gifted you are,” he said. “It’s just the way it works.

“You just hope your defense is good enough, and that you’re gonna put on a run sooner or later.”

That was the case on both ends of a doubleheader Friday at Kramer Gym, when the Clarkston girls’ team forced 18 Blackhawk turnovers and got an all-around output to rally after a barrage of 3-pointers, then when the boys’ team overcame a 20-percent shooting mark in the first half, assembled a monstrous run and held off a Cheney spurt.

Both Bantam teams won 48-42. Both improved to 4-0 overall.

Jones said he felt fortunate his Bantams only trailed by three at intermission.

“It’s a testament to our defense,” he said. “We have the potential to be a great defensive team, we’re just not there yet.”

But the offense finally caught up, torching Cheney (0-3, 0-1 GNL) with a 21-4 run that began promptly out of the locker room.

The Bantams held the Blackhawks without a field goal for about six minutes. Their defense translated to quick offense — with the tandem of standout Tru Allen and Trey Dreadfulwater propelling Clarkston with inside and transition plays.

Allen logged 20 points after a slow first half. He dazzled in the Blackhawks’ paint, often shaking off defenders and flipping in improbable layins.

“It’s always good to get the ball in Tru’s hands,” Jones said. “He did a really good job getting to the rim (because Clarkston was 4-of-22 from deep).”

Dreadfulwater hit a pair of 3s and was on the receiving end of several takeaways en route to 13 points. Jones lauded starter Alex Italia for recognizing Dreadfulwater, usually a backup, had caught heat. Italia­ ­suggested Dreadfulwater should get more minutes.

“Hat’s off to Alex. He had a big hand (in the run) because of his unselfishness and sacrifice,” Jones said.

Gus Hagestad contributed 11 points as Clarkston countered a Blackhawk bounce-back in the fourth, when Cheney cut it to three points after going down by as many as 16. Cheney got a late boost from Quinsie Goodloe, who rattled in three 3s and finished with 15 points.

“We gotta be able to have a killer mentality and extend that lead,” Jones said. “It’s a lot better to win ugly than lose pretty, and that’s what we did.”

CHENEY (0-3, 0-1)

Henry Browne 0 0-0 0, Josh Whiteley 1 2-4 4, Van Vega 0 0-0 0, Quinsie Goodloe 6 0-0 15, Tavin West 0 0-0 0, Peyton McPherson 1 0-0 2, Kaiden Custer 2 3-4 7, Trinidad Richardson 2 0-2 4, Luke Hemenway 0 0-0 0, Alex Long 3 2-3 8, Koby Holt 1 0-1 2. Totals 16 7-14 42.

CLARKSTON (4-0, 1-0)

Misael Perez 1 0-0 3, Tru Allen 6 8-12 20, Alex Italia 0 0-0 0, Christian Robbins 0 0-0 0, Trey Dreadfulwater 5 1-3 13, Kaeden Frazier 0 0-1 0, Gus Hagestad 4 2-4 11, Jayden Hopkins 0 0-0 0, Max Johnson 0 0-0 0, Wyatt Chatfield 0 1-2 1, Dawson Packwood 0 0-0 0, Andrew Reeder 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 12-22 48.

Cheney 12 5 7 18—42

Clarkston 9 5 24 10—48

3-point goals — Goodloe 3, Perez, Dreadfulwater 2, Hagestad.

GIRLS

In a few separate instances, Clarkston got a must-have spark from someone different on a night in which offensive consistency was scattered.

It began with post Jalena Henry, who poured in 10 points, most of them coming during a 13-0 spurt that kicked things off for the Bantams.

Cheney (1-3, 0-1), a threat from beyond the arc, wouldn’t go away.

After intermission, with the lead only hanging around three points, AJ Sobotta and Erika Pickett picked it up, responding to a flurry of 3s from Cheney’s Emma Evans, who hit six and led all scorers with 22 points.

Sobotta nailed two 3s and two other tough shots — a left-handed floater near the baseline, then a driving scoop in the paint. Pickett, “a force inside,” said coach Debbie Sobotta, scored a few down low and banked in a 3 at the end of the third.

Plays like those kept the Bantams in front, albeit slightly. Pickett led Clarkston with 11 points and Sobotta had 10.

“There were quite a few spark plugs tonight,” Sobotta said. “I’m really pleased that the rest of the girls stepped up.”

Although it wasn’t their night offensively, Clarkston’s Mickala Jackson and Ashlyn Wallace were key elsewhere. Debbie Sobotta commended Jackson for her second-half defense and Wallace for working through a ton of contact.

“(Wallace) does a great job maintaining her composure,” Sobotta said of her star point guard, who was held to four points but had three late steals leading to points.

“(Jackson) had her hand on a lot of balls, a lot of deflections,” and tallied four assists.

With 3:30 left in the game, Wallace scored on a floater off a baseline drive, then nabbed a steal off an inbounds pass and procured free throws for Lauren Johnson (seven rebounds) — a series that essentially quelled Cheney’s late-game momentum.

Clarkston’s press defense did the rest, setting up Jackson for a corner 3. Wallace followed it with a nifty assist inside to Samantha Chatfield, which furnished a nine-point lead.

The Bantams’ balance won out.

CHENEY (1-3, 0-1)

Avery Stark 2 0-1 5, Megan Schuller 0 0-1 0, Shelby Draper 1 0-0 2, Lexi Deatherage 0 1-4 1, Emma Evans 8 0-0 22, Maggie Smith 2 4-4 10, Halle Sargent 0 0-0 0, Tylin Hertel 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 5-10 42.

CLARKSTON (4-0, 1-0)

Ashlyn Wallace 2 0-0 4, Mickala Jackson 1 0-0 3, Jacey Hernandez 0 0-0 0, Maggie Ogden 0 1-2 1, Erika Pickett 5 0-0 11, Marielena Ronquillo 0 0-0 0, AJ Sobotta 4 0-0 10, Lauren Johnson 1 3-4 5, Jalena Henry 4 2-2 10, Samantha Chatfield 2 0-0 4. Totals 19 6-8 48.

Cheney 13 8 15 6—42

Clarkston 16 9 13 10—48

3-point goals — Stark, Evans 6, Smith 2, Jackson, Pickett, Sobotta 2.

Clark may be reached at cclark@lmtribune.com, on Twitter @ClarkTrib, or by phone at (208) 848-2260.

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