Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

March 30, 2014

Zebras find ‘Hope’ in Shootout

Claremore bounces back from loss to Broken Arrow JV to edge Sequoyah, 3-2

CLAREMORE — Claremore junior forward Bear Hope proved to be a difference-maker Friday afternoon in the Zebras’ 3-2 win over Sequoyah during second pool play game in the Zebra Shootout.

Hope tallied two goals, including an impressive diving header in the second half off the free kick from senior sweeper Nick Hrdlicka to lift the Zebras into the third place game Saturday.

Early in the day, the Zebras dropped a heartbreaker to Broken Arrow JV, falling 4-2 on penalty kicks after both teams battled to a scoreless finish in regulation.

Hope nearly helped the Zebras pull off the 1-0 victory in the closing seconds against Broken Arrow JV, but his unassisted goal was called off due to offsides.

Throughout the match, though, the Zebras (5-1) controlled the tempo and had numerous scoring opportunities.

With the aggressive play of Hope and forwards Alberto Tinoco, Grant Melton and Jose Mota, the Zebras outshot the Broken Arrow JV 10-3.

Both goalkeepers — highlighted by Claremore freshman Darius Silversmith — were dominant with game-saving stops down the stretch.

Coming into the Zebra Shootout, Claremore’s attack — under first-year head coach Alan Douthitt — has been relentless and on fire.

Currently ranked No. 3 in Class 5A, thanks to the senior leadership of Hrdlicka and senior defender Braden Harris, the Zebras rolled into Friday’s action with a perfect 4-0 record.

Earlier in the week, Claremore used the ‘hat trick’ of Hope to cruise past Class 4A Verdigris, 4-2.

Hope tallied three goals in that match, moving his season-high to five before the Zebra Shootout.

Hope also tallied two goals in Claremore’s win over Sapulpa, as well as Hrdlicka adding two goals in that match.

Against the Broken Arrow JV, Hrdlicka and Jacob Bridges scored both of Claremore’s penalty kicks.

In their second game against Rogers County rival Sequoyah, the Zebras dominated the first half and carried a 2-0 lead into halftime.

Tinoco got the Zebras on the board with a 10-yard goal off the assist from Hope to make it 1-0.

Moments later, Hope’s punishing ‘no-fear’ aggression led to an unassisted goal inside the penalty box that increased the Zebras’ lead to 2-0.

Claremore’s defense kept Sequoyah in check throughout the first half as Hrdlicka, Harris and senior defender Spencer Gill helped protect senior goalkeeper Sam Lillie, who got the start in place of injured Silversmith.

Down the stretch of the first half, Claremore looked to take a 3-0 lead but Hope’s cross-field pass from the right side toward Melton sailed long and out of bounds.

Claremore kept its intensity on high coming out of halftime with Hope tallying his second goal of the game.

Diving through the Sequoyah defense, Hope got between two Eagle defenders and Hrdlicka relayed the pass on target for a jaw-dropping header that Hope buried in the right corner of the goal to make it 3-0.

Trailing 3-0 midway through the second half, Sequoyah’s offense raised the tempo and got on the scoreboard.

Chance Schultz drove a penalty kick past Claremore goalkeeper (Sam) Lillie to cut the Zebras’ lead to 3-1.

Moments later, Sequoyah added its second goal to narrow the gap to 3-2.

After the injury to Lillie, Claremore senior Dylan Classen entered the game in goal and made a key save to secure the victory.

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