CLAA basketball league season underway

     LUDLOW — The first conference action in the 2012-13 Carroll-Livingston Activities Association high school basketball season Monday night saw the host Southwest Livingston girls and boys sweep Hardin-Central in close contests.
     The girls’ final was 52-26 and the boys’ game ended 41-39 when Mason Mehrhoff scored just before the buzzer.
     The defending CLAA champion Lady Wildcats (1-1, 1-0), their roster extensively-reordered by graduation, nevertheless got off on the right foot in pursuit of a successful defense, thanks to a very good second quarter.  Down 14-12 after one, new coach Julie Bothwell’s Southwest Livingston squad got eight points from returning standout Sydnee Rounkles and seven from freshman starter Haylee Johnson as it outscored Hardin-Central 22-11 to seize a 34-25 halftime lead.
     S. Rounkles led all scorers with 22 points and paired that with 15 rebounds and three assists. Johnson tallied 13 points with four of the team’s 10 assists. For Hardin-Central (2-2, 0-1), Olivia Ellis had team highs of 16 points and seven rebounds. Alex Paul had 10 points and six steals.
     The boys’ contest saw Southwest Livingston (1-1, 1-0) trail closely after each of the first three quarters before gaining a 14-10 advantage, including two Cole Upton 3-pointers, in the last one to win by two.
     Mehrhoff’s game-winner gave him 10 points, making him one of three Wildcats in double figures. Upton netted 14 on four treys and two of three free throws and Ethan Crowe scored 11 to go with nine rebounds. In double digits in rebounds was senior Brandon Bothwest with 13, while Mehrhoff had four assists and four steals, too.  Hardin-Central (3-1, 0-1) was led by freshman reserve Clif Kugler’s 12 points.  The 6’3” Kugler also led his team’s rebounding with eight and blocked three shots while also making a pair of steals.
     Southwest Livingston will host Bosworth in more league play tonight. Hardin-Central goes to Meadville on Friday.