Hopedale High’s appearance in the Clark Tournament last year lasted 32 excruciating minutes as the Blue Raiders succumbed to Uxbridge High in a low-scoring slugfest. “It was an ugly game,” senior captain Evan Lerner recalled. “It was real important for us to come back here and play high-intensity ball.” Consider it mission accomplished in the rematch. Led by an unselfish offense and especially an unrelenting defense, Hopedale built a 24-point halftime lead before easing to a 61-46 Small Schools victory over the Spartans in the opening round of the 74th Clark Tournament on Sunday at Kneller Athletic Center. “We try to get it to that frenzy pace,” Lerner said after the Blue Raiders’ defense generated 22 turnovers, the majority leading to baskets. “We drill conditioning and defense.” Fourth-seeded Hopedale (15-5) will meet top-seeded Littleton High (19-1) at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday in what has the makings of a seismic semifinal showdown. Uxbridge, winner of two consecutive Clark championships, is 13-7 after losing for the sixth time in 11 games.
Hopedale 61, Uxbridge 46
Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, at Hopedale
Updated: Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, 9:53 p.m.