HYDE — The Clearfield Bisons secured their 12th win of the season on Friday night with an all-around team effort to defeat an equally matched Bellefonte squad, 53-44, in front of a packed house at Arthur J. Weiss Gymnasium.
The Bisons (12-8 overall) fed off an energetic crowd that was into the game from start to finish and even featured a wealth of enthusiasm from the Lady Bison basketball program – who hosts DuBois Central on Senior Day today at 2 p.m. – while dominating the Raiders defensively and on the boards. Clearfield\’s offense also turned it up a notch as the Bisons were able to secure an early lead and never look back.
\”I really thought the game was going to come down to a situation where the home court was a big advantage. We had a big crowd,\” Clearfield head coach Forrest Campman said. \”It was a big advantage. They were quick. We knew what they had. We shut down Glunt and Giunta. They could on at least 30 to 35 points a night. I felt if those kids didn\’t get it, it would be difficult for them to make up those points. We knew if they had to go to their bench, their bench wasn\’t real strong.\”
Mike Johnson and James Zimmerman led the Clearfield offensive with 14 points and five rebounds apiece in the victory. Jarrin Campman aided the cause with 10 points, and hit two key 3-pointers in the first and second quarters as the Bisons were able to distance themselves from the Raiders on the scoreboard. Point guard John Lhota chipped in with eight points, and two key shots from behind the 3-point arc.
\”I thought our bench did a tremendous job,\” Campman said. \”I didn\’t play Todd (Hryn) as much as I normally play Todd. He hit a big three in the first half. Jarrin (Campman) came off the bench and hit two key 3-pointers in the first half. I thought Drew Hipps – even though he only played five or six minutes – he looked like a skywalker up there. I thought they gave us very good minutes off the bench.\”
\”We have a very steady point guard with John Lhota. Our two scorers need to come through – James Zimmerman and Mike Johnson – and they did. We count on those guys to score. Kyle and Andrew are seniors and they play smart defense.\”
The facts that Clearfield connected on 5 of 11 shots from 3-point range and shot 10 of 14 from the free-throw line are definite reasons Bellefonte couldn\’t keep up. Bellefonte shot just 6 of 12 from the foul line, but did come away with 4 of 9 shooting from behind the arc.
The pace started quickly and drew frantic in the early portions of the first quarter. Bellefonte\’s Seth Tressler connected on a 3-pointer to give the Raiders an early 7-4 lead, but Clearfield countered with Zimmerman hitting a nice layup where he was forced to change his shot from right to left-handed in order to go around a Bellefonte defender.
Campman then connected on the first of his two 3-pointers to kickstart the Clearfield offense. His shot gave Clearfield a 9-7 lead, but harried defense by the Bisons forced Bellefonte into turnovers and resulted in a 8-2 run to close the quarter.
Johnson connected on a pair of shots from the foul line to give Clearfield an 11-7 lead with 3:13 remaining. Phil Giunta hit a layup for Bellefonte to close the gap to two, but Clearfield picked up a 3-pointer from Todd Hryn in the right corner, a Zimmerman layup and Kyle Kline drilled a jumper from the free-throw line as the Bisons took an 18-9 lead into the second quarter.
The Bisons slowed down the tempo in the quarter with tepid ball movement around the perimeter. Lhota drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing as Clearfield stretched its lead to 21-9, but Bellefonte would come back with a layup from Eric Johnson and a 3-pointer from Tressler that pulled Bellefonte within seven, 21-14, with 4:11 left in the half.
Zimmerman hit a layup after a Bellefonte time out and Campman drilled his second 3-pointer of the game to push Clearfield\’s lead to 12, 26-14, with 2:55 left. Tressler would hit a foul shot for the Raiders, but Clearfield managed to hold a 26-15 advantage heading into halftime.
Clearfield went through a rough stretch in the third quarter by committing turnovers. The Bisons ran out to such a quick lead in the first half that a bit of fatigue set in, and combined with Bellefonte stepping up its defensive pressure allowed the Raiders to control the play.
The Raiders opened the second half with a 8-2 run to close the game to five, 28-23. Giunta hit a jumper, and Glunt followed with a baseline jumper. Glunt added a foul shot to close the game to six, 26-20, but Zimmerman would hit a layup to push the Clearfield lead back to eight.
Glunt then hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key that pulled Bellefonte within five, 28-23, but that would be as close as the Raiders would get as Clearfield finally recovered its legs – and its game – to secure the victory.
\”I thought we really, really – even in the second half – battled real hard on the boards to control the boards,\” Campman said. \”You look at our team. Mike Johnson is 6-foot-1. James Zimmerman is 5-11. Both of those kids can jump out of the gym. Mike is very strong and there is a real he jumps 6-4, 6-5 in the high jump. Drew Hipps had a couple awe-inspiring rebounds out there where he skied above everybody. Todd came down with a couple big rebounds. Jarrin did a nice job of shooting the ball a couple times off the screen in the first half.
\”You have to get a lot of clean rebounds, but a lot of them when you have the position can you keep the ball alive and I thought we had a lot of that. That\’s what we emphasize to the kids. We are going to win by playing defense, being tough physically, every loose ball is going to be ours. We are not going to beat you with style.\”
Clearfield\’s pressure defense didn\’t give Bellefonte many chances at open shots, and when the Raiders did manage a shot Clearfield held tough in the rebounding department to keep the Raiders off the glass.
The Bisons slowed the game in the half-court with solid ball movement throughout the third and fourth quarter to preserve the victory. Clearfield took a 39-29 lead into the fourth quarter, and maintained the win by converting 8 of 10 foul shots in the final quarter.
Bellefonte – 44
Johnson 3 0-0 6, Glunt 5 1-2 13, Tressler 2 4-6 10, Giunta 3 1-4 7, Leathers 1 0-0 2, Hallahan 1 0-0 2, Poorman 2 0-0 4. Totals: 17 6-12 44.
Clearfield – 53
Lhota 3 0-0 8, Janocko 0 1-2 1, Johnson 4 6-7 14, Kline 1 0-1 2, Zimmerman 7 0-0 14, Hryn 1 1-2 4, Campman 3 2-2 10, Hipps 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 10-14 53.
Score by Quarters
Bellefonte 9 6 14 15 – 44
Clearfield 18 8 13 14 – 53
3-pointers: Bellefonte 4-9 (Glunt 2-5, Tressler 2-2, Hallahan 0-2); Clearfield 5-11 (Lhota 2-2, Hryn 1-1, Campman 2-3, Johnson 0-1, Janocko 0-2, Zimmerman 0-2).