BROOKVILLE — Clarion-Limestone’s swarming defense and one-two scoring punch of returning starters Kiana Laugand and Lily Port were a knockout combination against the Clearfield Lady Bison in their season opener at the 19th Brookville Tip-Off Tournament Friday afternoon.
The Lady Lions forced many of the Lady Bison’s 32 turnovers with their pressure all over the court, while Laugand tallied 24 points and Port added 15 in the 54-36 victory.
Breanna Peters, selected to the All American Awards D9Sports.com All-District 9 Third Team along with Laugand last season, shouldered the brunt of the Lady Bison offense with 19 points.
Clearfield’s troubles were compounded when 6-3 senior post Dakota Farmery, a two-year starter, suffered an injury early in the second quarter, for she had combined with Peters for 13 of the first 15 points.
Farmery was kneed in the head as she dove for a loose ball in a scramble along the baseline, and action was halted for almost 30 minutes while precautionary measures were taken and she was placed on a stretcher. She was taken to Brookville Hospital, where she underwent testing and then was released.
Coach Joey Castagnolo noted it did have an impact on his team, which already was missing probable starter Maggie Sopic, sidelined by a foot injury suffered playing soccer, and back-up point guard Emily Aveni, unavailable due to a family function.
“We’ve never been through something like that, and the girls just didn’t know how to react,” Castagnolo said. “That’s why I went to man at that particular time, to pick up the pace and get their minds off of what happened.”
At the time, with 5:14 remaining in the half, the Lady Bison were down 19-15 following Laugand’s three-pointer, the only one in the game.
Sparked by their two big guns, Clearfield had come all the way back from a slow start, during which they fell behind 8-0, to lead briefly at 15-13 when Peters fired a long pass to Farmery for a lay-up one minute into the second period.
“They were a little more scrappier than us right at the beginning,” Castagnolo said. “And we had a rough time adjusting to their pressure.
“We settled down and started playing as a team. But we just lost it again after Dakota went out.
“We just didn’t take care of the basketball. We had a lot of bad passes.”
Even without Farmery, who had six points, Clearfield hung close and trailed only 22-19 with 3:55 left in the half after Tessa Munshower banked in a straightaway one-hander.
However, the Lady Bison failed to score again until Mary Ishman found the range with two minutes gone in the third quarter.
By then, The Lady Lions had reeled off 16 points to lead 35-19.
A dozen came from Laugand, who took charge and heated up after scoring just two of Clarion-Limestone’s first 16 points.
“We just couldn’t stop No. 3,” Castagnolo conceded.
The 5-6 left-handed guard, who now is 109 points away from the 1,000 plateau, lit up the scoreboard on dribble penetration and putbacks in addition to popping short jumpers and poured in 22 of her points in the middle two quarters.
She was content to stick to a playmaking role after the Lady Lions got their big cushion and picked up two late assists.
Peters accounted for 12 of Clearfield’s 17 points in the second half and finished with a double-double by grabbing 10 rebounds.
“Bre did her normal job,” Castagnolo said. “She played real smart with three fouls.
“Mary Ishman did a good job in her first varsity game. So did Emily Ryan for a freshman.
The Lady Bison made 15 of 41 shots for a respectable 37 percent and were outrebounded only 22-19, but they saw too many possessions end with giveaways.
“The girls didn’t give up,” Castagnolo said. “Turnovers were the key. You can’t win too many games like that.”
The Lady Bison will return Saturday to play North Clarion in the 2 p.m. consolation game.
The She-Wolves lost 68-33 to Brookville, which will square off against Clarion-Limestone at 5:30 for the championship.
See photos of the Lady Bison season opener here: http://www.ladybisonsports.org/lbsbball120712.html
CLEARFIELD — 36
Breanna Peters 7 5-10 19, Brittany Renaud 0 0-0 0, Tessa Munshower 1 0-0 2, Brianna Spencer 1 0-0 2, Sarah Aycock 0 0-0 0, Dakota Farmery 3 0-0 6, Mary Ishman 2 1-2 5, Devynn Ireland 0 0-0 0, Emily Ryan 1 0-0 2, Sarah Lash 0 0-0 0, Victoria Ireland 0 0-0 0, Margo Castagnolo 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 15 6-13 36.
CLARION-LIMESTONE — 54
Kiana Laugand 9 3-4 24, Lilly Port 5 5-6 15, Sarah Black 1 1-2 3, Abby Mellott 1 1-2 3, Josie Stitt 2 0-2 4, Emily Hawthorn 0 0-0 0, Brooke Reynolds 0 1-2 1, Megan Kelley 1 0-0 2, Gracie Wiles 1 0-0 2, Alissa Burns 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 21 11-18 54.
Three-Point Field Goals – Clarion-Limestone 1 (Laugand).
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Clearfield 9 10 9 8 - 36
Clarion-Limestone 11 16 21 6 - 54