BROOKVILLE — The Clearfield Lady Bison salvaged a split for their first appearance in the Brookville Tip-Off Tournament by pulling away from North Clarion early in the fourth quarter and then holding off the She-Wolves 41-36 in the consolation game Saturday afternoon.
“I know it wasn’t pretty, but a win’s a win,” Clearfield coach Joey Castagnolo said. “We were short three girls, and they gutted it out.”
The Lady Bison were missing starting post Dakota Farmery, who was kneed in her head during Friday’s opener against Clarion-Limestone, and projected starter Maggie Sopic because of injuries and soph point guard Emily Aveni due to a family commitment.
The younger players, most of them newcomers to the varsity, helped get the job done.
“I’m playing a lot of sophomores and freshmen, and I think they responded really well,” Castagnolo said. “I’m real happy for all of them. And I’m real proud of them.”
Both teams experienced typical early-season shooting and ballhandling troubles throughout, but the Lady Bison were able to overcome their sometimes-erratic play by tightening their zone defense in the second half when they also got a big lift from one of the three upperclassmen who showed the way.
Senior point guard Brittany Renaud found the range for the first time this season early in the third quarter and went on to collect 11 points as the Lady Bison outscored the She-Wolves 26-20 over the final 16 minutes.
“That was very big,” Castagnolo said. “She’s quick and she played smart. She took her time.”
Castagnolo pointed out to his assistants during intermission, when the Lady Bison trailed 16-15, that Renaud hadn’t scored in a game and a half and added, “She has to do something.”
She did, on 4-for-8 shooting, to join classmate Breanna Peters in double figures.
“I’m real happy for her to turn it around like that,” Castagnolo said.
Peters, coming off a double-double in Friday’s opening 54-36 loss to Clarion-Limestone, made only five of 12 free throws but managed to top the team with 13 points and nine rebounds in locking up a berth on the all-tourney team.
“Bre told me she has a couple hurt fingers and couldn’t feel the basketball, because she’s an excellent foul shooter,” Castagnolo said. “I think she was exhausted, too. I think that affected her shooting, but I couldn’t take her out. She and Brittany are our leaders out there.”
Peters wasn’t the only Lady Bison to struggle at the foul line, but they neutralized their 12-for-28 showing by challenging more North Clarion shots as the game wore on.
“We played excellent defense that second half,” Castagnolo said.
Junior Brianna Spencer provided a spark for the offense by swishing a set shot from the right corner for three of her eight points and an 18-16 lead at the outset of the third quarter.
Renaud followed with back-to-back buckets, but the She-Wolves countered with a 9-1 run behind Jenny Reed’s five points to go up 27-23.
Then, Renaud fired a pass to soph Mary Ishman for a lay-up and put a highlight touch to a fast break by flipping in a difficult left-handed shot for the fourth and final tie of the game.
A putback by Peters gave the Lady Bison the lead for good at 29-27 with 16 seconds left in the third period.
They extended that to 35-27 with 5:40 remaining with buckets by Peters and Renaud on feeds by Spencer and Tessa Munshower, respectively, and two free throws by Munshower.
With Clearfield misfiring on five of seven free throws, North Clarion clawed back into it via five points by Jenny McLaughlin and four by Jenny Bauer.
The She-Wolves had a chance to draw even with 1:31 left, but McLaughlin hit only one of two foul shots.
Five seconds later, freshman Emily Ryan spotted up at the foul line to sink a crucial hoop after the Lady Bison had quickly pushed the ball up the floor.
“I don’t think she even knew how big a shot that was,” Castagnolo said. “She just goes out there and plays. And she did a nice job for the second game in a row.”
Renaud and Munshower came up with late steals to help hold off the She-Wolves, who missed their last seven shots.
Two free throws by Renaud sealed it with 26 seconds left.
Clearfield was 14-for-25 from the field for 25.5 percent.
North Clarion, which got 11 points from Reed and nine from Kelsey Schmader, hit 15 of 58 attempts for 25.9 percent.
The She-Wolves had a 31-28 rebounding advantage with Reed pulling down 12 and had 29 turnovers, five more than the Lady Bison.
“Even though it was sloppy, I think we had some nice, high points,” said Castagnolo. “I’m happy.”
Brookville claimed the title for the eighth time in the tourney’s 19-year history by defeating Clarion-Limestone 52-40. Lanae Newsome led the Lady Raiders with 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocked shots to earn Most Valuable Player laurels.
She and twin sister Aisha were named to the all-tourney team along with Peters and Clarion-Limestone’s Kana Laugand and Lily Port.
The Lady Bison will play their home opener against Central Wednesday and travel to Huntingdon Friday in Mountain League action.
Pictures from the first Lady Bison win of the season can be found here: http://www.ladybisonsports.org/lbsbball120812.html
CLEARFIELD — 41
Breanna Peters 4 5-12 13, Brittany Renaud 4 3-6 11, Tessa Munshower 0 2-2 2, Brianna Spencer 3 1-4 8, Mary Ishman 2 0-2 4, Emily Ryan 1 0-0 2, Sarah Aycock 0 0-0 0, Devynn Ireland 0 0-0 0, Sarah Lash 0 1-2 1. TOTALS: 13 12-28 41.
NORTH CLARION — 36
Christina Rizer 0 0-1 0, Kelsey Schmader 4 1-2 9, Jenny Bauer 2 3-4 7, Jenny McLaughlin 2 1-2 5, Jenny Reed 5 1-2 11, Jane Price 0 0-0 0, Ashton Obenrader 1 0-0 2, Katie Motter 1 0-0 2, Steph Ochs 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 15 6-11 36.
Three-Point Field Goal – Clearfield 1 (Spencer).
Score by Quarters
Clearfield 8 7 14 12 - 41
North Clarion 8 8 11 9 - 36
Lady Bison Scoreboard:
|@ Brookville Tip-Off Tourney|
|12/07||Clarion-Limestone||36-54||0 – 1|
|12/08||North Clarion||41 – 36||1 – 1|