HYDE — It’s not uncommon for some sports teams to have mental breakdowns in games. Things can go extremely well, but suddenly one mistake could lead to another, and another…and another. It can happen to the best teams, and it’s a learning experience for everyone involved.
That was certainly the case inside the Arthur J. Weiss Gymnasium on Friday night. The Clearfield Bison basketball squad was coming off a tough loss two nights ago on the road to Central, but got down to business as they welcomed the Huntingdon Bearcats to their court. From the opening tip-off, the contest was close. The back-and-forth gameplay was superb by both squads. Entering halftime, the Bearcats held a slight lead, but coming out of the break the Bison turned up the heat, putting up 17 points and hoping to close out the night to get above the .500 mark.
But, the final eight minutes saw a breakdown on defense, missed opportunities, and mental errors and the Bearcats scored 25 points en route to the 61-55 victory.
“The disappointing thing is I drove down to scout Huntingdon against Bald Eagle on Tuesday night. Our game plan was two things: don’t let 23 (Nate Gearhart) get a shot off, cause he can shoot from anywhere, and don’t let their point guard (Devon Claar) penetrate,” said head coach Forrest Campman in the locker room afterward.
That game plan worked through the first two quarters, as Claar and Gearhart were limited to a combined 18 points, only hitting 5 for 15 from the field. Clearfield was only down two entering halftime, and continued to execute their game plan coming out in the third quarter. Offensively, the third quarter was huge for Christian Lezzer. Already having hit three shots from behind the arc in the first quarter, he added two more in the third quarter to give the Bison the lead.
Lezzer would add two more in the fourth quarter. Add in his jump shot in the first quarter of play, he would lead Clearfield in scoring with 23 points, and tie in rebounds with teammate Seth Beardsley.
Lezzer would be joined in the double-digits of scoring by Trey Jordan, who would add on 20 points.
After the third quarter, Clearfield held a 41-36 advantage, but shortly after the fourth quarter began, Claar hit what Campman credited to being a huge momentum shot, as Claar drained a three-point basket, his only on the night. That brought the gap down to just two points, and put the Bison on edge from that moment forward.
Claar would end the night with 21 points, while teammate Gearhart would add on another 12 points in the final quarter to finish with a game-high 26 points.
“Their point guard (Gearhart) hit that three-pointer from the corner, that’s a shot we ourselves wouldn’t mind taking, but we can’t leave them those kind of shots,” Campman said.
The entire game was a back-and-forth battle, but Campman mentioned one strong emphasis on the game was the lack of consistency, not just in shooting or rebounding, but being consistent as a group.
“We struggled having a consistent five guys out there tonight. But, if we could stick to our game plan, don’t let (Claar) get a shot off and don’t let their point guard (Gearhart) penetrate, and also getting five guys to the basket to rebound, and foul before they could get a put-back, then it keeps them from scoring,” Campman said. “You look at how many put-backs we had tonight, not that many, where they had four or five guys rebounding whereas we’re just staring at the ball.
“We’re not a big team, obviously, and that puts us at a disadvantage. The real silent killer tonight was their put backs on their side of the ball. We had some physical errors, but everyone will have those, but we had some mental errors that we’ll need to work through. They’re good kids and they’ll get better. We’ve had a lot of close losses the last couple years, but I think we’re losing games more mentally than physically.”
The junior varsity squad opened the night, but a late turnover cost them in a 32-30 loss.
Clearfield (1-2) is back in action next Tuesday night December 18 as they travel to Bald Eagle Area.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Huntingdon 12 14 10 25 – 61
Clearfield 11 13 17 14 – 55
Cook 0 0-0 0, Claar 6 8-8 21, Foster 2 0-0 4, Lovett 1 0-2 2, Brenneman 0 0-0 0, Gearhart 6 10-10 26, Robinson 0 0-0 0, Krause 0 0-0 0, Kurtz 4 0-0 8. Totals 19 18-20 61
Climie 0 0-0 0, Lezzer 8 0-0 23, Ford 0 0-0 0, Herrington 0 0-0 0, Beardsley 2 0-0 5, Sellers 0 0-0 0, Westen 1 0-0 2, Jordan 7 6-9 20, Janocko 1 3-4 5, Jones 0 0-0 0, Taylor 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0-0 0, Hryn 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 9-13 55.
GAME STATISTICS (Huntingdon/Clearfield)
Field Goals Made-Attempted: 19-45/19-48
Team Rebounds: 23/16
Team Fouls: 11/17
Three-Point Shots: HN-Claar, Gearhart (2); CF-Lezzer (7), Beardsley
|12/07||CURWENSVILLE||ppd.||0 – 0|
|12/10||CURWENSVILLE||42 – 37||1 – 0|
|12/12||@ Central||29 – 50||1 – 1|
|12/14||HUNTINGDON||55 – 61||1 – 2|
|12/18||@ Bald Eagle Area|