HYDE — As the 2013 calendar year draws to a close, the Lady Bison of Clearfield were looking to ride some early season momentum from their victory on Wednesday night into the final game before the Christmas break. Head coach Joey Castagnolo had his team ready to take the court at the Arthur J. Weiss Gymnasium, hoping that win could spark a run heading into the holidays.
At the same time, the opposing Lady Red Raiders of Bellefonte were hoping to stop that run before it even started.
It turned out that the deciding factor in the game over 32 minutes was not effort, nor turnovers. The biggest deciding factor was not getting the easy break. In the case of Clearfield, the easy break that kept falling short was in the form of easy shots. The Lady Bison had quick shots in the paint along with some quick jump shots, but none seemed to go.
In the end, despite a late rally, the Lady Bison fell short in a close 27-25 loss to Bellefonte.
“We never got the break of the easy shot. It seemed like we weren’t making all the inside shots, and they were. It’s tough to come back. The kids get demoralized because they’re missing the easy layups, and it’s really tough for us to come back,” Castagnolo said afterward. ”I try to tell the kids lets forget about that and come back and do it again. They get demoralized.”
Scoring in the first half was slow, and not a regular occurrence as after just one quarter Bellefonte held just a 5-3 advantage, and even after two quarters of play it was only 15-10. However, Bellefonte seemed to gain some momentum in the second half, getting out to a double-digit advantage midway through the third quarter. Clearfield would not go away, however, as some strong rebounds from Emily Aveni and Maggie Sopic kept the Lady Bison in it.
Aveni would end the night with a game-high 10 boards, while Sopic would be the only player from either squad hitting double-digits in scoring, with 10 points on the night.
“I liked how the flow of the game was going for us. They (Bellefonte) played tough defense. But some of those easy shots came back and haunted us,” Castagnolo said.
What stopped the momentum in the second half for Clearfield was not just the inside shots, but also free-throws. The Lady Bison only went 7-for-16 from the line, while the Lady Red Raiders did not step foot to the line even once on the night.
However, despite the struggles, Clearfield soon found its footing in the fourth quarter, as they stepped up big on defense, forcing seven turnovers in the quarter, and also forcing difficult shots. In the fourth quarter, Bellefonte was only 1-for-7 from the floor, and the lone basket came with less than a minute left in the game. Although the one basket ultimately was the deciding factor, Castagnolo was extremely impressed with how his team performed.
“The fourth quarter was all ours. To hold a team to two points in the fourth quarter, in a close game, and still lose, it shows we were playing tough defense,” He said. ”We just had a crucial turnover here and there, missed some crucial foul shots. They all came back to haunt us.”
Emily Ryan would hit the final shot of the night, a three-point jumper, as time expired to make the score just a two-point margin, but Castagnolo and many of the fans in attendance felt that Clearfield should have won, had it not been for some of the struggles, especially in the final quarter of play.
“We should have won the game. I can’t say anything about the effort, it was excellent. Yet, a crucial turnover, a crucial 1-on-1; it’s a tough loss,” Castagnolo said.
The junior varsity squad was also in a close contest to open the night, winning their game 31-28.
Castagnolo admitted afterward that their next contest, next Friday night at Curwensville, would be a tough one for his team, and told his squad after the game that they deserved a break before getting back to work for what he feels will be a difficult contest.
“I think they need the next couple days off. We played three games this week, and I think they need a break. We’ll get back on Monday to get ready for Curwensville,” Castagnolo said. ”They know Curwensville is very good. It’s going to take a good effort for us to get refocused, and that’s why I think we need a couple days off, to get refocused, and I think we’ll be fine.”
Next Friday’s contest at Curwensville has a tip off at 6 p.m. for the jayvee game, with the varsity contest to follow.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellefonte 5 10 10 2 – 27
Clearfield 3 7 7 8 – 25
Tamminga 0 0-0 0, Gregor 0 0-0 0, McCartney 3 0-0 6, Moriarta 2 0-0 4, Nedasky 0 0-0 0, Steer 1 0-0 3, Tessler 0 0-0 0, Franks 2 0-0 4, J. Book 1 0-0 2, C. Book 3 0-0 6, Wetzler 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 0-0 27
Castagnolo 0 0-0 0, Spencer 1 0-0 3, Ryan 3 0-0 7, Waring 0 0-0 0, Riddell 0 0-0 0, Lash 0 0-0 0, Aveni 1 0-1 2, Sopic 3 4-7 10, Glenny 0 0-0 0, Aycock 0 0-0 0, Ishman 0 3-8 3, Ireland 0 0-0 0. Totals 8 7-16 25
Three-Point Shots: BF-Steer; CF-Spencer, Ryan
Field Goals (Made-Attempted): 13-35/8-34
Team Fouls: 13/9
Lady Bison Scoreboard:
|@ Brookville Tip-Off Tourney|
|12/06||vs. Brookville||ppd.||0 – 0|
|12/07||vs. Brookville||18 – 45||0 – 1|
|12/07||vs. North Clarion||47 – 38||1 – 1|
|12/11||CENTRAL||35 – 54||1 – 2|
|12/13||HUNTINGDON||23 – 39||1 – 3|
|12/16||@ Punxsutawney||24 – 66||1 – 4|
|12/17||@ Bald Eagle Area||39 – 32||2 – 4|
|12/20||BELLEFONTE||25 – 27||2 – 5|
|01/17||@ St. Marys|
|01/28||BALD EAGLE AREA|
|02/07||@ Penns Valley|