HYDE — For many schools this past week, things have been rather off. Classes picked up last Thursday, but almost immediately upon returning schools were letting out early and not opening, due to the frigid weather that hit the area on Monday night into Wednesday morning. This left little time for any sports activities, and trying to build on achieving victory.
The Lady Bison have gotten stronger as the year progressed, and it seemed as though they were on the cusp of victory only to fall short. This week, after a tough go at Tyrone on Wednesday night, head coach Joey Castagnolo had his girls ready to hit the hardwood at the Arthur J. Weiss Gymnasium once again. On the other half of the court, it was Andrea Borland preparing her Lady Rams of Penns Valley to spoil the return home.
What can only be described could be summed up in the phrase “same story, different chapter.” The Lady Bison were pushing themselves, and each other, from the opening tip to the final whistle, putting forth one of their best efforts of the entire year. Yet, missed opportunities and failed possessions deflated what was an incredible game for the entire squad.
After 32 minutes, Clearfield was again left wondering what might have been as they fell short 42-33.
“We have a great effort, yet we always come up short. This is very frustrating, ” Castagnolo said afterward. ”We were as good as that team (Penns Valley), but it came down to some possessions, hurrying and things.
“But what an effort in that fourth quarter. Defensively, I couldn’t ask for anything more. We have to learn that each possession is important, and to score.”
The fourth quarter was where the Lady Bison seemed to shine the brightest. After falling behind entering the final eight minutes, the Bison defense strengthened, keeping Penns Valley away from the basket, while also creating turnovers and handling the ball in what could be their best all-around game played thus far in the season.
“They were trying to pass the ball around the perimeter to get us out of position, then go inside to dump it in,” Castagnolo said. ”We didn’t let that happen. I knew going inthat they were an excellent foul-shooting team; so that’s why I didn’t want to put them on the line.”
Penns Valley did not score their first basket in the fourth quarter till nearly three minutes remained in the game, however in the first three quarters, it was a scoring frenzy for starters Mary Ilgen, Karli Ripka and Kourtney Beansderfer. Ripka and Beansderfer both hit double digits in scoring, putting up 10 and 12 points respectvely, while Ilgen added another nine and also accounted for four assists. Ilgen would score the most points in the second quarter, including one basket that came at the buzzer; shortly after Clearfield senior Brianna Spencer had walked off the court with what looked like an ankle injury.
For Castagnolo, that was a blow to the entire team that at the end of the half was hard to battle back from.
“She’s my leader out there. She has to learn to take control of the game, and she did tonight,” Castagnolo said. ”The injury did hurt her, and we got down a little bit there. When she got hurt, kids got down, and they went on a little run there.”
The injury did not seem severe, and Spencer would return to the court with vengeance. In the third quarter, Spencer drained six of her game-high 14 points on two big shots from three-point range, and brought the team closer to getting victory. Entering the fourth quarter, with Clearfield down 12, it seemed possible that they could make the comeback. However, with the perimeter passing, Clearfield may not have allowed the Lady Rams to score, but it took a lot of time off the clock.
At that point, frustration seemed to set in as the team got a bit sloppy with fouls, while Penns Valley also pushed back with some hard fouls of their own, including one that saw Maggie Sopic end up on the court via her hair or jersey.
Castagnolo said that his team was getting frustrated late in the contest, as they were battling back, and let emotions get to them. However, he did say that his team was starting to get a little worn down late in the going.
“It was a little fatigue. We had an excellent effort at Tyrone a couple days ago, then the effort tonight to come up short, we’re getting a little upset at the outcome of games,” Castagnolo said.
The Lady Bison dropped the opening junior varsity contest as well in a close 30-24 game.
Despite the frustration of not being able to close the deal, Castagnolo said that despite the 2-9 record, his team has grown leaps and bounds, especially in just a week’s time. This week was a struggle for his team with all activities for the Clearfield Area School District being canceled from Monday night through Wednesday morning due to the frigid arctic temperatures that hit the area. However, Castagnolo could smile because his team had come together in many ways, and are now pushing each other beyond the games to get better.
“That says a lot. We have learned so much, and gained so much, since the Punxsy game last Friday. In a week’s time, we have grown together, kids are pushing each other in practices, and it’s all going to work out,” Castagnolo said. ”Tyrone, they’re an excellent team. Punxsy is an excellent team, and this Penns Valley team is good too. They know how to take care of the basketball, so kudos to them.
“We just have to learn on some of these possessions to take our time, look for the open girl, and not rush things. What an effort tonight.”
Clearfield’s next three games will be on the road, with two next week. They face Philipsburg-Osceola on Wednesday, then travel to St. Mary’s next Friday. After a third road game on January 21 against Central, the team will return home on January 23 to host Central Mountain, which could possibly be the first Lady Bison game played on the new gymnasium at the back of the school.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Penns Valley 9 18 11 4 – 42
Clearfield 6 11 9 7 – 33
Penns Valley 42
Ripka 4 0-0 10, Struble 0 0-0 0, Ilgen 3 3-6 9, Swartz 0 0-0 0, Lyons 2 3-4 7, Beansderfer 4 2-2 12, Ironside 1 2-2 4, Orndorf 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 14 10-14 42.
Castagnolo 0 0-0 0, Spencer 5 1-2 14, Ryan 1 1-2 3, Leigey 0 0-0 0, Waring 0 0-0 0, Riddell 0 0-0 0, Lash 0 0-0 0, Aveni 1 0-0 2, Sopic 2 3-4 7, Glenny 0 0-0 0, Aycock 0 0-0 0, Ishman 3 1-2 7, Ireland 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 13 6-10 33.
Three-Point Shots: PV-Ripka (2), Beansderfer (2); CF-Spencer (3)
Field Goals (Made-Attempted): 14-35/13-33
Team Fouls: 12/16
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|
|12/27||@ Curwensville||46 – 50 ot||2 – 6|
|01/03||PUNXSUTAWNEY||39 – 63||2 – 7|
|01/08||@ Tyrone||41 – 60||2 – 8|
|01/10||PENNS VALLEY||33 – 42||2 – 9|
|01/17||@ St. Marys|
|01/28||BALD EAGLE AREA|
|02/07||@ Penns Valley|