Bison Cagers Put Up Strong Second-Half Comeback But Fall Short To St. Mary’s

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HYDE — As the first month of the year passed the halfway point, the basketball season for the Clearfield Bison (3-9) and coach Forrest Campman just passed the halfway point as well.  It has been a struggle thus far, but the team has played hard all year, and are always looking for more.

Inside the Arthur J. Weiss Gymnasium, the squad was hoping to keep the momentum from their victory earlier in the week and carry it over against the Flying Dutch of St. Mary’s.

Early on, it seemed like the Bison would struggle, but kept the game close heading into the halftime break down by six.  But, in the second half the Bison hit their stride, pressing the opposition at every possible moment and putting up points when needed.

They got the lead late, but then the wheels then began falling off.  Late turnovers and on-point foul shooting put St. Mary’s on top for good late in the game. When the final horn went off, the Bison were looking up at the worse end of a 51-41 score.

In the locker room, Campman was disappointed at the final outcome, but not at his team.

“My kids come to practice and they practice hard, but they almost feel like they don’t have that will a lot of times in practice.  Tonight, they were ready to play, and they feel bad tonight,” Campman said.  “I thought our effort was our best effort in a month.  Our execution was not good.  But, I have a bunch of kids that can probably score if we had that one true ball-handler.”

St. Mary’s (5-9) was able to swing the ball all across the court to every player that stepped onto the hardwood, with four of their scorers hitting double-digits. Campman was impressed with St. Marys’ Caleb Bennett, who had 11 points on the night, but it was his ball-handling that made a big difference.

He accounted for a team-high eight assists, but had a part in at least another nine possessions that ended up in scores.

“If that Bennett kid wasn’t playing tonight, they may’ve scored just 12 points,” Campman said.  “He may not have had the assists, but he had the pass before the assist, so he had a lot of points, but they mostly came off a pass from him or a pass leading him.”

Ryan Miller would lead all scoring with 12 points, plus seven boards.  Both Parker Housler and Bennett had 11 each while Zach Reigel added another 10.

In the first half, the pace that St. Mary’s had was strong and got Clearfield on its toes early, getting down but not out.  But, the first half for the Flying Dutch was outright dominant when it came to rebounds.  The Bison only recorded three rebounds the entire first half, not because they didn’t play for the ball, but because they did not play for the ball quick enough.

“There were too many of those loose ball rebounds.  We’re not a super quick team, and we were not quick enough to a lot of those loose rebounds,” Campman said.  “If there’s anything I do get on them about it’s we’re too flat-footed too many times.”

But in the second half, the Bison seemed to plant their feet and began making critical baskets when needed.  The squad was down two points at an early juncture in the second half, but then Jon Janocko had a good look behind the arc and drilled a three-point shot, one of six for the home team.  That gave Clearfield the lead and seemed to light a fire under them.  But as quickly as it came, it disappeared when Rudy Glexner hit his lone three-pointer, but Clearfield wouldn’t go away, pressuring and forcing some tough shots.

Clearfield would keep it close through the fourth quarter, but then things started going wrong with turnovers, fouls, and St. Mary’s not missing from the foul line.  Still, Campman was pleased with the effort from his team.

“First half, I wasn’t happy how we played into their hands defensively.  At the same time, when you’re a team that’s struggling like we are to give up points and score points, I’m willing to let the game be close heading into the fourth quarter rather than playing ourselves out of it.  It was one of those games where we made poor decisions and poor plays, which is something we can alleviate,” Campman said.  “I thought (Wil) Myers had a good game as a freshman, but it’s like he would make one good play then the next one is like ‘oh, he’s a freshman’ but clearly he had a good game as a freshman out there.

“I don’t think Christian (Lezzer) played poorly, he just shot poorly, and he probably feels like he didn’t play well.”

Myers ended the night with a team-high 11 points, while Lezzer would add on another six, while accounting for six assists.  Sophomore Cody Spaid had the Bison’s first five points of the game, bringing them within a possession of the lead, and also had some strong passes that led to some of Myers’ points in the second half.

“I thought Spaid gave us points when we really needed it, like we would get down six but then he’d bring it back to within two or three,” Campman said.  “I think if we had a guy that would lead Christian or Myers into those kind of shots, and we have guys that can do that, but we struggle to get to that kind of shot.”

Clearfield did win a close contest in the junior-varsity game by a final of 42-36.

The Bison now hit two consecutive weeks of three games each week, which Campman said is one advantage to basketball compared to football, where he is an assistant coach.

“There’s not a lot of practice.  One good thing about basketball, you don’t have a lot of time to celebrate a win, or sulk in a loss,” Campman said.  “You immediately get back out there and play.”

Clearfield will host all three of its games next week starting with Dubois on Monday, Central on Wednesday and Huntingdon on Friday.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

St. Mary’s   12   10   10   19   –   51

Clearfield   7   9   15   10   –   41

 

St. Mary’s 51

Fritz 0 0-0 0, Miller 6 0-2 12, Reigel 4 2-2 10, Housler 4 2-4 11, Fox 0 0-0 0, Frey 0 0-0 0, Auman 0 0-0 0, Lexner 1 4-8 7, Straub 0 0-0 0, Bennett 4 0-1 11, Gallagher 0 0-0 0, Lenze 0 0-0 0, Reushner 0 0-0 0.  TOTALS 19 8-17 51

Clearfield 41

Ford 1 0-0 2, C. Lezzer 2 0-2 6, R. Lezzer 0 0-0 0, Taylor 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0-0 0, Sellers 2 1-2 5, Westen 0 0-0 0, Janocko 2 0-0 5, Jones 0 0-0 0, Spaid 2 0-0 5, Myers 3 3-5 11, Brown 2 0-0 4, Hryn 1 1-2 3.  TOTALS 15 5-11 41

Three-Point Shots:  SM-Housler, Glexner, Bennett (3); CF-C. Lezzer (2), Janocko, Spaid, Myers (2)

GAME STATISTICS
St. Mary’s/Clearfield

Field Goals Made-Attempted:  19-36/15-31

Team Rebounds:  24/14

Turnovers:  13/11

Team Fouls:  10/18

Bison Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
12/09 CURWENSVILLE 38 – 56 0 – 1
12/10 @ Central 32 – 55 0 – 2
12/13 @ Huntingdon 41 – 65 0 – 3
12/18 BALD EAGLE AREA 57 – 89 0 – 4
12/20 @ Bellefonte 52 – 51 1 – 4
@ PL Lions Club Tourney
12/27 vs. Bald Eagle Area 41 – 68 1 – 5
12/28 vs. Harmony 51 – 32 2 – 5
01/03 @ Punxsutawney 38 – 70 2 – 6
01/06 TYRONE ppd. 2 – 6
01/07 @ Brookville ppd. 2 – 6
01/09 TYRONE 40 – 62 2 – 7
01/10 @ Penns Valley 39 – 68 2 – 8
01/14 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA 71 – 56 3 – 8
01/17 ST. MARYS 41 – 51 3 – 9
01/20 DUBOIS
01/22 CENTRAL
01/24 HUNTINGDON
01/28 @ Brookville
01/29 @ Bald Eagle Area
01/31 BELLEFONTE
02/05 @ Tyrone
02/07 PENNS VALLEY
02/12 @ Philipsburg-Osceola
02/14 @ Curwensville

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