HYDE — It was during the summer of 2012 that the Clearfield High School began its renovations on the school and neighboring facilities. The first big area in the sports department that got the overhaul was the Bison Sports Complex, along with the tennis court. The next area that was set to go was the gymnasium. For years the Arthur J. Weiss Gymnasium was where the Clearfield Bison would hit the hardwood, hoping for victory.
Friday night, fans of the Bison cagers arrived at the high school for the scheduled game against the Bellefonte Red Raiders. But, rather than enter the front of the school as has been done for years, the buses drove around back to let the visitors off to the locker rooms. Fans had to make a slightly longer walk through the school to the backside of the building.
What they found on the opposite side of the cafeteria was the opening of the entirely new Bison Gymnasium, with high ceilings, brighter lights, color-coordinated walls, and bleachers on both sides of the court. It would be the first time the Bison and head coach Forrest Campman would step foot and play ball in the new facility.
After 32 minutes of fast paced, tough basketball, the Bison (5-12) could look up at the new CNB Bank scoreboard and smile as the first game on the new hardwood would finish with a 58-39 victory.
For Campman, he was glad to not only see the victory, but the continued effort of his team and the improvement over the last several weeks in their play.
“We’ve been playing better lately. Our crowds are getting better. You play well, crowds get better. You don’t play well, people don’t come. We’re starting to be more competitive in games,” Campman said.
Clearfield would not trail once in the game, playing smart basketball among all the players, and making intelligent decisions. Three Bison players would hit double-digits in scoring, with Eric Sellers leading everyone with 16 points. But, Campman was quick to point out a lot of those points were easy baskets thanks to smart passes from everyone.
“I thought all the kids played well. We got the ball to Janocko where he could score inside, Christian (Lezzer) got five-footers rather than 20-footers, and he made them. You usually win games when you score in the paint,” Campman said.
“I’ve always believed in high school basketball, the team that makes the most layups wins the game. When we played BEA last game, they only had two 3-pointers, but it didn’t matter because layups worked against us. Layups are a lot easier to make, and we had a lot of layups tonight.”
Will Myers and Christian Lezzer each added in 11 points, while Jonathan Janocko picked up 12 rebounds. The majority of those were right in the paint, where the Red Raiders seemed to not get much going when on defense.
Bellefonte was led in scoring by Evan Wian with 15 points, but no other player on the opposition had more than six, while combined the Red Raiders only would get 11 rebounds, with Clearfield gaining an impressive 33. But, in the second half especially, the Bison were not going after the banzai shots, or trying to force the issue. At certain points Clearfield had nearly a 20-point lead and rather than go for the crazy shot, the team passed the ball to make the easier shot, adding points but also adding to the assists on the stat sheet.
“In the second half, I thought that was the best our team passed the ball all year long,” Campman said. ”We made extra passes, and it led to layups, and we weren’t shooting jump shots.
”My analogy for it is like hunting deer. You try to shoot a deer from 200 yards, then try to shoot one from 20 yards, you’re gonna be more successful. We were shooting well in range, and even if we we missed the shot, we were getting the offensive rebound,” Campman said.
The junior varsity squad had just as much success on the new hardwood as they would win the opening contest by a final of 45-36.
Now with just a few weeks left in the season, Campman said that the goal is simple for the team: finish strong.
“We had to beat them by two points at the very last second at their place at the beginning of the year, and I thought we controlled the whole game here,” Campman said. ”We got better, so now it’s about finishing out the season. Like last year, we want to be above .500 in our remaining games, be competitive in games, and make it an enjoyable experience for the seniors.”
“I told them in there that when you play sports a lot, it’s more for the friendships and memories rather than the wins or losses. You remember those things,” Campman said. ”I told them 40 years from now they could be sharing a Pepsi with each other about how they were on a team that won the first game in the new Clearfield gymnasium way back when.”
Clearfield has three games the upcoming week. Monday’s game is home against Brookville, which was originally a road game but was moved to the new gym due to schedule conflicts, then on Wednesday the Bison travel to Tyrone, and the final home game of the year will be on Friday night against Penns Valley.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellefonte 4 12 8 15 – 39
Clearfield 9 14 15 20 – 58
Rudloff 0 0-0 0, Grasser 0 0-0 0, Wian 6 2-5 15, Prysbys 1 3-4 5, Weaver 1 0-0 2, Leiter 1 1-2 3, Fortney 1 0-0 3, Knisely 0 0-0 0, Finley 1 0-0 2, Kreger 1 4-6 6, Caprio 0 0-0 0, Steiner 0 0-0 0, Moss 1 0-0 3, Feldman 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 13 10-17 39.
Ford 2 0-0 5, C. Lezzer 5 0-0 11, R. Lezzer 0 0-0 0, Taylor 0 0-0 0, E. Brown 0 0-0 0, Sellers 7 2-3 16, Westen 3 3-4 9, Janocko 2 0-2 4, Jones 0 0-0 0, Spaid 0 0-0 0, Myers 3 2-2 11, A. Brown 0 0-0 0, Hryn 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 23 7-11 58.
Three-Point Shots: BF-Wian, Fortney, Moss; CF-Ford, C. Lezzer, Myers
Field Goals (Made-Att): 13-37/23-52
Team Rebounds: 11/33
Team Fouls: 14/17
|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||49 – 65||3 – 10|
|01/22||CENTRAL||44 – 41||4 – 10|
|01/24||HUNTINGDON||49 – 61||4 – 11|
|01/28||@ Brookville||ppd.||4 – 11|
|01/29||@ Bald Eagle Area||53 – 73||4 – 12|
|01/31||BELLEFONTE||58 – 39||5 -12|