HYDE – Trailing 39-32 with 4:53 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Curwensville Lady Tide went on a 15-3 run to end the game and pick up the win over rival Clearfield, 47-42, Monday night on the Lady Bison home floor.
The win gives the Lady Tide the sweep on the 2013-14 campaign, having beaten Clearfield in overtime 50-46, on December 27, at Curwensville.
Curwensville Head Coach Rusty McCracken got what he expected, a tough game with Clearfield, saying afterwards, “We knew it was going to be a tough, physical battle. Clearfield played hard tonight and they have been in a lot of close games this season, so this was no surprise. They’re a pretty young team and should be better next year.”
Lady Bison Head Coach Joey Castagnolo commented, “Hats off to Curwensville. They scored when they needed to in the fourth quarter to earn the win. And I thought that we fell apart in the fourth quarter after we took a seven (39-32) point lead. We also may have relaxed a bit too much once we got ahead in the fourth.”
The Lady Tide took a one point lead into the second period, 9-8, as junior Ciara Strickland hit one of two free throws with just three seconds left in the opening frame.
Emily Aveni had six points in the first eight minutes for the Lady Bison to keep it close.
Both teams each hit for 10 second quarter points, with Strickland tallying eight for the Tide as Curwensville maintained its one point margin at intermission, 19-18.
Clearfield, with six minutes left in the first half, had a 14-9 lead on buckets by Sarah Aycock, Aveni and Brianna Spencer before Curwensville answered with an 8-0 run on three baskets by Strickland and two free throws by freshman Hannah Dixon.
The lead changed hands five times in the third quarter until Clearfield ended the third on a 10-0 burst to take command, 35-29, with just eight minutes left in the contest.
The 10-0 run saw five different Lady Bison score as Maggie Sopic, Spencer, Emily Ryan, Rachel Glenny and Aycock each had a basket.
With a six point Clearfield edge, 35-29, perhaps the biggest field goal of the night was a three pointer from Lady Tide Abby Dugo to open up the fourth quarter, cutting the Bison margin to 35-32.
However, Clearfield came back with two straight buckets to take its biggest lead of the game, 39-32, with 4:53 left on the clock.
Then the Lady Tide put together the largest and most important sprint of the game, scoring 11 unanswered points to take the lead for good, 43-39, with 2:44 left.
Dixon had six of the 11, while Strickland had the other five, including a three pointer.
Clearfield would get to within two, 43-41, on a Sopic field goal with 2:32 left in the best game played so far at the new Clearfield gymnasium.
The next points came from the free throw line, as Curwensville’s Tierra Shope went two for two to give the Lady Tide a four point lead, 45-41.
Ryan finished the scoring for Clearfield on the night with a free throw with only 40 seconds left, cutting the Tide margin to 45-42.
Heather Thorp sealed the deal for the Lady Tide with two free throws that gave Curwensville the five point victory, 47-42.
Strickland paced all scorers on the night with 22, while Dixon chipped in with 12.
Clearfield was led by Aveni and Sopic with 12 tallies each.
Castagnolo closed with, “It has been a tough year, as we have now lost six games by five points or less. It‘s a learning experience for us as we have only one senior (Brianna Spencer) on the team. So hopefully, down the road, these tough games pay off.”
McCracken ended with, “I thought we did a good job on the boards, especially in the crucial part of the fourth when Wassil (Kealy) and Shope (Tierra) pulled down some big defensive rebounds for us.”
The Tide (14-7) are hoping, with one game left, to win out and perhaps get a higher seed in the upcoming District 9 AA playoffs.
In the junior varsity game it was Clearfield coming away with a 36-19 victory. High scorer for Clearfield was Sarah Lash with 10 points and for Curwensville it was Shauna Guy with eight tallies. The Clearfield JV team, under coach Jerry Stewart, is now 10-8 on the season.
The Lady Tide close out the regular season, at home, on Wednesday against the Lady Warriors of West Branch in a game that will decide the championship of the Moshannon Valley League. The JV game starts at 6 pm with the varsity to immediately follow.
Curwensville beat the Lady Warriors on January 29, at West Branch, 53-37.
The Lady Bison (3-17) entertain Philipsburg-Osceola Tuesday night with an encounter with the Lady Mounties, who beat Clearfield earlier this season, 60-57. The junior varsity tips off at 6 pm and the varsity battle will immediately follow.
Listen to Clearfield-Philipsburg-Osceola girls basketball Tuesday night on WOKW-FM, 102.9, with the pre-game show beginning at 7:15 pm.
CURWENSVILLE - 47
Heather Thorp 0 2-4 2, Tierra Shope 1 4-5 6, Ciara Strickland 9 3-4 22, Abby Dugo 1 0-0 3, Kealy Wassil 1 0-0 2, Hannah Dixon 5 2-2 12, TOTALS - 17 11-15 47.
CLEARFIELD - 42
Briana Spencer 2 0-0 4, Emily Ryan 2 1-2 5, Sarah Lash 0 0-0 0, Emily Aveni 4 4-4 12, Maggie Sopic 6 0-0 12, Sarah Aycock 2 2-2 6, Victoria Ireland 0 0-0 0, Tessa Waring 0 0-0 0, Margo Castagnolo 0 0-0 0, Rachel Glenny 1 1-2 3, TOTALS - 17 8-10 42.
THREE-POINTERS: Strickland, Dugo
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
CURWENSVILLE 9 10 10 18 47
CLEARFIELD 8 10 17 7 42
OFFICIALS: Chuck Pasternak, Robert Mason, John Fricker