HYDE — The bitter cold that winter brings gave many folks in Clearfield a reason to find a warm place to get comfortable. For some, that came in the form of the Bison Gymnasium, since the Lady Bison would take to the floor on Friday night. The warmth of the indoors felt good for players, coaches, and fans alike. The only individuals in the gym that were hoping to make it a cold night were the opposing Lady Eagles of Bald Eagle, as they were ready for the Mountain League contest.
However, the warmth of the gym quickly turned hot, but it was thanks to the Lady Bison. This night saw Joey Castagnolo’s team find a fire that wasn’t seen in their previous contest.
An offense that kept up speed in transition and in the paint, a defense that forced bad decisions, and the comfort of trusting teammates kept the Lady Bison out front from the opening basket until the final buzzer. The temperature outside was in single digits, but Clearfield was running a fever thanks to a decisive 46-27 victory.
Castagnolo afterwards knew exactly why his team won the game. It was all about speed.
“Our quickness just dominated and got us easy layups in the first half. We ran the floor, had some nice looks,” he said on the sidelines. “That’s the way we play basketball.”
The speed was on display early for Clearfield in the first quarter. At almost any opportunity the Lady Bison had, they were going after Bald Eagle in order to cause difficulties. The aggressive play forced the Lady Eagles into producing 11 turnovers, while when Bald Eagle was able to get a shot off, many of them did not fall. At the end of the first quarter, Clearfield held the visitors to only 2-for-9 from the field, while holding onto a 13-5 lead.
When it came to the second quarter, the Lady Bison went on an even bigger charge.
Not one Bald Eagle player saw a shot fall for eight minutes. A dismal 0-for-14 from the floor, with the lone point coming on a free throw from Morgan Chambers, was coupled with a dominant performance on defense from Nicolette Brossard, Nikki Chew, and Alayna Ryan to give Clearfield a 27-6 advantage heading into the break.
“I really think it’s our defense. On that end, I can coach the defense and I was telling them to jump those passes, and that really made a difference,” Castagnolo said. “In the second quarter, we were jumping those passes on the post. Alayna (Ryan) and Brooke (Cline) were creating havoc out front.
Ryan would finish the night with 11 points, seven steals, three rebounds and nine assists. However, she was not the only one in double figures. Ally Lindstrom added in 10 points herself, while Brooke Cline had a career night. She finished with a game-high 18 points, and made it a double-double thanks to 10 rebounds.
Cline also added in a pair of blocks and four assists.
Castagnolo was quick to point out with Cline, her points came in transition on turnovers, and came from the opposite side of the court.
“She’s almost mastered the left-hand side. And that’s important to my offense. When we’re running our offense, everyone knows you can’t just shoot right; you got to shoot left. And that’s her job, to make left-hand layups,” Castagnolo said.
Castagnolo was also quick to talk about Lindstrom’s play, especially after some early mistakes, and her ability to adapt to change.
“Ally took some ill-advised shots early, so I sat her down and we talked. She shot much better after we talked, so I was happy with Ally’s play. What I liked is she took over point guard when I took Alayna out to give her a break. I was happy with all of my starters.”
The third quarter was more of the same as the Lady Bison again outscored Bald Eagle, 15-6, and forced another four turnovers.
It was the fourth quarter where Clearfield struggled, as Bald Eagle would out-score the home team 15-4 in the final stanza. The Lady Eagles were paced by Alexis Bucha, who scored eight of her 14 points in the final quarter. Bucha was a couple of rebounds short of of a double double. It was Chambers who led in the rebound category, finishing the night with 10 boards.
“I think we coasted a little in the second half. We made some ill-advised shots, and some ill-advised passing, but maybe we were tired,” Castagnolo said.
Bald Eagle was able to pick up a win in the junior varsity contest, a 33-20 final.
Sitting at 5-5, Clearfield doesn’t have to wait long to return to the court as they play host to Brookville on Monday night. Tip off set for 6 p.m. for the jayvee game with varsity to follow.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Bald Eagle 5 1 6 15 – 27
Clearfield 13 14 15 4 – 46
Bald Eagle – 27
Kilmore 0 0-0 0, J. Lingle 1 1-1 4, Barnhart 0 0-0 0, Wellar 0 0-2 0, Watkins 0 0-0 0, Chambers 0 1-4 1, McCaslin 2 2-2 6, Veneziano 1 0-4 2, Dyre 0 0-0 0, Bucha 7 0-2 14. TOTALS 12 4-15 27.
Clearfield – 46
Brossard 2 0-0 4, Chew 1 0-0 2, Cline 8 2-2 18, Ryan 4 3-7 11, Lindstrom 3 3-5 10, Gisewhite 0 0-0 0, Clark 0 0-0 0, McLain 0 0-0 0, Twigg 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 1-4 1. TOTALS 15 9-18 46.
Three-Point Baskets: J. Lingle/Lindstrom
Fouled Out: Brossard
Lady Bison Scoreboard:
|12/09&10||@ Brookville Tip-off Tourney|
|12/09||vs. Clarion-Limestone||64 – 22||1 – 0|
|12/10||vs. North Clarion||39 – 51||1 – 1|
|12/14||@ Central||24 – 64||1 – 2|
|12/16||HUNTINGDON||43 – 35||2 – 2|
|12/19||BELLEFONTE||52 – 55||2 – 3|
|12/21||@ Tyrone||47 – 65||2 – 4|
|12/23||DUBOIS||52 – 45||3 – 4|
|12/28||CURWENSVILLE||52 – 51||4 – 4|
|01/03||@ Punxsutawney||33 – 50||4 – 5|
|01/06||BALD EAGLE AREA||46 – 27||5 – 5|
|01/10||@ Penns Valley|
|02/01||@ Penns Valley|