HYDE — There was no rest for the weary in the case of the Clearfield Bison basketball squad. Just one night after taking down Clarion-Limestone, the Bison Gymnasium was ready to roar its approval of the home team on a foggy Friday night. The one-loss Bison welcomed in the Huntingdon Bearcats, a team the Bison defeated 68-51 on the Bearcat home court at the beginning of the season.
The visiting squad came prepared, looking to avenge that loss. Early on, it looked as though they were capable of doing so. Both Clearfield and Huntingdon went back-and-forth for the first 16 minutes of the game, and into part of the third quarter.
But, Clearfield soon took control thanks to defense, and aggressiveness. The latter part of the game belonged to the home team. Whether capturing key rebounds, hitting foul shots, turning turnovers into points, or strong defense, the Bison were the ones in the end to look up at the scoreboard to see another win on their record thanks to a 67-54 triumph.
Head coach Nate Glunt spoke afterwards how the game could have gone either way for both teams, but knew what his team did to tip the scale in favor of the Bison.
“(In the) second half we were able to contest their jump shots,” he said. “It was an up and down game. They took a lot of jump shots, so when you shoot the ball outside that much, eventually you hope they start missing.
But, they didn’t start missing until the third quarter.”
The game began quickly as Jonathan Price scored the opening bucket for Huntingdon just over 10 seconds into the game, but then Clearfield answered back when Evan Brown dropped one in from the post. It would be that kind of game the entire first quarter. It wasn’t until Will Myers hit the first three-point basket of the night when Clearfield saw their first lead of the game. However, in the first quarter Glunt was forced to take two time outs in a matter of two minutes. One was to settle his team down, and the other on an in-bounds pass after Brown almost violated the five-second clock.
The timeouts seemed to settle the Bison down, as they were able to get under control, and took a 20-18 lead right at the end of the quarter when Brown hit a jumper with seconds remaining. Brown ended up leading Clearfield in scoring with 19 points.
Brown only drained one basket in the second quarter, but that is when Myers, David McKenzie, and Tommy Hazel put on their own clinic.
Myers hit only one shot from the floor in the first half, a three-point shot from the post in the first quarter, but in the second quarter he earned his points at the foul line. Hazel did the same, as the two combined to go 6-for-8 at the line in the quarter, with Hazel earning six of his 15 points in the second stanza. But Glunt was extremely proud of his play on missed shots, both offensively and defensively, as he earned a double-double with 14 rebounds, nine of them coming in the first half. With a steal and a pair of blocks, Hazel added another big night to his senior season.
“Tommy was really active. He caught a couple loose balls that he got two hands on, and a couple of those rebounds were on foul shots, which was huge,” Glunt said. “He did an excellent job.”
Heading into halftime, Clearfield held a 37-32 advantage, but that just as easily could have been 34-32. The reason it wasn’t didn’t come from his starting five, but rather the play from the bench. Johnny Gates provided a big three-point shot in the first quarter, and he added an assist in the second quarter to McKenzie to give Clearfield a bigger gap at halftime.
In the second half, it was Ryan Chew making the big impact off the bench. On a critical play when Huntingdon began a run to the basket, Chew pressed hard onto Price, and managed to knock the ball away for the turnover. Even though the play led to no points, the turnover halted momentum on the side of Huntingdon.
Chew and Gates each contributed three points, and Glunt was quick to praise both of them for their defense of the basket.
“Johnny had a big three in the first half, and played hard on defense,” he said. “Chew, he’s an elite defender. To be able to take the ball away from Price, he played that so good. He stays in front of his man, stays active, low, and did a great job for us.”
Huntingdon did have two players in double figures, as Price finished with a game-high of 21, while Nick Rigby finished with another 20. For Clearfield, aside from Brown and Hazel, McKenzie and Myers also made it into double figures with 10 and 15 points, respectively.
The Bearcats did get one measure of revenge, as they opened the night in the junior varsity game with a 49-35 victory over Clearfield.
Despite being 13-1 on the season, Glunt is always looking to what more his team can do to improve its game. Although he did not say exactly what needed to be improved upon, he was willing to say what he saw from the opposition to help his team going forward.
“Last night (Thursday), we played a 6′ 7″ guy, and we learned some things we gotta do. Tonight, we played a really good team that attacked us, and exposed some things we are doing wrong. So, we got to fix those,” he said.
As far as what he and his Bison team are focused on next, Glunt pulled out a bit of an ode to Bill Belichick in his final quote following the victory.
“It’s onto DuBois now,” Glunt said.
That game is a road contest for Clearfield on Monday as they will tip off the junior varsity contest between the Bison and Beavers at 6 p.m. with the varsity contest to follow.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Huntingdon 18 14 11 11 – 54
Clearfield 20 17 16 14 – 67
Huntingdon – 54
Smith 1 0-0 2, Price 9 0-0 21, Gearhart 0 0-0 0, Watson 0 0-0 0, Sellers 2 0-0 6. Ritchey 0 0-0 0, Keller 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0, Sulesky 0 0-0 0, Lare 2 1-2 5, Rigby 9 0-2 20. TOTALS 23 1-4 54.
Clearfield – 67
McGinnis 0 0-0 0, Gates 1 0-2 3, Brown 8 0-1 19, Wilson 1 0-0 2, Lazauskas 0 0-0 0, Hess 0 0-0 0, McKenzie 4 1-4 10, Hazel 6 3-5 15, Myers 3 8-10 15, Chew 1 1-2 3. TOTALS 23 13-24 67.
Three-Point Shots: Price (3), Sellers (2), Rigby (2); Brown (3), McKenzie, Myers, Gates
Fouled Out: Ritchey
|12/09||@ Curwensville||81 – 38||1 – 0|
|12/13||CENTRAL||53 – 41||2 – 0|
|12/16||@ Huntingdon||68 – 51||3 – 0|
|12/19||@ Bellefonte||56 – 33||4 – 0|
|12/22||TYRONE||65 – 40||5 – 0|
|12/29&30||Purchase Line Christmas Tourney|
|12/29||vs. Northern Cambria||82 – 23||6 – 0|
|12/30||vs. Purchase Line||65 – 45||7 – 0|
|01/03||@ Brookville||83 – 59||8 – 0|
|01/06||@ Bald Eagle Area||73 – 30||9 – 0|
|01/09||@ Central||46 – 57||9 – 1|
|01/11||PENNS VALLEY||ppd.||9 – 1|
|01/12||PENNS VALLEY||51 – 34||10 – 1|
|01/13||@ Philipsburg-Osceola||75 – 28||11 – 1|
|01/19||CLARION-LIMESTONE||82 – 48||12 – 1|
|01/20||HUNTINGDON||67 – 54||13 – 1|
|01/31||BALD EAGLE AREA|
|02/03||@ Penns Valley|