HYDE — The Clearfield boys\’ basketball team played an inspired game in a 78-70 loss at the hands of Huntingdon Monday evening at Arthur J. Weiss Gymnasium, but head coach Forrest Campman feels a change in his team\’s philosophy might be needed.
The Bisons didn\’t play as well as Campman had hoped on defense, although Clearfield maintained its energy against a bigger, faster Bearcats squad. Nor is Campman receiving the bench play he thought he would get coming into the season. So, after a 3-3 start, the Bisons may tweak their style in order to play the best basketball they can.
However, don\’t think for one minute that Campman and his coaching staff are throwing in the towel.
\”Right now, our bench is struggling coming into the game,\” Campman said. \”You can\’t play five guys the whole game. We did it the last game and won. We were ahead. So, we were able to hold the ball and delay. You have to get a little more contribution there. It\’s not that the guys aren\’t trying, we\’re just struggling right now a little bit. We might have to try some different combinations off the bench. I thought one of our strengths this year was we were going to be nine, 10 guys deep. We\’re struggling in that area right now.\”
The Bisons are playing an up-tempo game with varied success in this early point of the season. Right now, Campman and his coaching staff are going to review videotape and evaluate what they do have to play with and go from there.
\”The style of play we are playing, we can\’t play five,\” Campman said. \”We are going to have to maybe re-evaluate the style we are using and we\’ll talk about it and see what we want to do as coaches. Obviously, if the game turns into a full-court game, like tonight, I expect us to get a little more help off the bench. Guys struggled off the bench tonight and we got tired. They are in shape, and we do work hard in practice. I just thought we didn\’t come out and play defense the way we have to play to start the game off. Any game we are playing with an exchange of baskets in the first quarter, it\’s trouble for us. We can\’t do that. We have to hold teams in the 40-50 point-range to beat them, and if it gets to a high-scoring game that spells trouble for us. Those games are good for fans to watch, but I know we are going to struggle in a higher scoring game.\”
The Bisons may have to alienate their fast-break offense and settle for something a little slower with plenty of half-court sets.
\”I know we can handle the ball decent, overall,\” Campman said. \”When you go to a half-court game, you are not asking your defense to make some plays. We try to make some plays on the defensive end to give ourselves some easy offensive baskets. But, it sorta back-fired on us tonight. Our press didn\’t work real well. Maybe I was hard-headed and stayed in the press the whole game and should have gotten out. But at a certain point – and I thought about it a couple times early on – its almost like you are going into a retreat in the middle of a game if you do what you plan to do and then change. I don\’t want the kids to think \’OK, we can\’t play the way we practice to play. \”We\’ll have to look at some of those things.\”
James Zimmerman led Clearfield in scoring with 21 points. Mike Johnson contributed 19 points and John Lhota chipped in with 13.
\”This was John Lhota\’s best game of the year,\” Campman said. \”I thought he played a pretty solid game. He didn\’t have many turnovers and ran the offense well. He moved better tonight. Mike Johnson played great the last four or five games, but he struggled the first half, tonight. He had a very good second half. But, that is tough when you are depending on him to play great every single night. He has played very good ball for us.\”
Andy Young led Huntingdon in scoring with 30 points – all off the bench. Derek Heath added 12 points and Zack Reed chipped in with 10.
Both teams got off to a quick start by running up-and-down the floor and hitting easy shots, leading to an 18-18 struggle heading into the second quarter.
Clearfield came out with a spark to start the second quarter as Lhota drilled a 3-point to get the Bisons offense going. Young came back with a layup and a four straight foul shots from Jason Criswell gave the Bearcats a 26-21 lead with 6:10 left in the half.
The Bisons went inside-and-outside to pull within two, 32-30. Johnson\’s layup started the run and Andrew Janocko hit a jumper in the paint and a three-pointer from the right wing to close the gap.
Huntington was then able to penetrate inside Clearfield\’s defense and get to the basket for easy shots. Eric Buza hit a layup and Jake Cunningham hit a pair of foul shots to go with a Young layup and another layup from Buza as Huntington stretched the lead to 10, 40-30.
\”I thought the whole turning point was the last minute of the second quarter,\” Campman said. \”It was a 3-point game, and they ran off eight points to end the quarter. That was a crucial point right there because they get a 10-point lead. We\’re not really capable of playing man-to-man defense. It\’s not that we can\’t do it. The matchups are bad and we fall behind. It\’s really hard to come back if you can\’t play some man-to-man. We know that is a weakness.
\”I thought they were a little bit bigger and a little bit faster. They move the ball pretty well. We didn\’t really step in and stop them on their penetration.\”
Clearfield started the second half with a flurry as Janocko hit a foul shot to kickstart the Bisons and Johnson followed with a layup. After a bucket from Young, Zimmerman hit a jumper in the paint and Johnson added another layup and the Bisons closed the gap to five, 42-37. The Bisons managed to remain within five heading into the final quarter down 53-48, but Huntingdon\’s ability to get to the foul line in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference.
\”The only stretch we played well was the first couple minutes of the third quarter,\” Campman said. \”I think after about two or three minutes – with all those minutes those guys were getting – they got fatigued. They made plays defensively, and we were where we needed to be, but when you are playing that extended minutes and the way we ask them to move defensively – they got a step slow, again. It\’s not conditioning, it\’s just being worn down. They wore us down there.
\”They got the ball inside and when they got the ball inside they got within five feet of the basket it seemed like it was going to be a basket or a foul. For us on the other end, they pretty much let us go up with shots and didn\’t foul us at the other end. We got the same look at the basket inside that they got in the second half.\”
In junior varsity action, Clearfield improved to 5-1 with a 52-43 win. Matt Shiner scored 18 points, while Parker Herrington chipped in with 15.
Clearfield hosts Johnsonburg Thursday. Junior varsity action is set to tip-off at 6 p.m.
Huntingdon 78, Clearfield 70
Huntingdon – 78
Clearfield – 70
John Lhota 4 2-2 13, Jarrin Campman 1 0-0 3, Andrew Janocko 2 1-2 6, Kyle Kline 2 1-2 6, Todd Hryn 1 0-2 2, James Zimmerman 9 0-0 21, Mike Johnson 8 3-3 19. Totals: 27 7-11 70.
3-pointers: Lhota 3, Zimmerman 3, Campman 1, Janocko 1, Kline 1.
Halftime score: Huntingdon 40, Clearfield 30.