HYDE — The Curwensville Golden Tide rode into Arthur J. Weiss Gymnasius on Friday night riding a 5-game win streak.
When the night was over it was Clearfield\’s pressure defense giving the visiting Tide fits as the Bisons rode their full-court press and a decent night shooting the basketball in a 51-41 victory.
\”Our defense has been pretty solid,\” Clearfield head coach Forrest Campman said. \”If you hold teams to under 50 points, you should win. I don\’t understand hows team can not play defense and win. In the long run, you have to play defense to be good. In the long run, the defense helps you win. But, obviously, you can be beaten by a good offense. At the end of the night it gives you a chance to compete every single game out there.\”
Clearfield (8-7) utilized its pressure defense to perfection. Curwensville had trouble breaking the press through the first three quarters of the game. And when the Tide did break the press their either hit an easy shot or succumbed to the Bisons half-court pressure.
Curwensville (10-5) came out flat and was never able to get anything going against the Bisons. Philip Michaels, Curwensville\’s leading scorer, was held to just five points. Joey Palmer scored 10 points, while Brandon McDonald added seven points.
The Bisons were able to handle any pressure Curwensville gave on defense, and was able to get inside for easy shots. It was how Clearfield took the ball inside that had the greatest impact. The Bisons were able to penetrate the lane for layups, and were able to hit mid-range shots inside the Tide defense that led to Clearfield taking a `12-6 lead after one quarter and building a 9-point halftime lead, 24-15.
\”I don\’t think we shot great from the outside,\” Campman said. \”I do think we hit a lot of nice (mid-range shots). Jarrin hit a nice three and was a big shot in the first half that gave us a 10-point lead. Kyle hit a real big 3, and James hit a 3 in that run in the second half. It was more of the 10-to-15 footer. They didn\’t give us a lot of layups. We usually get a lot of attempts at layups. They protected the basket real well.\”
James Zimmerman led Clearfield with 16 points and nine rebounds. He also had one steal. John Lhota scored 10 points and Jarrin Campman added seven as seven different players scored.
Curwensville couldn\’t find any rhythm on offense as it was unable to solve Clearfield\’s press for the first three quarters of the game, and was also out-rebounded.
\”I was disappointed with how we handled the ball,\” Curwensville head coach Matt Wassil said. \”We turned over too much. We didn\’t shoot the ball fairly well. That\’s something you can\’t really worry about or adjust. I was more concerned with how we handled the ball. We had two turnovers in situations where we were getting back in the game. Then we made a turnover that allowed them to extend their lead again.\”
The Tide took their only lead of the game, 2-0, as Palmer started the game by hitting a layup. Then Clearfield\’s defense struck.
Clearfield continually forced the Tide into turnovers and gained defensive stops and converted on offense to build a 6-2 lead on a Lhota fade-away jumper a Zimmerman layup and a turn-around jumper from Mike Johnson in the paint.
The Tide eventually answered with another Palmer layup, but Clearfield would finish the quarter on a 6-2 run. The Bisons picked up layups from Campman a turn-around jumper in the paint from Todd Hryn and a nifty layup from Drew Hipps. Hipps took the ball out near the foul line, dribbled to his left, going around the lane and throwing up a nice layup for a 12-4 Clearfield lead with 1:34 left in the opening quarter. Curwensville\’s Craig Bartlett finished the quarter with a layup.
The Tide were able to garner some offense in the second quarter, but Clearfield came up with some big shots to distance itself from the Tide.
Shawn Sopic opened the second quarter with a layup for Curwensville, but Zimmerman answered with a 3-pointer as Clearfield kepts its distance, 15-8. The Tide made a small run with a layup from Palmer and foul shots from Teague Bloom and Sopic to cut Clearfield\’s lead to three, 15-12.
Kyle Kline drove the baseline and hit an easy layup to start a 7-0 Clearfield run. The run included a Zimmerman jumper and a 3-pointer from Campman, coming off the right wing, as the Bisons inscreased its lead to 10, 22-12, with 3:00 left in the half and Curwensville calling for a timeout.
After the timeout, Curwensville picked up ground with McDonald hitting a layup and Sopic hitting another shot from the charity stripe. Clearfield received a pair of foul shots from Zimmerman to close out the half.
Clearfield\’s defense clamped down on the Tide in the third quarter and never looked back. The Bisons outscored the Tide 15-10 in the quarter and took a commanding 39-25 lead into the final quarter. The Tide turned up the heat in the fourth quarter, outscoring Clearfield 16-12. But, in the end, it wouldn\’t be enough as Clearfield held on for the win.
\”We have played competitively in any game we played this year,\” Campman said. \”Our defense is one that teams don\’t see all year. Plus, we are aggressive out of it. We aren\’t just matching up, we are looking to make something happen out of it.\”
Wassil was rather displeased with how his team handled Clearfield\’s pressure defense to start the second half.
\”The third quarter was terrible,\” Wassil said. \”Especially the first five minutes. That was the difference in the game. We didn\’t handle the ball. They got out in transition and made some layups and that was the game.
\”They move real quick. That\’s part of it. They took away a lot of our open looks for our shooters. They did a good job extending on Michaels and Bartlett and forced some other guys to take shots.\”
The only aspect of the game the Bisons didn\’t play well in was foul shooting. Clearfield managed to hit just 10 of its 23 chances from the charity stripe.
\”The real achilles heel is our foul shooting,\” Campman said. \”It was just atrocious foul shooting. (On Thursday) I gave the practice to Coach Wood and it was all shooting. We got out our shooting machine. We just wanted to shoot. We shot 75 foul shots apiece. That is the one consistency in the games we have lost – four of them we outscored teams from the field but the foul line has crushed us.\”
In junior varsity action, Clearfield improved to 11-2 on the season with a 57-43 win over the Tide. Matt Shiner led Clearfield with 22 points. Nate Greenland chipped in with eight points.
Clearfield hosts Punxsutawney on Wednesday. Curwensville travels to Kane Friday.
Curwensville – 41
Philips Michaels 1 3-4 5, Ben McGary 0 0-0 0, Brandon McDonald 3 0-0 7, Joey Palmer 5 0-0 10, Craig Bartlett 2 0-0 4, Shawn Sopic 2 2-4 6, Teague Bloom 2 5-8 9, David Kalgren 0 0-1 0. Totals: 15 10-17 41.
Clearfield – 51
John Lhota 3 4-5 10, Andrew Janocko 0 0-0 0, Mike Johnson 3 1-5 7, Kyle Kline 2 0-0 5, James Zimmerman 6 1-2 16, Jarrin Campman 2 2-6 7, Todd Hryn 1 2-4 4, Drew Hipps 1 0-1 2. Totals: 18 10-23 51.
3-pointers: Curwensville 1-9 (McDonald 1-1, Bartlett 0-1, McGary 0-3, Michaels 0-4); Clearfield 3-12 (Kline 1-2, Zimmerman 1-3, Campman 1-3, Johnson 0-1, Lhota 0-3).
Score By Quarters
Curwensville 6 9 10 16 – 41
Clearfield 12 12 15 12 – 51