HYDE – What would have been a big District 9 League win for the Clearfield Area High School girls basketball team slipped away in the fourth quarter when undefeated St. Marys, sparked by standout freshman Kayla Ho\’ohuli, outscored the Lady Bisons 28-11 to pull out a 61-53 victory in Arthur J. Weiss Gymnasium Wednesday night.
Instead of a 2-1 start in the league, Clearfield fell to 1-2 and 3-3 overall for Friday\’s trip to Brookville.
Ho\’ohuli, who averaged 24.8 points in the Lady Dutch\’s first five wins, poured in 19 of her 33 points in the final eight minutes and exhibited poise beyond her years during crunch time.
\”She\’s probably the best I\’ve seen in District 9 since Sheana Mosch,\” Clearfield coach Joey Castagnolo said in comparing the 5-8 guard with the former Clearfield resident and DuBois Central Catholic star who went on to have a great career at Duke and currently is playing professional ball in Europe.
For the better part of three quarters, the scrappy Lady Bisons kept Ho\’ohuli pretty much in check with their 3-2 zone while building a 42-33 advantage.
After sophomore Amber Byerly snapped the fourth tie with 45 seconds left in the first period, Clearfield maintained a slender lead the rest of the first half, which ended with a 20-19 score.
Each team had only two field goals in the low-scoring second quarter, Clearfield missing 17 shots and St. Marys failing on 18.
Senior Alanna Luzier, who wound up with 17 points, had nine and Byerly five for the Lady Bisons, while Ho\’ohuli netted seven for the Lady Dutch and got help from Gina Pelgrin with six and Mandy Stinchcomb with four on their way to 10-point performances.
With the game tied for the final time at 24, Lady Bison sophomore Jayme Ryan swished a pair of threes from the right wing. Following a bucket by Pelgrin, Luzier scored on a putback and a three-pointer from outside to give the Lady Bisons a 35-26 lead.
Ho\’ohuli kept St. Marys close, hitting a tough, lefthanded shot off a drive and immediately getting a steal and a lay-up.
Clearfield tallied the last five points of the period on Madison Sopic\’s free throw, Byerly\’s putback after her third consecutive offensive rebound and Angela Moore\’s short bank shot.
The Lady Bisons, who had nailed eight of 19 shots and outrebounded the Lady Dutch 12-5 in the third quarter, had all the momentum going to the fourth period.
However, it shifted after four free throws by junior Annie Janocko, who was 10-for-14 at the line and scored 12 points, neutralized Ho\’ohuli\’s straighaway three and lay-up in the first 1:09 of the fourth quarter.
\”We still were up by eight,\” Castagnolo said. \”Then they turned the heat up on us, and we didn\’t respond to their pressure. We should have been able to, but it seemed like when they turned it up faster, we thought we had to go fast. And that resulted in turnovers.\”
Another three-pointer by Ho\’ohuli triggered an 18-point run for a 56-46 lead with 1:38 remaining. She accounted for 13 of the points, including two on an assist. In one sequence, Ho\’ohuli blocked a shot, forced a jump ball for a turnover and then drove downcourt and bounced a pass to Leann Levenduski for an easy two.
\”I knew once they got up by a couple, we\’d have a rough time,\” Castagnolo said, \”because she controls the ball 95 percent of the time for them. She is quick, she can jump and she even goes down low and blocks shots.
\”We just lost everything down the stretch. We didn\’t rebound. We had some nice looks, but we were too soft with our shots. And with a good team like that, with the speed they have, they\’ll capitalize on that.\”
In the fourth quarter, Clearfield was guilty of seven turnovers and missed 10 shots from the field before sinking a field goal. Ryan canned a three-pointer from the top of the key to cut the St. Marys lead to 56-51 with 58 seconds left.
Three free throws by Ho\’ohuli pretty much iced it for the Lady Dutch, who shot 33 percent (24-for-72) to the Lady Bisons\’ 26.2 percent (17-for-65).
Clearfield had a 39-35 edge in rebounds with Byerly pulling down 12 to go with nine points in her first start. Janocko had nine boards. Ho\’ohuli topped St. Marys with 10.
The Lady Bisons had 22 turnovers to the Lady Dutch\’s 16.
Castagnolo just shook his head after checking the scorebook and seeing the Lady Bisons were outscored by 17 points in the fourth period and finished with 15 missed free throws, including three when they could have made it a three-point game with two minutes to play.
\”We shouldn\’t have lost that game,\” he said. \”The score doesn\’t indicate how well we played for three quarters.\”
The Lady Bisons just couldn\’t handle Ho\’ohuli and the Lady Dutch man defense in the last eight minutes.
The junior varsity game went right down to the buzzer, St. Marys escaping with a 34-32 win. Amanda Simbeck scored 14 points for the Lady Dutch, while Sarah Kovalick and Gwenn Porter had seven apiece for the Lady Bisons, now 3-3.
ST. MARYS — 61
Emily Hathorn 1 0-0 2, Gina Pelgrin 4 2-2 10, Mandy Stinchcomb 4 2-2 10, Kayla Ho\’ohuli 12 4-6 33, Tammy Yanak 0 2-4 2, Tina Cunningham 0 0-0 0, Leann Levenduski 2 0-0 4, Amanda Simbeck 0 0-0 0, Megan Herbstritt 0 0-2 0. TOTALS: 24 10-14 61.
CLEARFIELD — 53
Jayme Ryan 4 0-2 12, Alanna Luzier 7 0-2 17, Annie Janocko 1 10-14 12, Madison Sopic 0 1-2 1, Amber Byerly 4 1-7 9, Elizabeth Peters 0 0-0 0, Angela Moore 1 0-0 2, Sarah Kovalick 0 0-0 0, Gwenn Porter 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 17 12-27 53.
Three-Point Field Goals: St. Marys 3 (Ho\’ohuli 3); Clearfield 7 (Ryan 4, Luzier 3).
Score by Quarters:
St. Marys 12 7 14 28 — 61
Clearfield 15 5 22 11 — 53
Officials: Marvin Martell, Lee Martell, Bill Overly.