It\’s always hard to replace talent from year to year in high school basketball, especially when you have to replace five seniors who combined to account for 53 points a game. Monday night the Clearfield Bisons found that out the hard way by losing only their third regular season game in the past two seasons as they fell victim to the visiting Bellefonte Red Raiders 67-57.
\”Bellefonte is an athletic team. They had three good scorers coming back in (Zach) Tressler, (Billy) Nadolsky, and (Logan) Strouse. They had two other guys who came off the bench that saw a lot of time in varisty last season, compared to the two players who played varsity for us last year,\” commented Clearfield Head Coach Forrest Campman.
In the opening quarter the new look Bisons showed the intensity that Coach Campman\’s teams have became notorious for in his eight seasons at the helm of the red and black. Clearfield held their own against a quicker and hustling Red Raider offense holding them to only 11 points in the frame, but the Bisons, unable to find a rythm of their own, were held to only nine points in the period. Senior Chad Zurat dropped in two baskets, one a 3-pointer, to lead Bisons scorers in the opening quarter.
Zurat Finished with a game high 19 points and showed the offensive prowess that has made him perhaps the most versatile player in the district, playing every position on the court while creating match up problems with his quickness and height.
\”Chad played well tonight. I felt there were times though where he needed to be more aggressive on offense and look to score, but overall he played a solid game,\” said Campman of his star guard.
In the second quarter fans got to see a glimpse of the offense that wowed the district last season as the Bisons exploded for 19 points in the period. Once again Zurat lead the charge pouring in six more points while fellow guard Trey Campman pitched in with five while three other Bisons scored running Campman\’s patented fast break \”grab the ball and go\” offense. The Bisons found themselves up 28-20 at the intermission. Bellefonte continued to distribute the ball well with four different players netting points.
Things went south quickly in the second half as a somewhat tired Bison crew found themselves unable to convert on numerous open looks from behind the 3-point arc. The opposite was true for the Red Raiders as they poured in four three pointers with three of them coming off of the hand of Logan Strouse. By the end of the third period the Bisons found themselves trailing by five and that\’s as close as they would come the rest of the way out.
\”We moved really well in the first half; we jumped passing lanes and rotated good on defense. In the second half we were just physically beat, we just got tired. We aren\’t in great game shape; you have to remember this is our first game of the season, Bellefonte has alread played a few. To run the offense and defense I want to run and you have to be in great shape or it won\’t work,\” commented Campman.
In the fourth period the Bisons found themselves down late and having to foul and Ethan Kline made them pay. Kline went a staggering 8-8 in the fourth quarter from the line and eliminated any chance of a Bison comeback. When the final buzzer sounded the Bisons were on the losing end of a 67-57 score.
\”I can\’t say I\’m upset with the game tonight, we played well. Everyone did what I asked of them, we just aren\’t in great game shape yet. We just need to make our open shots and play good defense, because we aren\’t going to be a team that\’s gonna put up a pile of points. Every game is going to be this close and its just gonna be a fight to win every game,\” said Campman.
The Bisons will be back in action next week in the Purchase Line Lions Club Holiday Tournament.
Clearfield : Johnson 4 0-0 8, Campman 4 0-1 10, Zurat 7 4-6 19, Mallgard 4 0-0 11, Bell 0 2-2 2, Redden 1 0-0 2, Frye 1 0-0 2, Bowman 1 0-0 2
Bellefonte: Moerschbacher 2 2-2 6, Strouse 4 3-3 15, Tressler 5 0-1 12, Kline 0 10-10 10, Nadolsky 4 6-8 15, Proper 3 0-1 8