And it was truly a classic as the 4-14 Curwensville team was up against the 11-6 Bisons which made the game look like, on paper, a real mismatch. Then again in a rivalry game expect the unexpected.
Clearfield, playing without starting senior guard Trey Campman, found a hero in another senior, Luke Peterson, who drained a three pointer with 31 seconds left in regulation that sent the game into the overtime frame at 51-51.
Jed Greslick of the Tide scored the first bucket of the game with one minute gone in the opening quarter to give Curwensville the lead 2-0. Then the Bisons went on a 14-0 run before Kyle Barrett of the Tide hit a bucket to make it 14-4 in favor of Clearfield after the first eight minutes.
Ben Johnson and Chad Zurat scored the only points for Clearfield in the first stanza as Johnson dumped in eight while Zurat hit for six.
The Tide found the second period more to their liking on the offensive end as they scored 17 points behind Sam Gardner who bagged three treys to pull the Tide back into the contest, trailing 28-21 at the half.
Clearfield head coach Forrest Campman said afterwards, “On any given night any team can give you trouble and Curwensville was certainly up to the task. They shot the ball extremely well which not only brought them back into the game, but kept them there.”
Curwensville continued it’s surge at the start of the second sixteen minutes and at the 2:47 mark tied the Bisons at 33-33. Then with 1:50 left in third period the Golden Tide took their first lead since early in the opening frame, 36-33, and would then take a 38-36 margin into the fourth quarter.
Tide coach Matt Wassil spoke about the play of his squad, “We played an unbelievable game, maybe our best of the year. Although it didn’t work out I thought we deserved to win the game as much as Clearfield did. It‘s just a real tough loss for us.”
Curwensville would stay out in front of the Bisons for most of the fourth period. The Tide lead 45-42 with 3:45 left and had a five point bulge, their biggest of the evening, 49-44 with 2:45 remaining.
Then back came the Bisons as Zurat made four straight free throws to make it 49-48 in favor of the Tide.
Curwensville would add another bucket to up their lead to 51-48 before Peterson drained the three-pointer that sent the contest into an extra period.
The Tide scored on two free throws by Gardner in the overtime and Clearfield on one by Zurat as Curwensville nursed a 53-52 lead with just 38 seconds remaining before Jack Mellgard of Clearfield dropped in a bucket to put the Bisons out in front 54-53.
Curwensville would foul Zurat with five seconds remaining and the Bison forward made one of two to give Clearfield a two point edge.
Junior Alec Starr, making a nice move on the right baseline, would take the last shot for the Tide and on the in close shot the ball started down through the net only to find it spin back out as the clock struck zero.
Clearfield went to the free throw line 33 times making 21, while the Golden Tide made 20 of 31 from the charity stripe.
Pacing the Clearfield offense was Johnson and Zurat, each with 19. The Tide had three players in double figures, Barrett, off of the bench with 17,Gardner 15 and Greslick with 11.
Two players from each squad fouled out in the highly contested battle. Ben Johnson and Andrew Redden for the Bisons while Jed Greslick and Ben Johnson did the same for the Tide.
And yes, each team had a Ben Johnson, both seniors, in their starting line-ups.
Wassil complimented both teams, “It was a very physical and competitive ballgame for both teams. It was a game that was good for high school basketball.”
Then Campman finished by saying, “A lot of easy lay-ups were missed by both teams but my hat is off to my kids as they hung in there and found a way to pull out the win for us.”
As mentioned earlier, Clearfield starting guard Trey Campman sat out the game with a foot injury and it is not known if and when the senior will be back this year.
The Bisons also won the junior varsity game by beating the Golden Tide 42-34.
Clearfield is now 12-6 on the year and will next face Elk County Catholic on Tuesday at Clearfield High School. The junior varsity will start at 6 pm with the varsity to immediately follow. Earlier this year Elk County Catholic defeated Clearfield 59-39.
The Golden Tide slipped to 4-15 and take to the hardwood again on Wednesday when they travel to Moshannon Valley to battle the Black Knights. Curwensville knocked off the Knights in the first game of the season, 64-45. Varsity action starts fifteen minutes after the JV game, which begins at 6 pm.
CLEARFIELD – Ben Johnson 6 4-6 19, Chad Zurat 5 9-12 19, John Mellgard 2 2-5 6, Curtis Bell 0 0-0 0 Andrew Redden 0 2-2 2, Curtis Frye 0 2-2 2, Jason Bowman 1 2-4 4, Luke Peterson 1 0-2 3, Robert Myers 0 0-0 0, TOTALS – 15 21-33 55
CURWENSVILLE – Sam Gardner 3 6-6 15, Jed Greslick 2 7-7 11, Alec Starr 1 0-2 2, Ben Johnson 0 5-11 5, Boone McGary 1 0-0 2, Kyle Barrett 8 1-3 17 Shane Hoover 0 1-2 1, TOTALS – 15 20-31 53
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
CLEARFIELD 14 14 8 15 4 55
CURWENSVILLE 4 17 17 13 2 53
THREE-POINTERS: CLEARFIELD 4 – Johnson 3, Peterson; CURWENSVILLE 3 – Gardner 3
OFFICIALS: Barry Abbott, Scott Sullivan and Emery Faith