CLEARFIELD – The District 9 Class AAA boys basketball title is up for grabs Saturday at Clarion University in Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium. At 3 pm it will be the Bisons of Clearfield going up against the Bradford Owls.
Clearfield won last year’s District 9 title when they beat St. Marys 49-37 in the championship encounter. It was the first D-9 crown for Clearfield since 1999.
Bradford, the number one seed, is riding a sixteen game winning streak with an overall record of 20-2. Their only losses were early in the season to Warren, 71-49, and then to Olean (NY) 64-52. The Owls easily handled the Bisons in the two regular season games this year, 60-25 and 61-38.
In the first game on January 8 Bradford jumped out to a 27-8 halftime lead and never looked back, winning by 35. The Owls were lead by Evan Kline with 11 while Clearfield had senior Chad Zurat dumped in nine.
It was the same story on January 29 when the two squads battled in Bradford where the Owls had a 23 point margin of victory. Once again the Owls had the game in hand at the half with a 29-14 bulge. Dave Fuhrman had 17 and Ryan Mackey had 15 for Bradford while once again Zurat led Clearfield, this time scoring 17.
The Bisons come into the championship contest with a 2009-10 regular season mark of 13-9. Clearfield did struggle down the stretch in losing three of their last four games.
Clearfield head coach Forrest Campman feels his squad will benefit from the neutral site on Saturday, “The college courts are somewhat bigger than both teams are used to. The depth perception for the baskets will be a big challenge for all the players to adjust to. This could help even things out for us against a good team like Bradford.”
The Bisons and Owls haven’t played for several days, Clearfield last played on February 22 while Bradford last suited up a day later. Campman spoke about his team’s long layoff, “I am very pleased with the boys, they have practiced well and they are ready and anxious to play. I know they want another crack at Bradford and I just tell them that it is not necessarily how you start a game but how you finish. And you always want to be playing your best at the end of a game to give your team a chance to win.”
Bradford has had a strangle hold on the District 9 AAA schools in title games since 2001. The Owls won four crowns in a row from 2001 through 2004 and then another three straight from 2006 through 2008. The 2008 championship was won by Bradford when they beat Clearfield 63-37.
Through 22 games the Owls have been paced offensively by three seniors, Fuhrman, Mackey and Kline. Fuhrman, son of Bradford head coach David Fuhrman, has averaged 16.8 points per game while Mackey and Kline come in at 10.8 and 9.8 respectively.
This has been year number twenty for Bradford coach Fuhrman who has a winning percentage of 67% for his career with a record of 338-170.
The bulk of the scoring also comes from three seniors for Clearfield in Zurat, Trey Campman and Ben Johnson. Zurat leads the way, scoring 15.8 points per game with Campman tossing in 10.8 and Johnson 8.
Zurat also has done heavy work on both ends of the floor in pulling down a total of 168 rebounds.
Listen to WOKW-FM, 102.9, Saturday for Bison Basketball action with Bradford starting with the pre-game show at 2:45 pm.