Second-Half Rally Falls Short as Lady Mounties Hold off Lady Bisons

HYDE — If there was ever a tale of two halves of a basketball game, Tuesday night’s matchup between the Lady Bisons of Clearfield and the visiting Lady Mounties of Philipsburg-Osceola would be the prime example.

The first two quarters were all about the deep shooting of P-O and a double digit lead heading into halftime.  The final two quarters were all about Clearfield’s aggressive defense and strong rally.  Clearfield outscored their opponents 13-4 in the first 10 minutes of the second half, and brought the game to within reach in the final minutes.  But, despite the late rally, P-O held on with a late bucket and foul shots to take the victory by a final of 60-52.

Head coach Joey Castagnolo felt bad about the loss, but was impressed with P-O’s shooting, especially early in the game, but was even more impressed with his team immediately after the break.

“It seems they (P-O) always like to put it behind the line.  I knew from the first game that they can shoot deep, and they were just killing us early on,” Castagnolo said.  “But I’m so proud of our team and how we came back in the second half.  What a game.”

The reason Castagnolo was happy with the second half was in the first two quarters, the Lady Mounties hit seven buckets out of 17 from three-point range.  So, at halftime, Castagnolo made some changes.  He didn’t elect to go into a press defense, but had another idea in mind.

“I said to them ‘We’re not letting them shoot’ and we started pushing out.  Our gimmick defense was working, but we wanted to come out from under the basket, which is what caused all those open looks,” Castagnolo said.

That pressure from the zone caused some tougher shots, and forced P-O to work inside.  It led to many rebounds for Clearfield, and the Lady Bisons capitalized as they started the third quarter with a 10-0 run.  They held P-O to just four points in the quarter.

“We played excellent in that third quarter,” Castagnolo said.

What hurt the Lady Bisons was not having starting center Dakota Farmery in the line-up, but sophomore Brianna Peters put up numbers that her teammate would be very proud of.  Peters led all scoring with 21 points, and finished off the night with a double-double, adding 16 rebounds.

“We were obviously short without Dakota, but Brianna stepped up and is starting to really become a leader.  She’s now starting to slow down and focus on her shots,” Castagnolo said.  “She has that quick left-hand put up, but she’s taking her time and focusing more.  Just a great night for her.”

Rachel Thompson also hit double figures for Clearfield as she ended the night with 13 points.  Lisa Ambuski did her part helping her teammates as she had a team-high nine assists.

But, the early shooting hurt Clearfield as four players for P-O were in double figures.  Mo Witters, Mackenzie Wilson, Chelsea Rex and Lauren Simcox all made double digits, with Wilson having a team-high 18 and adding on 15 rebounds.  Rex finished with nine assists and Simcox added four steals.

Clearfield did win the junior varsity game to open the night by a final of 49-29.

Despite the loss, Castagnolo couldn’t wipe the smile off his face with the performance he saw on the court.

“It was a hard-fought game both ways.  I just can’t say enough about the kids,” Castagnolo said.  “What a game, that’s all I can say.”

The Lady Bisons (2-15) have back-to-back road games starting Wednesday night as they travel to Bald Eagle Area.  Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. for the jayvees with the varsity to follow.

See photos of the game here:


P.O.                         21     18     4     17          60

CLEARFIELD     14     13     12     13          52

Philipsburg-Osceola  60

Witters 6 0-0 14, E. Meersand 1 1-4 3, Wilson 8 1-2 18, Knepp 0 0-0 0, Rex 6 0-0 15, Burns 0 0-0 0, Myers 0 0-0 0, Bowman 0 0-0 0, K. Meersand 0 0-0 0, Simcox 2 4-5 10, Brown 0 0-0 0, Rusnak 0 0-0 0.  Totals 23 6-11 60

Clearfield 52

Ryan 1 0-0 3, Butler 4 0-0 8, Renaud 0 0-0 0, Ambuski 1 0-0 3, Thompson 6 0-0 13, Marsh 0 0-0 0, Peters 7 7-8 21, Sheeder 2 0-2 4.  Totals 21 7-10 52

Field Goals Made/Attempted:  PO-15/44  CF-18/36
Team Rebounds:  PO-26  CF-31
Turnovers:  PO-17  CF-22
Team Fouls:  PO-13  CF-10

Three-Point Shots:  PO-Witters (2), Wilson, Rex (3), Simcox (2)  CF-Ryan, Ambuski, Thompson

Foul-Outs:  PO-None  CF-Butler

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