HYDE – If Monday night’s game was the preview, the Clearfield Area High School cagers will have to rewrite the second-half script for the sequel against St. Marys in the first round of the upcoming District 9 Class AAA Playoffs.
Robbie Myers and Jack Mellgard accounted for every point with nine apiece as the Bisons played the top-seeded Flying Dutch to an 18-18 standoff through the first two quarters.
However, the visitors concentrated on limiting the looks Myers and Mellgard got after intermission, and the two Bisons never did get any offensive support.
As a result, St. Marys (15-6) was able to escape with a 42-34 win on the Weiss Gym hardwood, gaining the upper hand early in the third period but not securing the scrap between the former District 9 League rivals until the final minute.
It was far from a statement victory, though, as the Flying Dutch struggled against the Bisons’ 1-3-1 match-up, trapping zone as well as at the foul line. They missed 16 of 31 free throws, including five trips to the charity stripe in one-and-one situations.
Clearfield (4-17) simply couldn’t capitalize, shooting just over 25 percent from the floor with 13 field goals, all by its two big guns, and suffered its seventh loss in a row.
Myers finished with 17 points and also grabbed 14 rebounds against the taller Flying Dutch frontline for another double-double, while Mellgard wound up with 14 points, including a pair of treys.
“Robbie Myers is turning into a real nice player for us,” Bison coach Forrest Campman said. “I would have said he was a numbers person at he beginning of the year. And now he’s a player with numbers. He’s starting to play the game pretty well.
Campman cited Mellgard with playing “a solid game” but pointed out the Bisons had difficulties freeing up Andrew Redden for open shots.
“I really believe you need three scorers in a given game,” he said. “Two aren’t going to cut it.
“You’ve gotta get more help out of some other guys. Not that they’re not trying.
“I’ll never say they’re not trying, but we’re finding ways to lose every single game and be in the game.”
The Bisons weren’t really out of this one until Dylan Reigel, who paced the Flying Dutch with 19 points and eight rebounds, hit a free throw with 19.2 seconds left for a 40-34 lead.
St. Marys opened the final period with an 11-2 run and seemed in control at 38-26 with 2:22 remaining, but four missed foul shots allowed Clearfield to climb back into it on Mellgard’s three-pointer from the left wing, Myers’ spinning peep and ensuing free throw and Christian Lezzer’s two foul shots with 47.4 seconds showing on the clock.
Ryan Uhl was fouled immediately and made one shot, but the Bisons were unable to make it a one-possession game.
Campman gave credit to the Flying Dutch, ranking them behind only Huntingdon and Lewistown as far as best teams the Bisons have faced this season.
“I liked their team when I saw them play,” he said. “They’ve known their roles and they play their roles well.”
Clearfield was able to contain Justin Quiggle, holding the Flying Dutch’s No. 2 scorer without a point, but the junior point guard still made his presence known by directing the offense.
“You know they’re trying to get Quiggle an open shot,” Campman said. “But if he isn’t open, he’s smart enough to not shoot it.
“So we did a great job.
“But he did a great job. He was the ball handler, the distributor. He handled the pressure calmly out there.”
Both teams pressed at times and were virtually even in turnovers, but St. Marys turned several of Clearfield’s 17 turnovers into 16 points.
“You turn the ball over in basketball and you can still go back and play defense; it’s not a killer turnover,” Campman said. “A turnover that you have that leads to an immediate basket, that’s a real bad turnover, because you didn’t get a chance to play defense on the other end.
“Tonight, we had more of those. They probably scored more points off of turnovers than any team had against us this year.
“And they made our pressure to not look that tough. They really didn’t turn it over as much as we needed them to do, really, with how much effort we’re putting out there.”
Clearfield led by four points on three occasions in the first period, which ended 9-9 on Reigel’s lay-up one second before the buzzer, and led three times by a point or two in the second period because St. Marys made only three of nine foul shots.
A conventional three-pointer by Myers on a strong drive gave the Bisons their last lead, 21-20, with 5:41 left in the third quarter.
Other than Lezzer’s late free throws, the only point scored by a Bison other than Myers and Mellgard was a foul shot by Derek Morgan in the third quarter.
The Bisons will try to regroup for their Senior Night finale against Punxsutawney Wednesday.
“That’s pretty much what we had a team meeting about afterwards,” Campman said. “Whether we win or not against Punxsy, we’ve just got to show a different type of resolve than what we’ve shown in the last month, where we’ve sure found a way to lose. Let’s make the other team beat us instead of us beating ourselves.”
Clearfield won the junior varsity game 45-31, Trey Jordan leading the way with 18 points.
ST. MARYS — 42
Bobby Vollmer 2 0-0 4, Dylan Reigel 6 6-8 19, Justin Quiggle 0 0-3 0, Ryan Mancuso 1 1-3 3, Jimmy Werner 1 6-13 8, Ryan Uhl 2 2-4 6, Ryan Hockman 0 0-1 0, Jordan Weinzierl 1 0-0 2, Michael Fox 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 13 15-31 42.
CLEARFIELD — 34
Curtis Frye 0 0-0 0, Andrew Redden 0 0-0 0, Jack Mellgard 6 0-0 14, Derek Morgan 0 1-2 1, Robbie Myers 7 3-6 17, Beau Swales 0 0-0 0, Christian Lezzer 0 2-2 2, Vaughn Metz 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 13 6-10 34.
Three-Point Field Goals – St. Marys 1 (Reigel); Clearfield 2 (Mellgard 2).
SCORE BY QUARTERS
St. Marys 9 9 9 15 – 42
Clearfield 9 9 6 10 – 34
Officials – Dave Blair, Bud Bifano and Jeff Davis.