HYDE — The Clearfield Lady Bisons ended the 2011 portion of their season on a very high note by winning four straight, including their victory last week against backyard rival Curwensville. It was a boost in confidence to the team, coaches, and fans as the new year began as expectations were already high for the experienced team led by coach Joey Castagnolo.
Inside the Arthur J. Weiss Gymnasium on Wednesday night, Clearfield was looking to extend that streak to five as they hosted the Lady Golden Eagles of Tyrone.
But streaks are meant to end at some point, and on this night it was the Lady Bisons’ turn. Despite gaining an early lead and holding it at intermission, an exhausting second half that saw missed shots and a Tyrone team that was able to capitalize in the other direction stopped Clearfield’s streak at four wins as they fell by a final of 47-38.
Castagnolo wasn’t angry at the end of the game, but rather humbled because of what he saw in his team after the final buzzer.
“I didn’t have to raise my voice or get upset. They knew what happened and why we lost,” Castagnolo said. “We couldn’t make the easy shots. We had opportunities inside all night, but they couldn’t make the shots, and Tyrone did. That’s really the difference in the game.”
The first half went to Clearfield’s side early as following a 7-6 first quarter, the Bisons were able to break out and get an eight-point lead late in the second quarter thanks to some key shots by Dakota Farmery and Brianna Peters. However, the Lady Eagles cut the lead away rather quickly, and kept the game close, with Clearfield holding only a 21-20 lead at the break.
Castagnolo was pleased with the first half of play by his girls, but beginning with the third quarter, things took a turn.
“We started losing our assignments, and that led them (Tyrone) to getting some three’s. We kept them away from those shots in the beginning, but in the second half, I don’t know if it was fatigue or what, but they started getting some open looks.”
Tyrone was able to pull away – especially thanks to the play of Olivia Stever. Ending the night with a game-high 23 points, plus another 10 rebounds and three assists, Castagnolo was quick to point out the strength of the Lady Eagles team.
“She’s the best player in the league, no doubt. Also, this is the same team that we faced last year. They don’t have a junior-varsity team, and only play nine players,” Castagnolo said. “They are well coached, and it shows. But, we didn’t play our best game tonight.”
Senior Lisa Ambuski led Clearfield with 14 points, six on 3-pointers. Farmery added on another nine points, while leading the team in rebounds with 11.
Late in the game, the Lady Eagles were getting many points behind the arc, or right at the key, by finding some gaps in the Lady Bisons’ zone. When asked if there was consideration of going to a man-on-man defense, Castagnolo noted it wasn’t a thought, at least not in the game on Wednesday.
“No, it really wasn’t an option, at least not tonight. We will employ the press later, but we’re not ready just yet,” Castagnolo said.
Tyrone had a 17-point lead with just over two minutes remaining, but Peters hit a quick jumper and soon Ambuski found her sweet spot, draining two shots from the top of the key.
But Tyrone was able to play keep-away at the end of the night, and ran out the clock.
With no JV team for Tyrone, Clearfield played St. Joseph Academy in the opening game, dominating to a 52-5 victory.
At the end of the night, Castagnolo knew what he and his team needed to work on at the next practice, along with knowing exactly what cost his team the game.
“It’s quite simple. We didn’t make our easy shots, and they did. That was the difference tonight,” Castagnolo said.
The Lady Bisons (4-2) is back in action this Friday night as they will travel to Punxsutawney.
See photos of the game here: http://www.ladybisonsports.org/lbsbball010412.html
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Tyrone 6 14 14 13 – 47
Clearfield 7 14 9 8 – 38
Brokenshire 1 0-0 2, Hammond 0 0-0 0, Gripp 3 3-4 10, Raftery 0 0-0 0, Stever 10 2-4 23, Swogger 2 0-2 5, Taylor 0 0-0 0, Brooks 1 0-0 2, Hettinger 2 0-0 5. TOTALS 19 5-10 47
Butler 1 2-2 4, Spencer 0 0-0 0, Renaud 0 0-0 0, Munshower 0 0-0 0, Farmery 4 1-4 9, Ambuski 5 0-0 14, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Aveni 0 0-0 0, Mumma 0 0-0 0, Peters 3 5-8 11, Sheeder 0 0-0 0, Sopic 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 13 8-14 38
Field Goals Made/Attempted: TR-19/53 CF-12/42
Team Rebounds: TR-24 CF-26
Team Fouls: TR-11 CF-9
Turnovers: TR-13 CF-16
Three-Point Shots: Tyrone-Gripp, Stever, Swogger, Hettinger; Clearfield-Ambuski (3)