HYDE — Throughout the preseason, coach Joey Castagnolo was worried about the Clearfield Area High School girls basketball team developing a chemistry because he never had all of his players at one practice for a variety of reasons.
His concern is ongoing after six games, for injuries and illness have forced him to pencil in five different starting lineups.
Point guard Brittany Renaud was unavailable Wednesday night, which compounded the Lady Bison troubles with the active Bald Eagle Area defense.
The undefeated Lady Eagles stripped the ball or stepped in front of passes for 27 steals, most setting up easy points and keying a 46-percent shooting performance, as the Weiss Gym guests breezed to their sixth win, 67-38, to keep pace with defending champion Tyrone atop the Mountain League at 3-0.
Clearfield was guilty of 41 turnovers in tumbling to 1-5 with its third ML setback.
“That’s a tough press even with my starting point guard, but I thought we’d be able to handle the ball a little better than that,” Castagnolo said. “I’m really disappointed after playing really well against Punxsutawney Monday.
“We were flat.”
The Lady Bison appeared to catch a big break when Kate Miller, a 6-3 senior center, was whistled for two fouls in the first 11 seconds.
“I thought we might have a little edge there, and I tried to tell the girls to capitalize on it,” Castagnolo said.
But the hosts couldn’t.
After posts Breanna Peters, who sat out the Punxsy game with an ankle injury, and Dakota Farmery both went 1-for-2 at the free throw line, Bald Eagle Area went on a 20-2 run with all five senior starters contributing.
Lexi Josefik and Marissa Ward did most of the damage with seven and six points, respectively.
Those two combined for 34 points and 13 steals for the game.
Up 20-8 at the first rest stop, Bald Eagle Area opened the second quarter with a 10-2 mini-run keyed by Ward’s two field goals, one a three-pointer from the right wing.
The versatile 5-10 standout added three more buckets as the Lady Eagles registered eight of the final nine points of the half for a 39-18 bulge.
For Clearfield, Peters had one of her two treys and five of her team-high 12 points in the period.
Bald Eagle Area dismissed any thoughts Clearfield had for a comeback with the first 11 points of the third quarter, seven by Ward on a three-pointer from the top of the key and two runouts.
Reserves for both squads saw most of the action in the final period.
Emily Ryan and Emily Aveni had four points apiece for the Lady Bison. Ryan finished with eight points and five steals.
The Lady Bison shot 34 percent (14-for-41) and wound up with a 24-22 rebounding edge.
The Lady Eagles, Mountain League runners-up the last two seasons, hit 29 of 63 shots and had 23 turnovers.
“They’re a well-seasoned team, and well coached,” Castagnolo said. “They’re undefeated for a reason.
“I thought we made a lot of headway against Punxsy, but we took a step backwards tonight.
“The young kids have to start coming around. This was our sixth game. They’ve got to play with a little more confidence.”
Bald Eagle Area’s jayvees also were victorious, 31-19. Victoria Ireland topped Clearfield with eight points.
Clearfield continues its homestand Friday against Bellefonte in another league test.
See photos of the game here: http://www.ladybisonsports.org/lbsbball121912.html
Mountain League standings: Bald Eagle Area 3-0, Tyrone 3-0, Penns Valley 2-1, Central 2-1, Philipsburg-Osceola 1-2, Huntingdon 1-2, Clearfield 0-3, Bellefonte 0-3.
BALD EAGLE AREA — 67
Olivia Hardy 1 0-0 2, Allie Simpson 3 1-2 8, Lexi Josefik 4 1-2 10, Marissa Ward 11 0-1 24, Kate Miller 3 2-4 8, Hailey Giedroc 4 0-1 8, Chelsea Eisenhuth 1 0-0 2, Megan Peters 0 1-2 1, Ellie Chambers 0 0-0 0, Maddie Cingle 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 29 5-12 67.
CLEARFIELD — 38
Breanna Peters 4 2-4 12, Dakota Farmery 2 1-2 5, Tessa Munshower 0 0-0 0, Brianna Spencer 1 0-0 3, Maggie Sopic 2 2-2 6, Emily Aveni 2 0-0 4, Emily Ryan 3 2-3 8, Sarah Lash 0 0-0 0, Mary Ishman 0 0-2 0, Sarah Aycock 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 14 7-13 38.
Three-Point Field Goals – Bald Eagle Area 4 (Simpson, Josefik, Ward 2); Clearfield 3 (Peters 2, Spencer).
Score by Quarters
Bald Eagle Area 8 10 10 10 – 38
Clearfield 20 19 16 12 – 67
Lady Bison Scoreboard:
|@ Brookville Tip-Off Tourney|
|12/07||Clarion-Limestone||36-54||0 – 1|
|12/08||North Clarion||41 – 36||1 – 1|
|12/12||CENTRAL||25 – 57||1 – 2|
|12/14||@ Huntingdon||34 – 51||1 – 3|
|12/17||PUNXSUTAWNEY||29 – 39||1 – 4|
|12/19||BALD EAGLE AREA||38 – 67||1 – 5|