HYDE – Three lettermen, including the top two pointmakers from last season, provide the nucleus for first-year Clearfield Area High School boys basketball coach head coach Nate Glunt, who is counting on their experience plus the team’s overall height and athleticism to get the Bison back on the winning track after four losing campaigns.
That is one of his goals for a young squad that has only one senior, two-year letterman Erik Sellers.
“We want to have a winning season and compete for the district championship,” Glunt stated.
To achieve those objectives, the former Curwensville Area High School standout athlete and Penn State football player as an invited walk-on believes it is very important that the Bison improve every day with concentration and hard work.
He’s been all about that while coaching in Forrest Campman’s program for 12 years, mostly with the younger Bison cagers.
“I have a ton of respect for Forrest,” Glunt said. “He preached the right things and did the right things.
“I don’t think my philosophy will be better, just different. We will play predominately man-to-man defense and each game will dictate what we try to do offensively, but we will try to up-tempo as much as we can.”
Having been the junior high head coach the last five seasons, Glunt is very familiar with the 2014-15 squad that has two returning starters in the 6-2 Sellers and 6-3 sophomore Will Myers plus 6-7 junior Cody Spaid, one of the top reserves last season.
Sellers topped the Bison with 215 points, a 9.3 average, while Myers scored at an 8.3 clip with 190 points, including 21 three-pointers that were second on the team. Spaid had 84 points.
“The three lettermen are gonna start,” Glunt said. “Then, we have six others who will play. How much could change game to game and week to week, but I feel comfortable with those nine playing varsity basketball right now. The number could change as the year goes on.”
In that mix are juniors Corey Shimmel, Caleb Strouse and Carter Wood and sophomores Evan Brown, Tommy Hazel and David McKenzie.
Caleb Strouse, Hazel and McKenzie stand 6-2 and Wood is 6-1.
“We have the height, which definitely helps, and I think we have a solid team athletic-wise,” Glunt said. “We’re gonna try to run. We won’t really come down on offense and have a set like two guards out, three guys inside. It’s more about movement. We’re trying to execute a five-man motion. We don’t want anybody being stagnant.”
The Bison averaged only 46 points on their way to a 6-17 finish with a 5-9 Mountain League record, but bettering that average is not a concern for Glunt.
“We just need one more point than the other team, and each game will dictate the score,” he said.
As for rebounding, Glunt believes effort is almost as important as height around the boards.
“It’s want to,“ he explained. “You have to want to get the ball.“
The Bison jump right into league play with a home game against Central in their opener Tuesday, and Glunt knows his team will have its hands full most nights.
“It’s gonna be really competitive,” he said after glossing over the schedule that features games against District 9 rivals and a return to the Purchase Line Lions Club Holiday Tournament in addition to the 14-game league slate. “These teams are well coached with talent.
“There isn’t going to be a game where we show up and we’re gonna be a lot better. We could play well and not win. Every game is gonna be a battle.”
Campman, whose record was 128-188 for 13 seasons, had seniors who logged playing time on his final team in Christian Lezzer (154 points, 9.1 ppg), Wyatt Westen (101, 4.4 ppg), Derek Hryn (86) Jon Janocko (82), Seth Ford (51), Andy Brown (46) and Kaleb Taylor, Devin Jones and Luke Godissart.
Lezzer was a four-year letterman with 702 points and more than 100 three-pointers in 78 games.
Glunt’s assistant coaches are former Bison head coach Donnie Shimmel, Eric Durancik, Erik Brown and Eric Scaife. Durancik, the lone holdover from Campman’s staff, will guide the junior varsity tem.
The roster, with (*) denoting letterwinner:
Senior – Erik Sellers (*), 6-2.
Juniors – Jason Bell, 6-3; Sam Evans, 5-11; Corey Shimmel, 6-0; Cody Spaid (*), 6-7; Caleb Strouse, 6-2; Carter Wood, 6-1.
Sophomores – Evan Brown, 5-10; Tommy Hazel, 6-2; Ethan McGinnis, 5-10; David McKenzie, 6-2; Mason Royer, 5-11; Will Meyers (*), 6-3.
Freshmen – Reese Wilson, 6-0; Micah Heichel, 6-0; Jake Sorbera, 5-10.
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The schedule, with (ML) designating Mountain League games and tip-offs at 7:30 p.m. unless noted:
9 – CENTRAL (ML); 12 – at Huntingdon (ML), 7:15 p.m.; 15 – at Curwensville; 17 – at Bellefonte (ML); 19 – TYRONE (ML); 22 – PUNXSUTAWNEY; 29 – Bald Eagle Area at Purchase Line Lions Club Holiday Tournament, 6 p.m.; 30 – Harmony or Purchase Line at Purchase Line Lions Club Holiday Tournament, TBA.
3 – at Bald Eagle Area (ML); 7 – at Brookville; 9 – PENNS VALLEY (ML); 14 – at Philipsburg-Osceola (ML); 16 – at St. Marys; 19 – at DuBois; 21 – at Central (ML); 23 – HUNTINGDON (ML); 28 – BELLEFONTE (ML); 30 – at Tyrone (ML).
3 – BALD EAGLE AREA (ML); 6 at Penns Valley (ML); 9 – CURWENSVILLE; 12 – PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA (ML).