CURWENSVILLE — The Clearfield Area High School boys basketball team controlled the boards with its overall height and aggressiveness and showcased excellent shotmaking to roll past backyard rival Curwensville 71-40 in a non-league game on the Patton Hall hardwood Monday night.
Sophomore Tommy Hazel drilled a trio of three-pointers from the left side and another from the top of the key on his way to a 26-point performance, and three teammates joined him in double figures as the unbeaten Bison notched their third win in impressive fashion.
Erik Sellers and Cody Spaid scored 13 points apiece and Will Myers chipped in with 10 for the Bison, who hit 41 percent of their 69 field goal attempts and sank 11 of 13 free throws.
Clearfield coach Nate Glunt was quick to credit point guards David McKenzie and Evan Brown for their contributions in the motion attack.
“They created so many opportunities for those four players that I thought it was a great team effort,” he said. “We want our guys to be aggressive. If you’re open, I want you to shoot. If you’ve got a lane, take the lane.”
When shots didn’t fall for the Bison, they crashed the boards for extra-chance points with almost as many offensive rebounds, 15, as the Golden Tide totaled, 17.
One sequence early in the third quarter ended with Hazel tossing in the Bison’s fourth putback try.
“We knew they were going to be big and physical,” Curwensville coach Shane Pentz said. “We’ve been working on rebounding in practice, but it’s not translating into games. Right now, it looks like we’re hoping that Trey (Rauckhorst) gets it, or no one gets it. We’re gonna have to change our team philosophy.
“You just can’t continue to give good teams offensive rebounds, because they’re gonna make you pay.”
The Bison’s Spaid and Myers snared 13 and 10 missed shots, respectively, for double-doubles.
“I never expect to outrebound a team, especially one of Shane’s teams,” Glunt said. “They box out. They play so hard. You have to compete to get the rebounds. And I thought our kids competed hard.”
Curwensville (2-3) was able to hang with the visitors for most of the first half, closing to within four at 22-18 midway through the second period via a mini-run sparked by Jake Terry’s trey.
However, Clearfield gained separation on Brown’s jumper in the lane and his feed to Spaid and then outscored the Golden Tide 9-2 in the final 2:39 with Hazel canning a late three-pointer from the left corner for a 35-23 halftime lead.
“That really seemed to change things quite a bit when that shot went in,” Pentz said. “That three was big because we lost one of their shooters and gave him a wide open look.
“We talked at halftime about coming out in the third quarter and be in single digits at the end to give us a chance going into the fourth quarter. And it went the exact opposite way.”
The Bison heeded their message from Glunt, though.
“We talked about playing harder,” he said. “Shane does an excellent job with their team. If you relax, they’re scoring. If you relax on transition defense, they’ll push the ball down the floor.”
After Terry laid in an Alex Hill pass, the Golden Tide went more than five minutes without a point, and the Bison stampeded to a 47-25 bulge on Spaid’s bomb from outside, Myers’ conventional three-pointer and Hazel’s putback, fast-break finish and jumper.
Clearfield widened the margin to 57-29 at the final break and enjoyed its biggest lead, 67-35, with 3:47 remaining.
The victory is just one more Patton Hall memory for Glunt, who had a good career as a Golden Tide cager.
“Coming back here, there’s a lot of good memories in this gym,” the first-year head coach stated.
Terry and R.J. Olson scored nine points apiece to lead the Golden Tide, who shot only 27 percent with 15 field goals.
“Give Clearfield credit,” Pentz said. “They played good, sound, fundamental defense.
“But offense will work best when you swing the ball side to side and make the defense move. Too many times, we took a quick shot or kept passing the ball back and forth on the same side of the floor.
“When we did make their defense move, we did get some good looks, but unfortunately again, we just didn’t knock them down.
“One of the big factors was they made open 12- and 15-footers when they had them. Right now, we’re not making that same shot. Until that shot starts to fall, we’re gonna continue to struggle offensively.”
Curwensville will end its rugged stretch of three home games in five days against undefeated opponents Tuesday against West Branch in an important Moshannon Valley League tussle, while co-leader Clearfield returns to Mountain League play Wednesday at Bellefonte.
In the high-scoring prelim, the Bison jayvees came out on top, 67-57, with Carter Wood netting 17 points, Jake Sorbera 12 and Evan Brown 11. The Golden Tide underclassmen also had a trio of double-figure pointmakers, Zach Marshall with a game-high 19, R.J. Olson with 17 and Quamone Newkirk with 10.
CLEARFIELD — 71
Will Myers 2 5-5 10, Cody Spaid 6 0-0 13, Erik Sellers 5 3-3 13, Tommy Hazel 10 2-3 26, David McKenzie 0 0-0 0, Caleb Strouse 1 1-2 3, Evan Brown 1 0-0 2, Carter Wood 0 0-0 0, Mason Royer 0 0-0 0, Corey Shimmel 2 0-0 4, Reese Wilson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 27 11-13 71.
CURWENSVILLE — 40
Noah Strickland 3 0-0 6, Jake Terry 3 2-2 9, Trey Rauckhorst 1 4-4 6, Johnathan Miller 0 0-2 0, Harrison Bloom 2 0-0 4, Alex Hill 0 0-0 0, Quamone Newkirk 1 1-2 3, R.J. Olson 4 1-1 9, Zach Marshall 1 0-0 3, Curtis Linsenbigler 0 0-0 0, Foster Cannon 0 0-0 0, Dillon Davis 0 0-0 0, Sawyer Cannon 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 15 8-12 40.
Three-Point Plays – Clearfield 6 (Myers 1, Spaid 1, Hazel 4); Curwensville 2 (Terry 1, Marshall 1).
Score by Quarters
Clearfield 15 20 22 14 – 71
Curwensville 9 14 6 11 – 40
Officials – Barry Abbott, Chuck Pasternak and Jerry Carnicella.