HYDE — The holiday break has come to an end, meaning schools are back in session for the latter half of the year. It also means winter sports pick back up, and that is what the Lady Bison of Clearfield were ready to do on Monday night.
After securing a victory over the break against rival Curwensville, they returned to the Bison Gymnasium hoping to build off the momentum. Across the timing line were the visiting Lady Chucks of Punxsutawney, who were just as eager to beat the chill outside and heat up the hardwood.
It was clear on this night who was the dominant team. Using their size advantage, the Lady Chucks hit the boards hard from tip off to the final whistle, then utilized both their outside shooting range and their aggressive play in the paint to get more buckets. Start to finish, Punxsutawney never lost the lead, and would secure the 55-43 victory over the home Lady Bison squad.
It wasn’t just the rebounds that were the most difficult to defend for Clearfield, but it was the second-chance shots. Punxsutawney was pulling down offensive rebounds and would make sure that they got points on the possession, something that head coach Joey Castagnolo simply had no answer for.
“The thing about those offensive rebounds and put-back shots, they never missed,” he said afterwards. “They are tough on the boards. We at least didn’t back down, but they never missed those second-chance shots.”
Early on, the Lady Chucks would start the contest with a 9-2 run, ending the first quarter of play with a 17-11 lead. The visiting squad was working hard on the boards, but the home squad wasn’t backing down from trying. However, in the second frame was when the rebounding margin went firmly in place for the visiting team. It wasn’t because of effort, but because of someone missing.
Sam Rockmore would go down on a rebound on the Punxsutawney side of the court, and wouldn’t get up. Clutching her left knee, she was in pain, and already having missed time due to injury this season, it was the end of her night on the hardwood.
“With Sam going out, that really hurts. That’s height to combat their height, but it’s all part of the game,” Castagnolo said.
With Rockmore out, the Lady Chucks would get the put-back shots, and never looked back. At the same time, the Lady Bison were pushing hard to keep the game close, at some moments closing the gap into single digits. But costly turnovers, poor passing, and some unfavorable jump balls would keep them from gaining any momentum.
“Beginning of the third quarter, we weren’t ready. They scored the first three baskets,” Castagnolo said. “That’s the best effort I’ve seen all year, just had some mental mistakes, and you can’t do that against good teams.”
The Lady Chucks would have three players hit double digits in the winning effort, with Kylee Lingenfelter and Emma White each accounting for 11 points. Hope Bridge would take the high-scoring honors for the winning squad with 16 points.
The strong effort from the Lady Bison came from Rachel Glenny, who would have a game-high 19 points in the losing effort, with 12 of those points coming off an assist from Emily Ryan, who had a team-high nine assists in the game. Castagnolo explained that it was a change in scheme that allowed Ryan and Glenny to hook up more, even in a losing effort.
“I put in a new offense over Christmas to spread the offense, and have those guards be able to attack. We executed it well in the fourth quarter, but we were just too far behind,” he said. “We did look for the open girl, played as a team, but the lack of Sam not being in there, them getting those put-back shots, it just hurt.
“In the first half, the guards were killing us outside. We made some adjustments and they just went inside in the second half.”
The two seniors did their part on the boards, combining for 17 rebounds. But, it was Leah Miller for the Lady Chucks having a field day on the boards, pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds.
The junior varsity game to open the night came down to the wire, going into overtime thanks to a buzzer-beater from the foul line by Alayna Ryan. However, in the extra three minutes, the home squad would fall despite a last-second push to the basket in a 29-28 thriller.
Despite the loss, Castagnolo knows that with the upcoming schedule they have many games within the Mountain League. So even with the scoreboard not reflecting it, he felt it was a good test to know where they are heading into league play
“It’s encouraging. This Punxy team, they have to play the tough schedule, so I know this was going to be a tough game. It was just some uncommon mistakes that cost us,” Castagnolo said. “Now it’s mainly league games, so with most of the schedule now being in District VI, this was a good benchmark game.”
Clearfield has two more games this week as they travel Tuesday to face Bald Eagle Area, then return home on Friday night to host Penns Valley..
SCORE BY QUARTER
Punxsutawney 17 13 17 8 – 55
Clearfield 11 7 16 9 – 43
Lingenfelter 5 0-0 11, Lurger 2 0-2 5, Em. White 4 3-4 11, Miller 3 0-2 6, Vanleer 1 0-0 3, Ferko 1 0-1 3, Horner 0 0-0 0, El. White 0 0-0 0, Ray 0 0-0 0, Bridge 8 0-0 16. TOTALS 24 3-9 55.
Castagnolo 3 0-0 9, Cline 1 0-0 2, E. Ryan 1 2-4 4, Lindstrom 3 2-4 8, Chew 0 1-2 1, A. Ryan 0 0-0 0, Rockmore 0 0-0 0, Brossard 0 0-0 0, Glenny 8 3-6 19, Lansberry 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 16 8-16 43.
Team Rebounds: 35/26
Team Fouls: 13/11
Three-Point Shots: Lurger, Ferko, Vanleer, Lingenfelter; Castagnolo (3)
Lady Bison Scoreboard:
Date Opponent Score Record
12/04&05 @ Brookville Tip-off Tourney
12/04 vs. North Clarion 45 – 50 0 – 1
12/05 vs. Clarion-Limestone 64 – 24 1 – 1
12/08 CENTRAL 41 – 52 1 – 2
12/11 @ Huntingdon 41 – 28 2 – 2
12/14 @ DuBois 40 – 51 2 – 3
12/16 @ Bellefonte 48 – 47 3 – 3
12/18 TYRONE 40 – 66 3 – 4
12/21 BROOKVILLE 50 – 59 3 – 5
12/29 @ Curwensville 63 – 24 4 – 5
01/04 PUNXSUTAWNEY 43 – 55 4 – 6
01/05 @ Bald Eagle Area
01/08 PENNS VALLEY
01/13 @ Philipsburg-Osceola
01/15 @ Central
01/18 @ St. Marys
01/27 @ Tyrone
01/29 BALD EAGLE AREA
02/02 @ Penns Valley