Lady Bison To Meet Top-Seeded Lady Chucks in 9-AAA Semi

HYDE — Back in the postseason for the first time in four years, the Clearfield Area High School girls basketball team faces a tough test at Punxsutawney in a District 9 Class AAA semifinal Tuesday night.

The Lady Chucks earned the No. 1 seed with an 18-4 record, including a perfect 10-0 in the District 9 League for their first championship since 2007.

They also handed the fourth-seeded Lady Bison a 55-43 defeat coming out of the holiday break.

“They’re a nice team,” longtime Clearfield coach Joey Castagnolo said. “We can’t get in a half-court game because of their size and quickness. We have to keep up our tempo.”

His main concern is Punxsy’s inside duo of 6-1 senior Hope Bridge and 6-0 sophomore Leah Miller, whose rebounding created a big problem for the Lady Bison in the previous meeting, especially when senior Sam Rockmore went down with a season-ending knee injury in the second quarter.

“Both are big girls, and they didn’t miss inside,” he said. “They had a nice touch around the basket that game.”

Bridge, who has been the most consistent Lady Chuck scorer, tallied 16 points while Miller hauled in 14 rebounds to go with six points.

They aren’t the only Lady Chucks who can pound the boards.

Emma White, a 5-11 senior, added 11 points against the Lady Bison while Alli Lunger, a 5-11 junior, showed she can also step outside by sinking one of Punxsy’s four three-pointers.

White, senior Ivy Ferko, junior Morgan Vanleer, freshman Kate Horner and sophomore Kylee Lingenfelter can keep defenses honest with their outside shooting.

“Any of their guards can hit a three, so we really will have to move and communicate in our match-up zone,” Castagnolo said.

The Lady Chucks average 47.4 points and surrender only 39.1 points a game on defense.

“They play man and picked us up at half-court, but they didn’t press us the last time,” Castagnolo said.

Punxsy, which is riding a nine-game win streak, swept three teams that beat Clearfield in very competitive contests.

The Lady Chucks downed DuBois 52-30 and 46-28, St. Marys 58-25 and 54-48 and Brookville 70-27 and 37-27. The Lady Bison lost 51-40 to DuBois, 59-50 to Brookville and 32-30 to St. Marys.

Clearfield, which has a near-identical 47.2 average on offense, is led in both scoring and rebounding by senior post Rachel Glenny.

She’s hit double figures in all but four games to total 309 points, a 14.0 average.

Senior point guard Emily Ryan has a 10.5 average and usually sets up as many or more points than she scores with her passing prowess.

The third Lady Bison threat is three-point specialist Margo Castagnolo, another senior. She’s knocked down 47 of the team’s 49 triples in averaging 8.2 points.

Junior Ally Lindstrom (4.6 ppg) and sophomore Brooke Cline (5.1 ppg) are the other starters.

With junior Niki Chew’s availability unknown due to a recent injury, Castagnolo is banking on sophomores Nikki Brossard and Kate Lansberry for help on the inside.

Freshman Alayna Ryan will rotate into the backcourt.

No. 2 seed St. Marys (14-8) will be at home against No. 3 seed Bradford (10-12) in Tuesday’s other semifinal.

The district title game will be played at Clarion University later this week.

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 53 – 40 5 – 6
01/08 PENNS VALLEY 42 – 70 5 – 7
01/13 @ Philipsburg-Osceola 42 – 38 6 – 7
01/15 @ Central 26 – 51 6 – 8
01/18 @ St. Marys 30 – 32 6 – 9
01/19 HUNTINGDON 47 – 34 7 – 9
01/22 BELLEFONTE 52 – 43 8 – 9
01/27 @ Tyrone 48 – 62 8 – 10
01/29 BALD EAGLE AREA 60 – 30 9 – 10
02/02 @ Penns Valley 35 – 59 9 – 11
02/04 CURWENSVILLE 80 – 30 10 – 11
02/05 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA 49 – 51 10 – 12
02/16 District 9 Semifinals
02/16 @ Punxsutawney

Clearfield Playoff Games Moved to Wednesday
No. 1-Seeded Bison Begin Playoff Trail By Hosting Owls

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