Bison Cage Owls 59-34 in 9-AAA Semifinal

HYDE — Clearfield Area High School boys basketball coach Nate Glunt views rebounding and defense as critical in the postseason, and the defending District 9 Class AAA champion Bison excelled in both areas against Bradford Wednesday night.

They more than tripled the Owls in rebounding and limited them to 20 points through 28-plus minutes of their semifinal in Bison Gymnasium.

The Bison also earned an A+ in the shooting department by sinking half of their attempts in each of the first three quarters and finishing with 24 field goals for 48 percent.

The complete overall performance resulted in a 59-34 win that sends the No. 1 seeds to Friday night’s title game at Clarion University against No. 2 seed St. Marys, which advanced by squeezing past Punxsutawney 68-66 in Wednesday night’s other postponed semifinal.

Junior Tommy Hazel, here at the line, led the Bison with 15 points (Photo by Jay Siegel)

Junior Tommy Hazel, here at the line with Wil Myers ready to rebound, led the Bison with 15 points (Photo by Jay Siegel)

Double-doubles by Cody Spaid with 13 points and 12 rebounds and Will Myers with 10 points and 10 rebounds sparked the Bison (21-2) against the youthful Owls along with a 15-point effort by Tommy Hazel, who also had a team-high three steals.

Spaid just missed a triple-double in his final home game as the senior center blocked nine shots.

“He played really well,” Glunt said. “I’ve got to do a better job of maybe getting the ball inside to him, but they kept jumping and trapping us, so they wouldn’t let us run our stuff. You had to attack in other ways.

“But he stayed patient. He didn’t try to force a lot of shots, stayed within our offense and did a great job.”

The Bison couldn’t have executed the game plan any better against a team with three sophomore starters that has kept opponents in sight by being patient and deliberate on offense and playing good defense.

“They’re a low possession team, and they like to work the ball,” Glunt said. “So you’ve just gotta play hard, solid defense and be disciplined in everything you do.”

Clearfield’s defenders were just that in their switching man-to-man defense that prevented the visitors from getting many good looks or easy baskets.

Bradford (10-13) made only 11 field goals in 35 shots and was held to five points in both the first and third periods.

“We did a great job communicating,” Glunt said. “All those handoffs and all those ball screens, you make one mistake, then they attack. So we did a great job staying in front of them and make them take shots over the top of us.”

Still, the Bison couldn’t afford to let the Owls hang around.

“This was a game where we had to get a lead, and we hit a couple shots early, which was big,” Glunt said.“

Three-pointers by Hazel from the left corner and Myers from the top of the key put Clearfield in front 8-3 with just over four minutes gone.

Then, after a jumper by the Owls’ John Eakin, the Bison reeled off 14 consecutive points, including five by Myers and four by Spaid, over a 4-½-minute stretch that extended into the second period.

“That was the difference in the game,” Glunt said.

The Bison maintained that 17-point spread, 32-15, at halftime, when they owned a whopping 16-4 advantage under the boards. The totals were 38-12 at the buzzer.

Deondre Terwilliger opened the second half with a three-pointer for the Owls, but the Bison then cranked up the transition game and scored the next 12 points to make it 42-18 midway through the third period.

Clearfield’s biggest lead was 51-20 before Bradford closed the gap in the final 2:37 after Glunt cleared the bench.

Two of the loudest roars, especially from the student section, came in the final minute when senior reserve Sammy Evans made his last home appearance a memorable one by hitting a pair of three-pointers, banking in one from NBA range and then swishing the Bison’s final shot.

Glunt wasn’t surprised.

“We played “Knock Out” after school,” he said. “The whole varsity played three games, and he won two. He was hot since three o‘clock.”

Myers and Dave McKenzie were the assist leaders for Clearfield with three apiece.

Bradford’s top scorers were Andrew Bacha and Terwilliger with 10 and nine points, respectively.

BRADFORD — 34

Andy Pantuso 1 0-0 2, Deondre Terwilliger 3 1-2 9, John Eakin 2 1-2 5, Nate Higbie 0 0-2 0, Tyler Nuzzo 0 2-4 2, Dan Manion 1 0-0 2, Andrew Bacha 3 2-3 10, Shane Nudd 0 1-2 1, Kyle Kirk 1 0-0 3, Alex Kuzmeskas 0 0-0 0, Adam Boyer 0 0-0 0, Zach McCammon 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 11 7-17 34.

CLEARFIELD — 59

Evan Brown 1 3-4 5, Will Myers 4 0-0 10, Tommy Hazel 6 1-2 15, Dave McKenzie 3 0-0 6, Cody Spaid 6 1-1 13, Caleb Strouse 1 0-0 2, Carter Wood 1 0-0 2, Johny Gates 0 0-0 0, Ethan McGinnis 0 0-0 0, Wyatt Porter 0 0-0 0, Jake Sorbera 0 0-0 0, Sammy Evans 2 0-0 6. TOTALS: 24 5-7 59.

Three-Point Field Goals – Bradford 5 (Terwilliger 2, Bacha 2, Kirk 1); Clearfield 6 (Myers 2, Hazel 2, Evans 2).

Score by Quarters

Bradford        5  10   5  14  –  34
Clearfield   14  18  16  11  –  59

Officials – George Schneider, Dave Blair and Ron Walter.

Bison Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
12/07 CURWENSVILLE 76 – 35 1 – 0
12/09 @ Central ppd. 1 – 0
12/11 HUNTINGDON 77 – 64 2 – 0
12/15 BELLEFONTE 44 – 30 3 – 0
12/16 ST. MARYS 68 – 59 4 – 0
12/18 @ Tyrone 59 – 50 5 – 0
12/21 @ Punxsutawney 48 – 66 5 – 1
12/23 @ Bellefonte 56 – 39 6 – 1
12/29&30 Purchase Line Christmas Tourney
12/29 vs. Harmony 60 – 30 7 – 1
12/30 vs. Purchase Line 63 – 24 8 – 1
01/05 BROOKVILLE 64 – 48 9 – 1
01/06 BALD EAGLE AREA 89 – 56 10 – 1
01/08 @ Penns Valley 58 – 49 11 – 1
01/12 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA ppd. 11 – 1
01/14 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA 80 – 42 12 – 1
01/15 CENTRAL 67 – 50 13 – 1
01/18 DUBOIS 71 – 42 14 – 1
01/20 @ Huntingdon 92 – 48 15 – 1
01/26 TYRONE 57 – 47 16 – 1
01/29 @ Bald Eage Area 97 – 57 17 – 1
02/01 @ Central 57 – 64 17 – 2
02/03 PENNS VALLEY 44 – 37 18 – 2
02/05 @ Philipsburg-Osceola 75 – 27 19 – 2
02/08 @ Curwensville 72 – 39 20 – 2
02/17 District 9 Semifinals
02/17 vs. BRADFORD 59 – 34 21 – 2
02/19 District Championship
02/19 vs. St. Marys

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