HYDE — Shot…after shot. Look…after look. Defender…after defender. Opportunity…after opportunity.
There was nothing superstitious when it came to Halle Herrington on Friday the 13th. She would have the highlight reel of a night. And to think, she was on the visiting squad.
Herrington and her teammates of the Philipsburg-Osceola Lady Mounties made the trip to the Bison Gymnasium for a night of action against the Lady Bison of Clearfield. Despite the ideas of what the day brings, especially with a full moon out, the young sophomore would put on a night that no one, home nor visitor, boys or girls, had ever put on inside the gym.
The sophomore would pace everyone on the night with a team-high, game-high, and gymnasium-high 38 points for the Mounties.
And yet despite all those points, and the tough play under the basket when those shots would not hit their mark, it still wasn’t enough.
Thanks to some key rebounds late in the game, and crucial foul shooting, somehow the Lady Bison held off the comeback to stun the Lady Mounties in a 58-55 thriller that fans on both sides of the court were amazed at.
Head coach Joey Castagnolo afterwards still couldn’t believe what Herrington was doing on the court.
“I just kept thinking in my head ‘be up by more than three’ because we just couldn’t stop her. I tried so many different girls on her,” he said of the P-O sophomore. “Yet, she’s shooting NBA-three’s.
“Their team on their series of picks, they are looking for her.”
Herrington hit her deep shots from along the baseline, at the post, some at the top of the key, and then others were shots one may expect to see from the likes of Lebron James, Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, or Michael Jordan in his prime.
However, despite those shots falling, P-O found themselves in a situation where they had to force fouls and put Clearfield at the foul line. That, in itself, helped give enough of a cushion for the Lady Bison to hold onto the lead.
“What I’m most proud of is, yes, she did score 38, but still, we won the game by hitting foul shots down the stretch,” Castagnolo said. “I was just really proud of those kids shooting those foul shots tonight.”
In the fourth quarter, Clearfield went to the foul line 14 times. Between Nicollette Brossard, Nicole Chew, Brooke Cline and Alayna Ryan, 11 of those shots added points to the tally.
Cline and Ryan led the Bison in scoring with 19 and 18 points, respectively, with most coming in transition off turnovers, many of which Ryan created. Her eight steals led all players, and she also had a team-high seven assists.
“Brooke and Alayna, they feed each other the ball so well. And we get another year of that, too. Brossard, she’s been struggling, but tonight she contributed,” Castagnolo said of his players.
If there was one weakness for the Lady Bison, according to Castagnolo, it was on the boards. Clearfield was crushed when it came to offensive and defensive rebounds, which in some cases led to open shots for Herrington, or led to fouls to force an in-bounds pass. Chew led the Bison with 11 boards, but the team only tallied 26 for the game, compared to 41 for the Lady Mounties.
The fourth quarter is when the action intensified, as at one point, Clearfield held a 10-point advantage. But, Herrington would hit a deep shot, cutting it back to single digits. P-O called a time out with exactly a minute remaining in the game. Following the break, Herrington drained a three from the deep post, cutting the lead to just two points.
Unfortunately for P-O, they drew a foul on the opposite end to put Chew at the line. With her two shots going in, Castagnolo called time out with just 21 seconds remaining, and told his team that even if a three-point shot would go in, the game wasn’t done.
“I kept adding, subtracting, and knew that if we could be ahead by more than three, even if she made one, we still had the lead, or at least tied,” he said.
Herrington fed the ball on the ensuing possession to Loryn Hughes, who went for the quick jumper on the baseline in the hopes the basket would go and draw a foul for the bonus shot. Neither would happen, and the ball went out of bounds with just over three seconds remaining. Castagnolo used his final timeout, knowing the opportunity was to keep Herrington from getting the ball, or at the very least knowing a made shot would lead to overtime.
On the in-bound play, Herrington swept to her left near the post, but the look wasn’t good. Instead, Cassidy Hughes elected to toss the ball into Lacey Potter, who already had a pair of three-point baskets, at the right post. It was one opportunity, and she took it.
The ball bounced off the back of the rim, and in the biggest rebound of the night, Chew grabbed the board, squeezed tight and heard the final buzzer sound.
In what turned out to be the third game of the night, as the 7th and 8th graders plus freshmen opened the night, the Lady Mounties took victory in the jayvee game with a 40-22 final score.
Castagnolo knew coming in, the game was going to be one where both squads had to put in 32 minutes, because likely it would come right down to the final moments to decide a winner.
“It doesn’t matter who the coach is, nor who the girls are, Clearfield-Philipsburg is always a nail-biter,” he said. “I remember the game last year over there that we came back to win. It’s always a nail-biter, but it’s always clean play, and no shenanigans.
“What a game!”
Now at 7-5, Castagnolo knows that his team has momentum, and wants to keep that momentum going as their third home game in a row is coming on Monday, one that is critical for their overall record, and in District IX itself, as the Lady Dutch of St. Mary’s will journey to Clearfield. Afterwards, he made it clear what he’s hoping it could lead to down the line.
“Big District IX game, for sure. Both for Mountain League, and for playoffs. I sure don’t want to go up there. I want them to come here,” he said.
Tip off for the jayvee game is at 6 p.m. with varsity to follow.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Philipsburg-Osceola 6 13 16 20 – 55
Clearfield 11 16 14 17 – 58
Philipsburg-Osceola – 55
Herrington 14 4-5 38, C. Hughes 2 0-0 4, Lucas 1 0-0 3, Butler 3 0-0 8, Kennedy 1 0-0 2, L. Hughes 0 0-0 0, Bordas 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 21 4-5 55.
Clearfield – 58
Brossard 4 3-4 11, Chew 1 2-2 4, Cline 8 3-6 19, Ryan 7 4-6 18, Lindstrom 2 0-0 4, Gisewhite 1 0-0 2, MIller 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 23 12-18 58.
Three-Point Shots: Herrington (6), Butler (2), Lucas
Foul Outed: Lucas
Lady Bison Scoreboard:
|12/09&10||@ Brookville Tip-off Tourney|
|12/09||vs. Clarion-Limestone||64 – 22||1 – 0|
|12/10||vs. North Clarion||39 – 51||1 – 1|
|12/14||@ Central||24 – 64||1 – 2|
|12/16||HUNTINGDON||43 – 35||2 – 2|
|12/19||BELLEFONTE||52 – 55||2 – 3|
|12/21||@ Tyrone||47 – 65||2 – 4|
|12/23||DUBOIS||52 – 45||3 – 4|
|12/28||CURWENSVILLE||52 – 51||4 – 4|
|01/03||@ Punxsutawney||33 – 50||4 – 5|
|01/06||BALD EAGLE AREA||46 – 27||5 – 5|
|01/09||BROOKVILLE||45 – 25||6 – 5|
|01/10||@ Penns Valley||ppd.||6 – 5|
|01/13||PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA||58 – 55||7 – 5|
|01/25||@ Penns Valley|
|02/01||@ Penns Valley|