Bison Cagers Overcome Sluggish First Half to Defeat Bald Eagle

HYDE — After having a snow day on Tuesday, the Clearfield Bison cagers only had to wait 24 hours to get back on the court for competition.  Tuesday’s slated contest against the Bald Eagle Area Eagles got moved to Wednesday, and the Bison faithful came to the Bison Gymnasium to watch the critical Mountain League contest.

Early on, neither team appeared to have much of an advantage despite what the scoreboard said.  It was the second half play of the home team that made a major difference.  After starting the third quarter with an 8-2 run, Clearfield coasted the rest of the way to secure the 68-36 victory.

The first half saw the Bison taking a lot of shots, 34 in total.  However, only 11 of those shots made it through the net.  At the same time, head coach Nate Glunt was seeing a lot of giveaways and fouls from his team that kept the Eagles within striking distance.

Afterwards, he explained what made the difference when the team emerged from the locker room.

“In the second half, I thought our passing was a lot better.  Instead of trying to make the perfect pass, we made the easy pass,” he said.  “I think in the first half, we were trying to be too cute in making the perfect pass.  But give Bald Eagle credit, they were aggressive in their defense.”

The play of the Eagle defense limited the senior starters to a combined 26 of the 27 first-half points the Bison scored.  Clearfield did not hit a bucket from deep range until 2:18 remaining in the half when Evan Brown hit his first of back-to-back treys. Those were the final baskets of the first half when Clearfield held a 27-14 advantage after two quarters.  Brown hit one final basket in the fourth quarter to finish with 12 points.

Clearfield’s two top scorers, Tommy Hazel and Will Myers, each were struggling offensively in the first half, with Hazel having five points, and Myers accounting for 11.  Combined, they were only 7-for-20 on the floor.

Yet, with their struggles, the player that stepped up was Reese Wilson, who pushed hard in the third quarter to score seven of his 10 points, leading the offense from the top of the key and making smart decisions to help his teammates.

Glunt felt Wilson showed how well he can play when the opportunity presented itself.

“I thought it was Reese’s best game offensively.  He ended up in double figures, and played with confidence.  When we play 1-on-1, or 2-on-2, Reese scores as much as Evan, Will or Tommy,” Glunt said.  “Tonight, he played with confidence, and it just makes our team so much better.”

His play then began fueling both Hazel and Myers.  Hazel had one of his lowest scoring numbers on the night, accounting for just seven points.  However, he did pull down eight boards and secured five assists plus a pair of steals.

Myers found his rhythm at the end of the third quarter, finishing the second half 4-for-9 on the floor, including three baskets from the deep post to get a game-high 24 points, and also added in 12 boards, eight coming in the second half.

Although both teams had an extra day to rest before the game, albeit unplanned, Glunt felt that it didn’t give an advantage to either team having sluggish play in the first half.

“Keep in mind, they didn’t have school yesterday either.  So they couldn’t practice also,” he said.  “It was just a case where they had just eight offensive rebounds in the first half, but out-rebounded us 21-20.  That shows how much harder they were playing than we were.

“In the second half, we were able to make the easy passes, and extended to get the rebounds, which helped us gain confidence.”

Bald Eagle’s Parker Hilderbrand finished the night as the visitors’ top scorer with nine points, plus adding in eight rebounds.

The Clearfield junior varsity squad got the jump on the night to score the victory in a 56-25 final.  The game began late due to Bald Eagle having travel difficulties heading into Clearfield.

With the win, the Bison (18-1) have secured at least a tie for the Mountain League championship.  However, their biggest game of the season is coming up this Friday night.  Clearfield will pack up the bus and make a trip to Spring Mills to take on the Rams of Penns Valley.  The Rams and Bison faced one another on January 12 in the Bison Gym, with Clearfield gaining the 51-34 victory.  Penns Valley will be looking to play upset, while Clearfield can secure the 2016-2017 Mountain League title with a victory.

Glunt knew how big the upcoming game was, and made it critical that preparation will make a difference.

“We were just talking about that.  Friday, it will be a huge game,” he said.  “We need to have a good practice tomorrow, and get back to playing our kind of basketball.”

The junior varsity contest will tip off at 6 p.m.  Varsity action will follow.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Bald Eagle Area   7   7   12   10  –  36
Clearfield   13   14   18   23  –  68

Bald Eagle Area – 36

Hilderbrand 3 3-3 9, Barnhart 0 1-2 1, Dubbs 0 2-2 2, Jenkins 0 0-0 0, Gettig 0 0-0 0, Bucha 1 0-1 2, Fetzer 0 0-0 0, Ja. Jones 3 1-2 7, Jo. Jones 3 1-2 8, Roberts 2 1-1 5, Burkett 1 0-0 2, Eminhizer 0 0-0 0.  TOTALS 13 9 -13 36.

Clearfield – 68

Lynch 1 0-0 2, McGinnis 2 0-0 4, Walker 0 0-0 0, Gates 1 0-1 2, Brown 5 0-0 12, Wilson 4 1-2 10, Lazauskas 0 0-0 0, Hess 0 0-0 0, Porter 1 0-0 2, McKenzie 0 2-2 2, Hazzel 3 1-1 7, Wagner 0 0-2 0, Myers 9 3-3 24, Chew 1 0-0 3.  TOTALS 27 7-11 68.

GAME STATISTICS
Bald Eagle Area/Cleafield

Shooting:  13-53/27-67

Turnovers:  18/14

Fouls:  15/13

Rebounds:  25/41

Three-Point Shots:  Jo. Jones/Brown (2), Wilson, Myers (3), Chew

Bison Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
12/09 @ Curwensville 81 – 38 1 – 0
12/13 CENTRAL 53 – 41 2 – 0
12/16 @ Huntingdon 68 – 51 3 – 0
12/19 @ Bellefonte 56 – 33 4 – 0
12/22 TYRONE 65 – 40 5 – 0
12/29&30 Purchase Line Christmas Tourney    
12/29 vs. Northern Cambria 82 – 23 6 – 0
12/30 vs. Purchase Line 65 – 45 7 – 0
01/03 @ Brookville 83 – 59 8 – 0
01/06 @ Bald Eagle Area 73 – 30 9 – 0
01/09 @ Central 46 – 57 9 – 1
01/11 PENNS VALLEY ppd. 9 – 1
01/12 PENNS VALLEY 51 – 34 10 – 1
01/13 @ Philipsburg-Osceola 75 – 28 11 – 1
01/19 CLARION-LIMESTONE 82 – 48 12 – 1
01/20 HUNTINGDON 67 – 54 13 – 1
01/23 @ DuBois 62 – 47 14 – 1
01/25 BELLEFONTE 73 – 40 15 – 1
01/27 @ Tyrone 79 – 45 16 – 1
01/30 PUNXSUTAWNEY 65 – 41 17 – 1
01/31 BALD EAGLE AREA ppd. 17 – 1
02/01 BALD EAGLE AREA 68 – 36 18 – 1
02/03 @ Penns Valley    
02/06 CURWENSVILLE    
02/08 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA    

 

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