HYDE – Two high school boys basketball teams coming off of different types of seasons – Clearfield having won 23 games last year, while Curwensville won just six..
A new year, and some new faces for the Bison and a lot of the same faces with experience for the Golden Tide.
It all added up to a great season opener for both squads and the loyal fans that follow each team.
And in the end it was Clearfield winning on its home court in 54-52 thriller that went down to final buzzer.
As Curwensville head coach Matt Wassil said afterwards, “These are the kind of games that you want to play in and coach for.”
The game opened with four three-pointers equally divided by each team as Jon Gates hit two treys for Clearfield with Josh Terry and Christian Bakaysa knocking down one each for Curwensville.
So the game was all tied at 6-6 when the Tide took an 8-6 edge on a bucket by Terry at the 6:10 mark of the first quarter. Unfortunately for the Tide faithful, it was the last lead Curwensville would have throughout the night.
With the score tied at eight apiece Clearfield’s Taye Lynch made good on both ends of free throws giving the Bison a 10-8 edge midway through the opening eight minutes.
Clearfield maintained the lead for the remainder of the battle, but it wouldn’t be an easy thing to do.
Taking a 17-15 margin into the second, Clearfield outscored the Tide 19-7 to take what looked like a commanding 36-22 bulge into intermission.
The biggest lead for Clearfield in the second stanza was 35-19 on a three pointer by Ryan Chew with 1:15 to go before the half.
Curwensville, led by playmaker Terry, however, came out in the third quarter to out point the Bison 21-10 thanks to 11 by the senior Terry and cut the Clearfield lead to 46-43 with eight minutes to play.
Clearfield stretched its margin to seven, 50-43, on a free throw by freshman Karson Rumsky with 5:51 to go in the game.
But once again the Tide would not go away, as Terry hit a three-pointer with 3:10 left to make it a one point game, 52-51 Clearfield.
Clearfield senior Reese Wilson scored what proved to be the winning basket with three minutes to play giving the Bison a 54-51 edge.
The last point of the game was a free throw by Terry cutting the Bison lead to just two, 54-52 with 57 seconds to go.
Curwensville did have the last possession with approximately 17 seconds left, but a last second shot from beyond the arc fell short at the buzzer preserving the victory for Clearfield 54-52.
Terry lead all scorers on the night with 27 tallies, just over half the total for the Tide, and Bakaysa added 11 pints.
Clearfield had three players in double figures with Wilson and Cade Walker each scoring 12 while Jon Gates chipped in with 11 points.
Both squads will need to work on free throws as Clearfield was 8 of 23 from the line while Curwensville was hitting on 9 of 20.
Bison Head coach Nate Glunt commented after the win, saying, “I thought our kids battled and played hard all night. Somehow these guys figured out a way to win against what, I think, is a very good Curwensville team.”
Glunt then added, “We were getting some really good looks and good shots a lot tonight but for whatever reason they just didn’t go in a lot of the time.”
Wassil closed saying, “Never feels good when you lose, but I couldn’t ask much more from our team. We thought we had a chance to win and almost did. So as everyone can see we will be competitive because this team has a lot of heart.”
It was the seventh straight win for the Bison over the Tide with Curwensville last winning during the 2013-14 season.
The Bison also won the junior varsity contest, beating the Golden Tide 59-25.
Curwensville will be at home on Monday for a Moshannon Valley League game against West Branch, while Clearfield returns to the hardwood on Wednesday, against Mountain League foe Central.
Both games can be heard on WOKW-FM, 102.9 starting with the pre-game show at approximately 7:15 pm.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
CURWENSVILLE 15 7 21 9 52
CLEARFIELD 17 19 10 8 54
THREE-POINTERS : CURWENSVILLE – 7; Terry 4, Barrett, Bakaysa, Bloom
CLEARFIELD – 4; Gates 3, Chew
CURWENSVILLE – 52
Josh Terry 10 3-4 27, Devon Barrett 2 0-2 5, Noah Von Gunden 0 0-1 0, Christian Bakaysa 4 2-4 11, Avery Francisco 0 2-6 2, Dakota Bloom 2 1-1 6, Jeremy Irwin 0 1-2 1
TOTALS – 18 9-20 52
CLEARFIELD – 54
Cade Walker 6 0-2 12, Jon Gates 4 0-0 11, Reese Wilson 5 2-8 12, Ryan Chew 1 0-0 3, Wyatt Porter 1 1-3 3, Taye Lynch 1 4-6 6, Jake Lezzer 0 0-0 0, Josh Geppert 3 0-1 6, Karson Rumsky 0 1-3 1
TOTALS – 21 8-23 54
OFFICIALS: Jim Cushion, Jim Klausman, Keith Redfoot