Bison Cagers Pull Off Thrilling Overtime Triumph Against DuBois

HYDE — Under normal circumstances, Mondays can be rather bland, and can’t be enjoyed.  It’s going back to work, back to school, and returning to the routine.  But, every now and then, it’s time to unwind and get some enjoyment.

But even that sometimes is not enough, at least when it comes to sports.  Monday night, the hardwood inside the Bison Gym got its next taste of action from Nate Glunt’s squad, this time welcoming in a non-Mountain League foe, but a rival nonetheless.  Making the trip from over Rockton Mountain were the Beavers of DuBois.

What the fans got for the entire 32 minutes of play can be summed up no less than thrilling.  In fact, they wanted more than 32 minutes because the game was that intense.  It turns out, four quarters was not enough on this night to decide a winner.

When it came right down to it, in the extra frame, the momentum built up in the final quarter carried over and more for the home squad.  A packed house saw the Bison out-score the visitors during the overtime four minutes of play, holding on and giving an ecstatic home crowd a 69-60 hard-earned, well-deserved, and exhausting triumph.

Glunt afterwards was just as exhausted as his players, but saw a smile come across his face.

“These kind of games are stressful.  I tell you what, our kids stepped up,” he said.  “We had a great crowd here tonight.  What a game, a great basketball game.”

From the opening tip it was clear this game would be a back-and-forth debate on who could get the most pressure.  Clearfield opened things up when Ryan Chew hit the opening three-pointer to get things going.  But DuBois came right back and managed to take the lead halfway through the period, but Clearfield was not yet ready to yield.  Another deep shot by Chew at the post plus another by Johnny Gates helped the Bison get back on top.

DuBois fought back, thanks to baskets from Justin Manduley and Jonathan Cruz.  After one frame, the teams were knotted up at 15 a piece, with Clearfield getting possession.

It was a lot of the same in the second frame as Clearfield was making deep shots from behind the arc, including a couple long three’s from Gates at the baseline.  But, DuBois was keeping pace with a pair of their own, and also hitting shots in the paint, plus getting key rebounds on both ends of the court.  At halftime, the Beavers held a slight two-point advantage, 34-32.

Clearfield’s approach in the second half became a lot different.  It wasn’t about constantly going for the deep shot, even if the look was good.  But instead, make them work to try and defend close to the basket.

“Making three’s in the first half helps, but in the second half you need to get inside,” Glunt said.  “I thought our kids did great.  They learned if you keep shooting three’s, you’ll give up a 10-0 run.The difference between this game and previous games, the first half we made three’s, which was good since they were good shots.

“The second half, in earlier season games we continued to shoot those three’s, but just couldn’t make them much in the second.  After we shot two quick three’s, and missed them, we started working the ball back inside again, and that’s when we started scoring again.

Senior Reese Wilson had a career high 21 points to lead the Bison to an OT win over the Beavers (Photo by Eve Siegel)

Clearfield took the opening possession and tried for the deep ball, but quickly found itself down by two possessions, 40-34, and Glunt called a timeout to settle his team down.  At that point, they went to work, and made all but two shots from inside the paint the rest of the quarter.  Adding in a pair of foul shots by Reese Wilson, who had the best night of any player with a career high 21 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, Clearfield won the quarter, and entered the last frame only down by one.

Glunt mentioned in the first half, and part of the third quarter, defensively they were struggling, stating, “We didn’t match up to their shooters.”  But, in the final quarter, the style of defense changed, and they had to be aggressive.

“That’s what we talked about last night, how to take the next step to win these tough games.  We have to be physical,” he said.  “Not too intentional, but using our bodies to make contact, and make it difficult.  That and talking.  In the first half, we didn’t talk on offense.  Second half, we’re talking more, and it’s much harder on them.”

The final quarter was all about possessions, and making them count.  Clearfield focused their play on the Beavers’ best player, Jonathan Cruz, double-teaming him at the post and at the top of the key, keeping him from making shots like he did in the first half.  Although Cruz finished tied for a game-high 21 points, he was limited to just five after the first two quarters.

Where things really heated up was in the final three minutes of play.  Every possession became huge as Wilson, Gates, and the Beavers’ Chase Husted all traded points.  With under a minute left, Wilson had one of the biggest baskets to pull the Bison within one on a drive on the baseline that bounced off the rim and saw the net.

“When we got down three with about 57 seconds left, Reese gets the plus-one, and makes the foul shot, and that really pulled us in.  A great job by Reese,” Glunt said.

Husted finished with the best night aside from Cruz, completing a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards.

DuBois answered back with a plus-one by Justin Swauger, but his ensuing foul shot went off the backboard, and Clearfield began the drive again.  A late foul from Cruz put Gates to the line again for a pair of free throws, with Gates making one to even things up.

Ryan Chew’s always tenacious defense led to a jump ball late in the game (Photo by Eve Siegel)

Late game turnovers halted a lot of momentum for each side, but DuBois had the final inbound possession of the quarter with 14.3 ticks left on the clock.  The inbound pass went to Husted, who made his way to the timeline and looked right, then left.  He managed to find Alex Beers at the baseline, who let off a final high-arcing shot from behind the line.  It managed to hit the rim, but went back in his direction following the buzzer, leaving the score knotted at 54 a piece, and meant each team had more ball to play.

With three timeouts to their disposal, compared to one from DuBois, the Bison looked ready to put things away early.  Taye Lynch lined up for the overtime tip, looking across at Husted.  When the official tossed the ball, both went for the tip back, but the ball landed on the ground right off Husted’s fingers.  Lynch suddenly picked up the loose ball and drove right to the basket for a quick layup, and a two-point lead.  Mere seconds later, a steal from Chew saw the Bison get back into their side of the court.  Chew found an open Wilson, who faked the jump shot and worked inside.

But instead of going up, he tossed to the left baseline to Chew again, who saw the three-point shot go right in the hoop.  Just over a minute into the overtime period, Clearfield saw a tie game change into a 59-54 lead that quickly shifted in their favor.

On defense, the Bison played overtime very low to the ground, keeping their hands on the ball, and forcing the Beavers to work to the basket instead of giving them looks on the outside.

After the initial two baskets from Clearfield, the Beavers were forcing the Bison to the line on foul shots, which in the overtime period was almost academic.  On one occasion, Beers was chasing down Chew and not only got called for a hard foul, but the officials blew the whistle and threw up an “X” signal, signifying an intentional foul.  It was Beers’ fifth foul of the game, and he was forced to the sidelines while Chew put down both free throws, and gave Clearfield possession.

In the overtime period, the final 10 points for the Bison came from the line, and they would outscore the Beavers 15-6, the largest margin either team had in any part of the game.

The opening junior varsity game was just as exciting, almost a prelude to what was to come, but it was DuBois picking up the close 44-42 victory to start the night.

Clearfield at 8-6 is showing it can compete in the Mountain League, and Glunt attributes that to both the leadership of the class slated to graduate, but also his younger players that are getting playing time and making the most of it.

“We’ve got a lot of young players.  Our seniors are providing great leadership, but our underclassmen are getting major minutes,” Glunt said.  “Taye is an underclassman, but he’s shown he can start like he did tonight, and that’s encouraging.  We have a lot of young players, and it gives me a lot of encouragement for this program.”

Clearfield continues its homestand on Wednesday night when they host Huntingdon.  Tip is at 6 p.m. for the jayvee game, varsity to follow.

SCORE BY QUARTER

Dubois   15   19   9   11   6  –  60
Clearfield   15   17   10   12   15  –  69

Dubois – 60

Desantis 0 0-0 0, Beers 2 0-0 5, Cruz 5 6-10 21, Swauger 1 0-1 2, Lindholm 0 0-0 0, Ayrault 0 0-0 0, Garvey 3 1-2 7, Sharp 0 1-2 1, Kovalyak 0 0-0 0, Manduley 3 0-0 7, Husted 7 1-1 15, Barrett 0 2-2 2, Woodward 0 0-0 0, Hassan 0 0-0 0.  TOTALS 21 11-18 60.

Clearfield – 69

Lynch 3 0-1 6, Kline 0 0-0 0, Hess 0 0-0 0, Walker 1 1-2 4, Lezzer 0 0-0 0, Gates 6 4-7 19, Wilson 5 10-13 21, Chew 5 3-5 16, Geppert 0 0-0 0, Rumsky 1 0-0 3, Lopez 0 0-0 0, Billotte 0 0-0 0.  TOTALS 21 18-28 69.

GAME STATISTICS
Dubois/Clearfield

Shooting:  21-56/21-51

Fouls:  20/17

Rebounds:  34/38

Turnovers:  17/14

Three-Point Field Goals:  Beers, Cruz (5), Manduley/Walker, Gates (3), Wilson, Chew (3), Rumsky

Technical Fouls:  Beers/Hess

Foul Outs:  Beers

Game Officials:  Larry Stitt, Tim White, Dave Adams

Bison Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
12/08 CURWENSVILLE 54 – 52 1 – 0
12/13 CENTRAL 45 – 56 1 – 1
12/15 @ Huntingdon 62 – 85 1 – 2
12/20 @ Bellefonte 50 – 41 2 – 2
12/28 @ Purchase Line Christmas Tourney
12/28 vs. Harmony 73-31 3 – 2
12/29 @ Purchase Line Christmas Tourney
12/29 vs. Purchase Line 45 – 56 3 – 3
01/05 TYRONE 56 – 63 3 – 4
01/08 @ Punxsutawney 54 – 68 3 – 5
01/10 @ Bald Eagle Area 56 – 45 4 – 5
01/12 PENNS VALLEY 40 – 28 5 – 5
01/15 @ Clarion-Limestone 57 – 41 6 – 5
01/16 @ Philipsburg-Osceola 49 – 42 7 – 5
01/19 @ Central 46 – 50 7 – 6
01/22 DUBOIS 69 – 60 ot 8 – 6
01/24 HUNTINGDON
01/26 BELLEFONTE
01/30 @ Tyrone
02/01 BROOKVILLE
02/02 BALD EAGLE AREA
02/07 @ Penns Valley
02/09 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA
02/12 @ Curwensville
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