HYDE — The Clearfield Bison basketball squad started the season rolling and despite one setback in Mountain League play, the entire team has contributed and has shown they are among the elite on the hardwood. The Golden Eagles of Tyrone came in on Friday night ready to play the role of “The Grinch” as the student body came in with their Christmas theme with winter break officially having begun.
That role for Tyrone seemed to work out early, but Clearfield began to reel them in late. However, the comeback fell short, and Clearfield suffered its second loss on the season in a 50-42 heart breaker.
Head coach Nate Glunt admitted that the game plan he came up with after the opening tip was one that ultimately hurt them, forcing his team to play from behind the entire 32 minutes.
“We had a game plan of trying to run set plays, get the ball inside with the zone. We wanted to screen it (the ball), and we ended up just standing. We were thinking too much, and that’s completely my fault,” Glunt said. “So we said at halftime, ‘Let’s just go two-guard, go 2-on-2 set, and just let them play. Just pass as fast as we can, and attack the basket.
“By doing that, it just let them cut loose and stop thinking, and start playing.”
Looking back, Glunt wished he had taken that approach in the opening quarter as the Golden Eagles were able to stretch out an 11-point lead at one point, and maintained it while the Bison offense struggled to find the basket. Tyrone held Clearfield to only four points in the opening stanza, the lowest output by the Bison in any quarter this season.
The biggest struggle Clearfield had in falling behind was not getting the ball when the opportunity came, something Glunt was quick to point out.
“Another thing we did better in the second half was rebounding. We just got crushed on the boards in the first half, but after halftime, we played much harder, had a better flow. We were more active,” he said.
Clearfield came out with a much different attitude once the second half began, and with their quicker pace, and Glunt’s idea of not thinking and just playing, the Bison suddenly started with a 5-0 run, fueled mainly from Cade Walker, who finished the third quarter with all but five of the team’s 14 points. Walker finished the night with 21 points, and seven boards, all coming in the second half.
The home squad suddenly saw their Bison begin pressuring the Golden Eagles at each possession, and it seemed to frustrate the visiting squad, forcing mistakes that allowed Clearfield to get possession, and also some anger. At one point, Tyrone’s Andrew Ferguson was called for an illegal push-off, and before official Kenny Knepp could make it to the table to announce the call, Ferguson was thinking it was a bad call. The problem was, the call came right in front of Knepp.
His technical foul, combined with the personal one on the push-off, gave him four fouls, and put Walker to the line for a pair of free throws, with him making one, but most importantly kept possession to the Bison.
Both squads began going back and forth, trading shots and fouls. Clearfield pulled within six with just over two minutes remaining in the game, but following the final timeout called by Glunt, the Bison saw their opportunities fall as a bucket from Damon Gripp plus a pair of free throws by Ferguson sealed the win.
“You learn more about a team one game at a time. Right now we are learning what we can do against the zone. But the first half, that is absolutely, completely my fault,” Glunt said.
Gripp finished the night with a team-high 16 points, while Brandon Lucas accounted for 14 and Ferguson chipped in 12. Lucas also led the team in both rebounds and assists, nine and seven, respectively.
Clearfield fell short in the opening jayvee contest as well, 55-42.
Glunt knows his team is talented, with a lot of leadership and still a lot of games to play on the season. But, he also knows this is just the beginning, because in his eyes, the challenges are still coming within the league.
“Our Mountain League schedule is so tough. Every team is good, and once we get playing for four quarters, plus know what to do against both the zone and man (defense), we’ll be there.” he said.
Clearfield (4-2) gets a break from league play as they will be part of the Purchase Line Holiday Tournament on December 27 and 28. They will return to regular season play on January 4 when they travel to Brookville.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Tyrone 16 13 7 14 – 50
Clearfield 4 7 14 17 – 42
Tyrone – 50
Taylor 1 0-0 2, Lang 0 0-0 0, Gripp 8 0-0 16, Lucas 5 3-7 14, Dehaas 0 0-0 0, Hoover 2 0-0 4, Ferguson 4 4-5 12, Rhodes 0 0-0 0, Moon 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 18 7-12 50.
Clearfield – 42
Lynch 0 0-0 0, Kline 0 0-0 0, Hess 1 0-0 2, Walker 8 5-9 21, Peacock 0 0-0 0, Pallo 3 0-0 8, Rumsky 3 0-0 7, Lopez 2 0-0 6. TOTALS 17 5-9 42.
Three-Point Shots: Lucas/Pallo (2), Rumsky
Technical Fouls: Ferguson
Officials: David DeLakeela, Bud Brennen, Kenny Knepp
Date Opponent Score Record
12/07 CURWENSVILLE 77 – 32 1 – 0
12/10 WEST BRANCH 57 – 33 2 – 0
12/12 BALD EAGLE AREA 73 – 48 3 – 0
12/14 HUNTINGDON 53 – 63 3 -1
12/17 @ Philipsburg-Osceola 64 – 47 4 – 1
12/21 TYRONE 42 – 50 4 – 2
12/27 @ Purchase Line Tourney
12/28 @ Purchase Line Tourney
01/04 @ Brookville
01/09 @ Penns Valley
01/15 @ Bellefonte
01/18 @ Bald Eage Area
01/21 @ DuBois
01/23 @ Huntingdon
01/29 @ Tyrone
02/01 PENNS VALLEY
02/06 @ Central
02/13 @ Curwensville