Defense and Rebounds Push Lady Bison Past Bald Eagle

HYDE — The focus among everyone has been on the approaching weather, but for 32 minutes on Friday night, it was about warming up the hardwood inside the Bison Gymnasium.  For the third time this week, the Lady Bison hit their home court, this time welcoming in a Mountain League foe, the Lady Eagles of Bald Eagle.

Although it wasn’t the prettiest effort, as turnovers were happening on both sides of the ball, it was the second half effort of the home squad that made the difference.  Clearfield played strong defense, and posted up for rebounds, to achieve a 48-38 victory to even their season record at 7-7.

“I’m really happy with our second half defense,” said head coach Joey Castagnolo afterwards.  “I switched to another two-one-two again, and I just said to close it in because they were putting dents in our armor by penetrating and dishing off.  So I went to a two-one-two, and it worked beautiful.”

The change on defense came after a slightly sloppy first half, as Clearfield found themselves committing a total of 14 turnovers in the first 16 minutes.  But the Lady Bison kept pace, never losing the lead throughout the entire game.  In the second half, Castagnolo’s swap to the new defensive scheme proved to be huge on the boards.  Clearfield would gain 21 rebounds in the second half compared to just six by Bald Eagle.

“I think it had a lot to do with our positioning in the two-one-two, because the girls were right there at the blocks.  I think that’s where we won the game at,” he said.  “I know we controlled the whole game, but that’s where the difference was.”

Tess Miller had the best rebounding quarter of her season, despite not scoring any points, pulling down 13 boards plus six blocks.  But, as expected, Alayna Ryan had another stellar night as she inched closer to hitting 1000-career points.  She finished with 29 points, seven rebounds, and four each in assists and steals.  But even with all that, Castagnolo was still critical of her play in certain situations.

“Alayna wasn’t really herself, even though she scored 29.  I still think her floor game is off just a little bit, but I think that also had a lot to do with how they were playing her,” he said.

Bald Eagle made it interesting in the final quarter, pulling within eight following a pair of turnovers from Clearfield.  An inside shot from Rachel Veneziano and a deep three from Lacey Barnhart brought the Lady Eagles within striking distance before Castagnolo decided to settle his team down.

“That’s why I called that timeout, and I told the girls we were up, so let’s just take care of the basketball,”  he said,  “I thought we did a nice job there in the last few minutes.”

Coming out of the timeout, Bald Eagle once again captured a turnover, and tried to get a shot off, but on the rebound my Miller, she dished to Ryan, who found a fast break up the center.  Instead of going to the basket, risking a charging call, she passed the ball right, and found Megan Durandetta on the baseline, who then drained one of her three shots from deep territory.  That shot took out any air left in the wheels of Bald Eagle, as they soon fell behind and began losing chances, and losing time to attempt a rally.

“She’s opportunistic,” Castagnolo said of his sophomore forward.  “Megan’s hit a couple big ones this week, one on Monday against Dubois, and then tonight; that salted it.”

Clearfield also came through in a low-scoring junior varsity contest, 17-14, in a game that came down to one last shot by Bald Eagle that bounced off the rim.

The Lady Bison evened their season record to 7-7, and despite the game not exactly being the most appealing to watch from the bench, Castagnolo was still pleased with the end result.

“It was a little sloppy, I admit.  But a win is a win, and that has a lot to do with the style of play from Bald Eagle,” he said.  “But overall, I’m happy.  We’re 2-1 on this home stand, we have two big ones next week.  We’re just playing so much better.”

Clearfield is back in the Bison Gym on Tuesday.  All eyes will be on Ryan as she is only 18 points from hitting 1000 in her career, possibly becoming just the fifth player in Lady Bison history to accomplish such a feat.

She and her teammates will face the Lady Bearcats of Huntingdon, who defeated Clearfield back on December 14, 72-42.  Tip for junior varsity will be at 6 p.m. and varsity will follow.

SCORE BY QUARTER

Bald Eagle Area   5   10   4   19  –  38
Clearfield   15   10   8   15  –  48

Bald Eagle Area – 38

Barnhart 6 4-6 19, Lingle 3 0-0 9, Perry 1 1-5 3, Veneziano 2 0-0 4, Serb 1 0-2 2, Cunningham 0 0-0 0, Holler 0 1-2 1.  TOTALS 13 6-15 38.

Clearfield – 48

Durandetta 3 0-0 9, Hipps 2 0-0 5, Ryan 10 8-9 29, Van Tassel 1 0-0 3, Rowles 0 0-2 0, Rhine 1 0-1 2, Bender 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0.  TOTALS 17 8-12 48.

GAME STATISTICS
Bald Eagle Area/Clearfield

Shooting:  13-50/17-52

Rebounds:  21/35

Fouls:  9/15

Turnovers:  24/26

Three-Point Shots:  Barnhart (3), Lingle (3)/Durandetta (3), Hipps, Ryan, Van Tassel

Foul Outs:  Bender

Lady Bison Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
12/07 & 08 @ Brookville Tip-off Tourney
12/07 vs. Brookville 30 – 54 0 – 1
12/08 vs. Clarion-Limestone 58 – 30 1 – 1
12/11 @ Bald Eagle Area 27 – 31 1 – 2
12/14 @ Huntingdon 42 – 72 1 – 3
12/17 BROOKVILLE 57 – 53 2 – 3
12/19 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA 59 – 50 3 – 3
12/21 @ Tyrone 17 – 73 3 – 4
12/27 CURWENSVILLE 60 – 36 4 – 4
01/04 @ Punxsutawney 27 – 50 4 – 5
01/08 PENNS VALLEY 32 – 71 4 – 6
01/11 @ Central 54 – 37 5 – 6
01/14 DUBOIS 42 – 40 ot 6 – 6
01/16 BELLEFONTE 54 – 48 6 – 7
01/18 BALD EAGLE AREA 43 – 38 7 – 7
01/22 HUNTINGDON
01/23 ST. MARYS
01/25 @ Philipsburg-Osceola
01/30 TYRONE
02/01 @ Penns Valley
02/05 CENTRAL
02/08 @ Bellefonte
02/12 @ Curwensville

Bison Rally in Fourth Quarter To Defeat BEA 57-55
Lady Wolves Dump Lady Tide 53-34

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