Bakaysa and Terry Each Score 21 in Golden Tide Victory

CURWENSVILLE — The five seniors on the Curwensville Golden Tide basketball squad have not experienced a lot of success in the 2018-2019 season.  Despite some great moments at times, the year has not gone as they wanted.  With the Sheffield Wolverines coming to Patton Hall on Friday night, it was one of the final opportunities in front of the home crowd to potentially be on the right end of the scoreboard.

It was the moment they wanted to leave everything on the hardwood, and on this night, they did just that.  A strong start on offense and on defense from not just the graduating players, but the entire squad, led them to a 73-52 triumph, a game where they never trailed.

“I thought our kids played their best offensive game of the year, especially in the first half.  We were a 12 or 15-win team the way we played that first half, moving the ball and making open shots, and taking what the defense gave us.  I think that confidence just grew,” head coach Matt Wassil said after emerging from the locker room  “But, I think what made the difference, we didn’t depend on one person to do anything.  Everybody was touching the ball, and the guy who shot it was just who the open guy was.

“That’s good basketball, and when you can do that, you can have success.”

That success came fast, although not by way of the offense.  The first six points from Curwensville came via free throws, but it was the initial spark the team needed as the next pair of shots from Dakota Bloom and Ty Terry were from behind the arc, and saw nothing but net.

Terry, a freshman, actually had his best game of the entire year.  His season did not begin with him as a starter, but rather coming off the bench.  This night, he was on the court for the tip off, and roared to life in the first quarter.  He would ultimately nail three shots from deep range, scoring 11 of the team’s 24 points in the first eight minutes.

At night’s end, Terry was one of two in double figures for the Tide, as senior Christian Bakaysa matched his freshman teammate as each accounted for 21 points.

It was Terry that had a lot of minutes in the second quarter, as both Bakaysa and Bloom spent the second quarter on the bench.  It wasn’t because of bad play, but Wassil was saving them for the second half, as his younger players were showcasing a lot of pride after seeing how well their older counterparts were showing their leadership.  For Wassil, the fact that he saw the reliability in his younger players on this night shows that his younger players realized they were playing to become the leaders the seniors had become.

“It was nice because, yes, we have struggled this year.  But tonight, to play together, and show what they were able to do as leaders, it rubbed off on our younger guys,” he said.  “I thought this was one of the first times we got guys that had a lot of contribution from the bench.

“Their effort, and attitude, it had a lot to do with it being Senior Night.  They felt they owed it to those seniors some of that effort.”

Entering the third quarter, the Tide held a 40-22 advantage on the Wolverines, but suddenly found themselves struggling in the opening moments.

Three quick baskets from Sheffield cut the lead  down to 40-28 and Wassil then had to call a time out, partially because of frustration, but also because he felt that the struggle wasn’t exactly what the fans expected.

“Honestly, I thought our defensive struggle…was our offense.  The first three or four minutes of the third quarter, we weren’t moving the ball at all.  Everything was on the right side of the floor, constantly.  It forced us into some bad shots, and that allowed them to build some momentum on offense,” he said.  “We didn’t come out with the intensity we needed to in the third quarter, and credit to Sheffield, they took advantage of that.  We had to call timeout just to regroup.”

That time out gave Curwensville a chance to regroup, and it worked as they continued to push the pace, despite being barely outscored by Sheffield, 12-11, in the frame.

Sheffield finished the night with three players in double digits, as Tyler Hepinger led the team with 17 and five rebounds, while Mitchell McNeal and Tony Richards each added in 10 a piece, with McNeal just short of a double-double as he pulled in nine boards.

Curwensville swept the night as they pulled off a 53-37 victory in the opening junior varsity contest.

Wassil was extremely humble at the end of the night as many of his players knew this was their last night inside Patton Hall, but what he also saw was his team realize it wasn’t about the seniors, nor was it about an individual.  It was playing as a collective unit.

“I thought this was one of the best nights our group had working together, and intermix.  We saw a lot of positives from the guys who are coming back, and also the leadership from our older guys,” Wassil said.  “A lot of our struggles in the past were because we didn’t have a complete effort from every guy.  Tonight wasn’t one of those nights.

“Even with one little lull in that third quarter, this was the best game we could have played.”

Curwensville (3-15) has a rare Saturday game as they will travel to face Glendale, a makeup game originally slated for last Wednesday but was postponed due to the dangerously cold weather.  The Vikings won the first meeting back on December 19, 66-45.  Curwensville’s final three games next week are all at home, beginning on Monday against Moshanon Valley.


Sheffield   12   10   12   18  –  52
Curwensville   24   16   11   22  –  73

Sheffield – 52

Dunham 1 5-7 7, Hepinger 2 13-15 17, Richards 4 1-3 10, McNeal 5 0-2 10, Vinopal 1 0-0 3, Kyler 1 3-4 5, Benjamin 0 0-0 0, Johnson 0 0-1 0, Albaugh 0 0-0 0.  TOTALS 14 22-31 52.

Currwensville – 73

Francisco 3 0-0 6, Bakaysa 5 11-12 21, Irwin 1 4-4 7, Guiffre 1 1-3 3, Bloom 2 0-0 5, Terry 6 6-6 21, Lansberry 2 1-2 6, Miller 1 0-0 2, Vance 0 0-0 0, Condon 1 0-0 2.  TOTALS 22 22-27 73.


Shooting:  14-55/22-56

Rebounds:  23/29

Fouls:  20/20

Turnovers:  20/19

Three-Point Shots:  Richards, Vinopal/Irwin, Bloom, Terry (4), Lansberry

Fouled Out:  Hepinger

Golden Tide Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
12/07 @ Clearfield 32 – 77 0 – 1
12/10 @ Mo Valley 26 – 56 0 – 2
12/14 RIDGWAY 26 – 65 0 – 3
12/17 @ Penns Manor 53 – 66 0 – 4
12/19 GLENDALE 45 – 66 0 – 5
12/21 @ Leechburg 45 – 83 0 – 6
01/04 @ Brockway 54 – 67 0 – 7
01/08 @ DuBois Central 36 – 67 0 – 8
01/10 @ Harmony 64 – 59 1 – 8
01/15 ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC 48 – 64 1 – 9
01/16 @ West Branch 40 – 56 1 – 10
01/18 @ Kane 43 – 62 1 – 11
01/21 HARMONY ppd. 1 – 11
01/22 @ Ridgway 23 – 55 1 – 12
01/25 BROCKWAY 63 – 60 2 – 12
01/28 WEST BRANCH 48 – 53 2 – 13
01/30 @ Glendale ppd. 2 – 13
02/01 @ Johnsonburg 26 – 62 2 – 14
02/05 DUBOIS CENTRAL 52 – 78 2 – 15
02/08 SHEFFIELD 73 – 52 3 – 15
02/09 @ Glendale


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