Lady Bison Seek Revenge in 9-AAAA Semi Against St. Marys

CLEARFIELD — The Clearfield Area High School girls basketball team will be striving to avenge one of its regular season losses at St. Marys Wednesday night in the lone District 9 Class AAAA semifinal game.

The winner of the 7 p.m. tipoff in the Dutch Oven will have to contend with No. 1 seed Punxsutawney (21-1) in next week’s championship game.

Keys for the third-seeded Lady Bison (9-13) in the rematch of their 43-31 home floor loss to the Lady Dutch Jan. 23 will be turnarounds in shooting and rebounding.

They made only 10 of 56 field goal attempts for 18 percent.

“We shot horribly that game,” Clearfield coach Joey Castagnolo said. “We were 1-for-24 from behind the three-point line.”

He cited the Lady Dutch’s tight man-for-man defense as one factor, but was quick to point out that the Lady Bison were coming off an emotional game with Huntingdon the night before.

The combination of the excitement surrounding senior Alayna Ryan going over 1,000 points for her career and a tough 54-52 loss in a down-to-the-wire thriller took its toll with the Lady Bison playing back-to-back nights, according to Castagnolo.

“I felt our whole team just had a letdown that game,” he said.

The rebounding stats reflected that, too, as the Lady Dutch, with only one player taller than 5-8, were able to neutralize the Lady Bison’s height advantage.

“They know how to box out, and they’re very sound fundamentally,” Castagnolo noted.

The Lady Dutch (16-6) recorded five of their eight three-pointers in the first half when they erased the Lady Bison’s 10-8 lead on their way to a 32-20 halftime advantage before the teams matched nine points in the third quarter and only two in the final period.

St. Marys has good balance on offense with 5-5 junior Megan Quesenberry the lone player in double figures at 12.5 points per game.

Other main contributors are 5-6 sophomore Kyla Johnson (8.9 ppg), 5-5 junior Kaylee Muccio (7.2 ppg) and 5-6 junior Allison Schlimm (7.0 ppg), while 5-3 sophomore Samantha Hayes is averaging 5.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and team-highs of 3.1 assists and 3.4 steals.

“They really pass the ball well, and they’re always moving and cutting,” Castagnolo said. “As a team, they all can shoot a three, and that’s what we have to be aware of.

“We have to be really moving and communicating on defense, because they’ll shoot threes all over the place.”

Defensively, the very-quick Lady Dutch slowed the Lady Bison by focusing on Alayna Ryan, who is averaging just under 22 points and accounting for almost half of the team’s total.

“They didn’t press us, but they picked up Alayna at halfcourt,” Castagnolo said. “Then, they tried to double her out front.”

For the Lady Bison to extend their season, Ryan will need more help than in the first game when she scored 14 points and junior Tesa Miller had eight.

“The other girls have to pick up Alayna,” Castagnolo said. “I expect more from them, and I told them that.

Joining Ryan and Miller (5.8 ppg) in the starting lineup will be sophomore Megan Durandetta (5.7 ppg) and freshmen Emma Hipps (3.8 ppg) and Olivia Bender (2.2 ppg).

Junior McLain Alt and freshman Paige Rhine will be counted on for valuable minutes, too.

St. Marys was 3-3 and Clearfield 1-2 against their three common opponents.

The Lady Dutch swept DuBois 39-32 and 50-45, split with Brookville by winning 53-39 in December but losing 59-47 last week and dropped both games to Punxsy 46-28 and 44-37.

Two of their other losses were to 19-3 Warren and 19-5 Johnsonburg.

“They’ve lost to all good teams,” Castagnolo said.

The Lady Bison rallied to nip DuBois 42-40 in overtime and lost to 17-5 Brookville 58-30 in their season opener and Punxsy 50-27.

Comparative scores might favor the Lady Dutch, but Castagnolo likes the Lady Bison’s chances if they play like they did in their last three games.

“We’re playing with more confidence now,” he explained. “I think it will be a really good game.”

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 52 – 54 7 – 8
01/23 ST. MARYS 31 – 43 7 – 9
01/25 @ Philipsburg-Osceola 45 – 56 7 – 10
01/30 TYRONE ppd. 7 – 10
02/01 @ Penns Valley 24 – 55 7 – 11
02/05 CENTRAL 32 – 43 7 – 12
02/06 TYRONE 59 – 51 8 – 12
02/08 @ Bellefonte 44 – 46 8 – 13
02/12 @ Curwensville ppd. 8 – 13
02/15 @ Curwensville 59 – 38 9 – 13
02/20 District 9 AAAA Semifinals
02/20 @ St. Marys

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