Quaker Valley Presents Big Challenge for Bison Cagers

HYDE — Slowing down a very talented Quaker Valley team that certainly won’t be in a good mood after losing in the District 7 championship game for the third year in a row will be the Clearfield Area High School Bison’s mission for their PIAA Class AAAA Tournament opener at Punxsutawney Friday night.

Bison coach Nate Glunt rates the Quakers as comparable to undefeated Mountain League champion Huntingdon, which is in the same half of the state bracket with a 24-0 record and a No. 4 ranking in the state.

“They don’t have a weakness,” Glunt proclaimed. “They have size, athleticism and really good guards.”

Quaker Valley (20-4) came out of the toughest of the three WPIAL Class AAAA sections as the No. 3 seed for districts and avenged two of its regular season losses by defeating No. 2 Ambridge 69-60 in the semifinals.

Just like last year, however, the Quakers were denied the D-7 title by New Castle after beating the Hurricanes twice in section play.

Quaker Valley built a 10-point lead in the third quarter, but New Castle rallied and closed on a 17-4 run for a 60-54 victory.

Ryan Stowers, considered by some as one of the premier players in the WPIAL, did all he could for the Quakers with 31 points, including all 11 in the fourth period, plus 18 rebounds and four blocks.

The senior wing, who is averaging 23 points and has a shooting percentage of 40 percent form behind the arc, is one of three 6-5 starters for the Quakers.

Classmates Danny Conlan (16.0 ppg) and Christian Johnston (5.5 ppg) are the other big men, with the latter doing most of the work inside.

“No. 22 (Stowers) does it all,” Glunt said. “He’s an elite player. We have to contain him, and we cannot leave No. 12 (Conlan) open, because he’s an excellent shooter, too.”

Junior K.C. Johns (4.0 ppg) and freshman Adou Thiero (8.0 ppg) are the guards. The latter leads the team in assists with 3.7 per game.

Jonathan Weir, a 6-5 junior, is the top rebounder, averaging 6.7.

Seniors Jackson Zernich, Kyle Wolf and Quinn Hill, all listed at 6-1, provide depth in the backcourt.

“Their guards are really quick, and they’re looking to get the ball to 22 and 15, but they can make plays as well,” Glunt said.

He noted the Quakers will utilize zone presses before falling back into primarily 2-3 or 1-2-2 zones on defense.

The District 9 champion Bison (13-10) go into the 7:30 p.m. tip-off confident that they did give Huntingdon one of its toughest games of the season in a 53-43 loss in their Mountain League opener Dec. 14.

Only three other teams, including District 3 champion Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt and ML rival Central (twice), lost to the Bearcats by single digits.

The Bison starters will be seniors Taye Lynch (6.0 ppg) and Keagan Hess (5.3 ppg), juniors Cade Walker (17.7 ppg) and Andrew Lopez (7.3 ppg) and sophomore Karson Rumsky (15.7 ppg).

Junior Harrison Peacock and sophomore Matt Pallo usually are the first two players off the bench, with senior Barrett Kline and sophomore Luke Winters also counted on for important minutes.

Taking care of the ball on offense and boxing out on defense will be crucial for the Bison to pull out a win.

“We have to take good shots,” Glunt said. “If we take a bad shot and they get into transition, it will be really hard to stop them. And we can’t give them extra chances to score.”

Clearfield fans planning to make the trip to Punxsutawney Area High School should be aware that a Class A girls game between Brookville and Central Cambria is on tap at 6 p.m.

Bison Scoreboard:

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
12/27 vs. Ligonier Valley 78 – 80 4 – 3
12/28 vs. Harmony 83 – 56 5 – 3
01/04 @ Brookville 48 – 53 5 – 4
01/07 PUNXSUTAWNEY 56 – 50 6 – 4
01/09 @ Penns Valley 47 – 59 6 – 5
01/11 CENTRAL 44 – 53 6 – 6
01/15 @ Bellefonte 56 – 78 6 – 7
01/18 @ Bald Eagle Area 57 – 55 7 – 7
01/21 @ DuBois 51 – 49 8 – 7
01/23 @ Huntingdon 48 – 87 8 – 8
01/25 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA 59 – 50 9 – 8
01/29 @ Tyrone 34 – 52 9 – 9
02/01 PENNS VALLEY 56 – 38 10 – 9
02/06 @ Central 34 – 44 10 – 10
02/08 BELLEFONTE 58 – 50 11 – 10
02/13 @ Curwensville ppd. 11 – 10
02/18 @ Curwensville 61 – 50 12 – 10
02/27 District 9 AAAA Final @ DuBois
02/27 vs. Bradford 63 – 61 13 – 10
03/08 PIAA Playoffs @ Punxsutawney
03/08 Quaker Valley

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