Quaker Valley Needs Big Second Half To Turn Back Bison

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Sometimes a score can be quite deceiving, and that was the case with Quaker Valley’s 66-51 win over Clearfield in a PIAA Class AAAA boys basketball first-round game on the Punxsutawney Area High School hardwood Friday night.

The inspired performance by the underdog Bison was not reflected in the 14-point loss to the District 7 (WPIAL) runners-up.

Quite likely, only the Bison coaches and players were not shocked at halftime with the scoreboard lights showing the District 9 champions ahead 29-28.

Even after a rocky start to the third quarter, the Bison were still in the game at the buzzer, trailing 43-35 before the Quakers exploded for a 59-41 lead with 3:39 remaining.

Ryan Stowers lived up to his advanced billing as one of the top cagers in the WPIAL by pouring in 33 points, a dozen coming on high-arcing soft jumpers from long range, and Danny Conlan was a perfect complement with most of his 22 markers resulting from drives and layups.

The 6-5 seniors were starters last March on the Quakers’ run to the state semifinals for the second year in a row.

For the Bison, junior Cade Walker was brilliant on offense as he constantly challenged Stowers, Conlan and Quaker Valley’s two other big men, Christian Johnston and Jonathan Weir, on the inside to rack up 26 points with short bank shots from every conceivable angle.

“That’s what Cade’s capable of, and he’s done it all season,” Clearfield coach Nate Glunt said. “Playing against one of the top teams in the state, he showed he could compete with anybody.”

Especially in the first 16 minutes, Walker was the go-to Bison, backing down his defender(s) and spinning for tough scoop shots or glancing jumpers off the boards on his way to 18 points as the Red and Black went right at the surprised Quakers.

Karson Rumsky, who finished with 10 points, and Keagan Hess contributed pairs of field goals by attacking the basket.

Glunt acknowledged the Bison had to make tough shots to hang with the Quakers.

“We did, through contact,” he said. “They’re from the WPIAL. They’re a physical team. They’re just not gonna let you get inside, but we were able to finish.”

With Stowers scoring eight points, Quaker Valley (21-4) stayed in front most of the quarter.

Rumsky gave Clearfield its second lead, 14-12, at the outset of the second period with a fallaway, underhanded flip shot while drawing a foul and then tacked on the free throw.

Quaker Valley evened the score at 16 and 21 with Conlan netting seven points and regained the upper hand on Johnston’s putback-and-one midway through the quarter.

Clearfield answered with an 8-2 run as Walker put in three baskets, with Rumsky assisting on two, one a wrap-around bounce pass past two Quakers.

Another putback by Johnston made it a one-point thriller at intermission.

Glunt said he wasn’t surprised at that point.

“I was happy with how we played,” he said. “We talked about getting shots that we wanted to shoot inside the volleyball line, three feet from the basket. We were able to do that. And we played pretty good defense. We didn’t give up easy layups. We just executed what we wanted to do.

“Our kids weren’t intimidated. They were ready to play. They did a great job.”

The complexion of the game changed in third quarter, though, when Stowers scored all 15 points as the Quakers opened a 43-32 spread in the first 5:14.

“22 (Stowers) hit three NBA threes off the dribble with a guy in his face,” Glunt said. “You’ve gotta give him credit. He shot the shots we wanted him to, and he made ‘em. We were contesting, and he’s making tough shots.”

Walker, playing with four fouls, cut the deficit under 10 points for the last time at 45-37 one minute into the fourth period, and the Bison had a chance to put more pressure on the Quakers but missed two free throws.

Then, Quaker Valley went on a 14-4 run to seal it with Stowers and Conlan accounting for six points apiece.

The Quakers overcame 22 turnovers by shooting 53 percent from the field, canning 10 of 13 free throws and utilizing their height advantage for a 42-23 advantage under the glass.

Clearfield (13-11) had just nine turnovers but shot a sub-par 35.7 percent with 20 field goals.

“When it comes down to execution, we took really good shots and our defensive game plan was pretty solid,” Glunt said. “Great team effort by all the kids. We played well. Gave ourselves a chance to show that we’re one of the better teams in the state, because they (Quaker Valley) are really good.”

Glunt paid tribute to his senior trio of Hess, Taye Lynch and Barrett Kline, saying “Our goals were met at the end of the season, winning the district championship and having a winning season. Our seniors led the way in getting that done. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Quaker Valley moves on to play District 3 champ Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt (23-3) in Tuesday’s second round.

QUAKER VALLEY — 66

K.C. Johns 0 0-0 0, Danny Conlan 10 0-0 22, Ryan Stowers 12 5-7 33, Adou Thiero 0 2-2 2, Christian Johnston 2 1-1 5, Jonathan Weir 0 0-0 0, Jackson Zernich 0 2-3 2, Quinn Hill 0 0-0 0, Jack Gardiner 1 0-0 2.  TOTALS:  25  10-13  66.

CLEARFIELD — 51

Taye Lynch 1 2-2 4, Cade Walker 11 3-6 26, Karson Rumsky 3 3-6 10, Keagan Hess 3 1-3 7, Andrew Lopez 1 0-0 2, Matt Pallo 1 0-0 2, Luke Winters 0 0-0 0, Barrett Kline 0 0-0 0, Simon Quigley 0 0-0 0.  TOTALS:  20  9-17  51.

Three-Point Field Goals – Quaker Valley 6 (Conlan 2, Stowers 4); Clearfield 2 (Walker 1, Rumsky 1).

Score by Quarters

Quaker Valley     12  16  15  23  –  66

Clearfield            11  18    6  16  –  51

Officials – Chris Garritano, Doug Steve and Tony Sottile.

Final 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 51 – 66 13 – 11

GANT ICYMI: Week of March 4
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