HYDE — The moment that Nate Glunt took over as the leader of the Clearfield Bison baskeball program five years ago, everything changed. After many seasons of being a decent team, but not a contender every game, the Bison cagers have gone on to win two Mountain League championships, and have claimed the last five District 9 championships. Each year, they have gone onto the post-season, and have been above the .500 mark since 2015.
More than that, Glunt and his entire coaching staff have made the basketball program in a sense similar to what Tim Janocko has done with the football program in that it’s a program kids want to be a part of.
The 2019-2020 squad for the Bison is no different, but there is no question the players that are coming in for this year are poised to continue that run of success. The biggest dilemma for Glunt and his assistants is not the game plan for each contest, but currently is trying to figure out who will make the roster. The Bison have nearly 30 players for the upcoming year, and with less than a week until the season-opening tip, the official varsity roster has not been set.
What is set, however, is a six-pack of returning letter winners that are leading the charge.
At the top of the heap, the leading scorer from a season ago, Cade Walker. One year ago, the then-junior was putting up over 18 points per game, and led the team on the boards as well, including several double-doubles. Walker then has Andrew Lopez and Karson Rumsky, each a letter winner from last season, coming back to assist in scoring. Rumsky was second on the team in the 2018-2019 season with 15.5 points per game, while Lopez chipped in another eight. This trio lead the way in scoring, with their supporting cast feeding them when needed.
All the while, these three have shown they are not selfish when on the court, as they all chipped in when they couldn’t score and got the ball to the open man who could. Look for all three to be adding assists, rebounds, and blocks as the yar progresses.
A total of five seniors are on this year’s team, as Walker and Lopez are joined by senior letter winner Harrison Peacock. juniors Matt Pallo, Luke Winters and Nick Ryan are also coming back are ready to put in valuable minutes from the bench.
For Glunt, his leading six are pretty set with Walker, Rumsky, Lopez, Pallo, Lopez and Winters. After that, things get a bit murky as to who else will be getting playing time.
With over 20 kids coming in, nearly half of them sophomores, Glunt is trying to find a balance between speed, power, and continuity.
Senior Kandyn Hudson, junior Nick Ryan, sophomore Ryan Gearhart, and freshman Cole Miller are just some of the players trying to make their way onto the main roster and give the Bison a chance to make another playoff run come next February. Trying to figure out the pieces to this puzzle has remained a challenge for the Clearfield coaches, and that puzzle may not be finished till the day before the start of the season.
The one thing that Glunt’s teams have always been over his tenure as coach is consistent, not just in the play on the court, but being able to have many players come in and make it seem as though the starting five are still in the game. The win-loss ratio for the Bison since Glunt took over is 3-to-1, and it’s because the players he’s had each year know their role. Figuring out those roles for this year, with such a vast array of talent and skills, will be the biggest challenge for Glunt.
That may be the biggest challenge, but as Glunt has said after every game, the goals for his team have always been the same. It’s not to win championships, or win the Mountain League, although those are goals he and his players want to achieve.
For him, the goal has consistently been for his team, and in a sense both he and his assistants, to be better than they were the day prior. If Clearfield does that once again, that win-loss ratio will continue to go up.
Clearfield’s season begins on Friday, December 6, when they travel to Curwensville to face the Golden Tide. The first home contest for Clearfield will not be until December 18 against the Mounties of P-O.
Clearfield Bison Basketball Roster
Names in BOLD are returning letterwinners.
SENIORS: Kandyn Hudson, Jeremy O’Dell, Andrew Lopez, Harrison Peacock, Cade Walker
JUNIORS: Ryan Geppert, Jake Lezzer, Matt Pallo, Curvey Purkett, Karson Rumsky, Nick Ryan, Luke Winters
SOPHOMORES: Nick Collins, Justin Crutchfield, Eric Fletcher, Justin Fletcher, Ryan Gearhart, CJ Gregory, Adam Miller, Nate Natoli, Max Paul-Cook, Nasheed Thompson, Ty Troxell, Isakk Way, Caleb Wilt.
FRESHMAN: Morgen Billotte, Andon Greslick, Cole Miller
2019-2020 Clearfield Bison Basketball Schedule
Junior Varsity at 6 p.m. with Varsity to follow, unless otherwise noted.
6: at Curwensville; 10: at Bald Eagle Area; 13; at Huntingdon, 7 p.m.; 16: at Punxsutawney; 18: PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA; 20: at Tyrone; 27: at Purchase Line Christmas Tournament, 7:30 p.m.; 28: at Purchase Line Christmas Tournament, TBA.
3: OTTO-ELDRED; 10: at Central; 15: BELLEFONTE; 17: BALD EAGLE AREA; 20: DUBOIS; 21: HUNTINGDON, 7 p.m. 24: at Philipsburg-Osceola; 29: TYRONE; 31: at Penns Valley
3: at West Branch; 4: at Central; 7: at Bellefonte; 13: CURWENSVILLE