HYDE — There has been no rest for the weary when it comes to the Clearfield Bison round-ballers. The 2021 season began seven days ago, and in that time head coach Nate Glunt, his staff, and his players have not seen much practice time, but have seen a lot of game time. Heading into Tuesday night, the Bison were preparing to play their sixth game in a seven-day span. This time, the opposition was one they faced, and defeated, three days earlier on Saturday afternoon, the Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties.
The two teams went hard from the opening tip, and seemed to go full throttle for 32 minutes. P-O had one moment to pause and breathe for longer than a timeout, as Ryan Whitehead became the fifth player in Mounties’ history to score 1000 points, but that moment came late in the game with Clearfield in control, as the Bison held on for a 70-58 triumph, earning its fifth win, in six games, within a seven-day span.
When Glunt learned of the numbers, all he could do was laugh, but also recognize what his team is doing against unbelievable odds.
“That’s certainly a great way to think about it. I never even considered that,” he said with a chuckle. “A huge credit to our kids; they just compete, and are mentally tough. It doesn’t matter who they’re playing, or what the score is, they just play really hard…our kids responded well to a situation they weren’t prepared for. We just focus on what we do, show up and play.”
The first quarter ultimately was the one that made the biggest difference, as from the opening tip it only took five seconds for the Mounties to put points on the board thanks to a put-back bucket by Jeremy Whitehead. But, Clearfield answered right back to tie the game. Those initial seconds would be the only time P-O had a lead, as Clearfield raced out to a 6-0 run to force the Mountie bench to call a time out. At the end of one, Clearfield held a stout 19-8 gap.
However, P-O began reeling the Bison back in over the next stanza, putting up 21 points as Ryan Whitehead began getting hot from behind the arc, going 3-for-3 from deep range, and putting up 11 points in the quarter. The tall senior would lead all the scorers on the night with 24 points, going 10-for-11 from the floor. But no basket was more important than late in the fourth quarter when he eclipsed the millennium mark for his career.
Glunt himself has seen Whitehead over the last few years, and made sure that he and his team gave the respect that he deserved.
“We have some really good kids with such high character. They were respectful of him getting that moment,” Glunt said. “Last year, Bellefonte did a great job and showed great respect to Cade (Walker), so anytime you have a moment like that, it’s a milestone.
“For him to get it, he should be acknowledged. You get 1000 points, it’s tough. He made a lot of contested shots, and that got them in a rhythm.”
The Bison had to adjust their defense compared to the first game against P-O according to Glunt, and that settled them down and also showed that they don’t just have one or two top guys, but rather an entire group that can perform at the top of their game.
“They went to a triangle and two (offense) this game, and that was the difference. They play really well offensively, and are a talented team, with energy and enthusiasm. When they went to the triangle and two, and we adjusted,” he said. “We don’t have two (standout) players; we have a team.
“It’s a team game, and I thought Karson and Cole were patient, and let the game come to them in the fourth quarter.”
Heading into halftime Clearfield held a 40-30 advantage, but in the third quarter the fast and physical play began to bring P-O back into the mix. Clearfield had to slow the game down in some fashion, but also needed to get some momentum and excitement back into their game. They were able to do that with one big play as time was winding down on the clock, as the dribble-drive offense for Clearfield saw Luke Winters penetrate into the paint, but rather than go for the basket, he saw an opening to get the ball to Karson Rumsky on the base line, and the shot went up. The three-point launch hit the basket, pushing the game back to a 10-point gap, but giving a jolt to the Bison sideline that saw Glunt fired up and the team roaring.
“That pass to Karson to end the third quarter, that four-point swing, was a huge momentum swing, and gave us a shot of energy heading into the fourth quarter. That was an unbelievable pass by Luke,” Glunt said.
Rumsky finished the night with 15 points, with another six rebounds. Winters added in another 12, while leading the team in assists with eight. Matt Pallo and Cole Miller each made it into double figures, with Pallo adding 12 and Miller leading the team with 19 points.
Clearfield opened the night with a 35-24 victory in the junior varsity contest.
Sitting at 5-1, the Bison are back on the court Wednesday night as they will host Westmont Hilltop. Clearfield defeated the Hilltoppers last Friday, 67-57, in Johnstown. Tip-off for varsity action is approximately 7:30 p.m.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Philipsburg-Osceola 8 21 12 16 – 58
Clearfield 19 21 12 18 – 70
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA – 58
Oliver Harpster 2 0-0 4, Jacob DeSimone 4 0-0 8, Trysten Doyle 3 1-2 7, Jeremy Whitehead 4 0-1 8, Ryan Whitehead 10 0-0 24, Aaron Depto 2 1-2 5, Kyle Hahn 1 0-0 2, Colby Hahn 0 0-0 0, Preston Putillion 0 0-0 0, Brandon Hahn 0 0-0 0, Logan Phillippi 0 0-0 0, Nick Johnson 0 0-0 0, Dustin Snyder 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 26 2-5 58.
CLEARFIELD – 70
Matt Pallo 5 0-0 12, Nick Ryan 2 1-2 5, Luke Winters 4 3-3 12, Karson Rumsky 5 2-2 15, Cole Miller 7 0-0 19, Ryan Gearhart 1 2-2 5, Jake Lezzer 0 0-0 0, Morgan Billotte 0 0-0 0, Isaakk Way 0 0-0 0, Andon Greslick 0 0-0 0, Nasheed Thompson 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 25 8-9 70.
Three-Point Shooting: Ryan Whitehead (4)/Pallo (2), Winters, Rumsky (3), Miller (5), Gearhart.