PHILIPSBURG — The Clearfield Lady Bisons had one week to savor their first victory of the season, which came last Tuesday against Curwensville. With school back in session, head coach Joey Castagnolo was looking to see if his team could win two in a row. It would have to be done on the road as Clearfield traveled to Philipsburg to take on the Lady Mounties.
The game went back and forth for the entire 32 minutes of play, but in the end it was the turnover margin that was the difference.
Clearfield committed 14 turnovers, five of which came in the final quarter, to cost them the game by a score of 53-45.
“That was the key tonight. We didn’t take care of the ball,” Castagnolo said after coming from the locker room. “We didn’t take care of the ball, but we also didn’t capitalize on the turnovers they [P-O] committed.
“No question, it was the big difference. We just hurried too much and never settled down.”
Hurrying wasn’t what Clearfield did to start the game, but in fact it was P-O who hurried out to a quick lead as they scored the first nine points of the contest. At one point, the Lady Bisons were staring at an 11-2 deficit, but they quickly turned that into a 4-point difference at the end of one quarter, and held a one-point advantage heading into halftime.
“I’m very happy how we bounced back when we fell behind early. We didn’t do that a lot at the beginning of the season, but tonight we did,” Castagnolo said.
Dakota Farmery led Clearfield in scoring, as she ended the night with a double-double, scoring 12 points and a team-high 14 rebounds. Brianna Peters wasn’t far behind as she scored 10 points and accounted for nine rebounds. Both Lisa Ambuski and Rachel Thompson added five rebounds a piece, with Ambuski having a team-high seven assists.
For P-O, the stars of the night were Lauren Simcox and Chelsea Rex. Simcox led all scoring with 15 points, including three huge three-point shots in the third quarter, while Rex added 14 points, nine of which came in the first quarter. Rex and MacKenzie Wilson tied in rebounds with five a piece, while Brianna Rusnak had a team-high five assists.
But, it was the turnover margin that cost Clearfield, as P-O only had 11 giveaways the entire game, four coming in the second half. They also controlled the ball on offense and defense, forcing Clearfield to only shoot eight free-throws the entire game.
In junior varsity action, Clearfield did pick up the win over P-O in another close contest by a final of 43-36.
Now sitting at 1-5, Castagnolo was very poignant at what his team would do leading into the next game.
“We are going to have to pick up the intensity at practice and learn to not make as many mistakes. That’s really what’s hurting us, turnovers and mistakes. We need to improve on that,” Castagnolo said.
There will not me much time to recuperate as Clearfield returns home for two consecutive games beginning on Thursday night as the Lady Bisons host Central Mountain. Tip-off for the junior varsity game is at 6 p.m. with the varsity game to follow.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
CLEARFIELD 10 14 11 10 45
P-O 14 9 15 15 53
Ryan 0 0-0 0, Butler 3 0-0 7, Renaud 0 0-0 0, Ambuski 4 0-0 9, Thompson 2 0-0 5, Marsh 1 0-0 2, Peters 3 4-6 10, Sheeder 0 0-0 0, Farmery 5 2-2 12. Totals 18 6-8 45
Witters 3 2-3 11, E. Meersand 0 1-4 1, Wilson 1 2-2 4, Knepp 0 2-2 2, Rex, 4 6-8 14, Burns 0 0-0 0, Myers 0 0-0 0, Bowman 0 0-0 0, K. Meersand 0 0-0 0, Simcox 5 2-4 15, Brown 0 0-0 0, Rusnak 1 4-4 6. Totals 15 19-27 53
Team Rebounds: CF-38 PO-20
Field Goals Made/Attempted: CF-15/44 PO-9/28
Three-Point Field Goals Made/Attempted: CF-3/10 PO-6/21
Turnovers: CF-14 PO-11
Three-Point Shots: CF-Butler, Ambuski, Thompson; PO-Witters (3), Simcox (3)