HYDE — An early season rivalry game in the Mountain League brought in a strong crowd to the Bison Gym on Wednesday night. The Lady Bison were ready to ride some major momentum after Monday’s massive victory over Brookville, but knew the opposition was one of the toughest teams they have faced for the last three seasons. The Lady Mounties of Philipsburg-Osceola came in ready to take away some of the home-court advantage. The focus on this night was on the star senior of P-O, senior Halle Herrington, who earned the all-time scoring record for the Lady Mounties one season ago. However, at the end of the night, even with her usual output, another senior was the one that took center court.
Alayna Ryan led the charge for the Lady Bison, accounting for both a career-high and Lady Bison-record 37 points in a 59-50 victory that even head coach Joey Castagnolo could not believe.
But, before even speaking about his senior’s efforts, he made it clear the difference in the game was the play of Faith Ogden, who was given the task of guarding Herrington for almost all 32 minutes.
“When she (Ogden) transferred into Clearfield, I knew she was quick. From day one, I said ‘You got Herrington.’ She was like ‘Who’s that?’ She had no idea, and as the year went on, she understood,” Castagnolo said. “But she played really well with four fouls on her, and she frustrated her. That doesn’t usually happen.”
Herrington accounted for the game’s first two points, coming mere seconds after the opening tip. But after that moment, it seemed no matter what she tried, nothing was working to get points on the board. By halftime, Herrington only scored nine points, and was only 3-for-15 from the floor. But when she wasn’t scoring, she instead was making passes to her teammates to keep the game interesting. After one quarter, Clearfield only held an 11-8 advantage, and that lead stayed through a majority of the second quarter, despite both teams accounting for 13 points a piece in the second eight minutes.
Coming out of halftime, however, is when it went from being a battle between two teams, and being a battle between two great athletes. Fans on either side of the court got to witness a battle between Herrington and Ryan, one that if it was a boxing match, the third round would be one everyone was into.
Herrington came out with a fire, draining her first four shots, giving P-O an early advantage. But just as quick, Ryan answered with three of her own, plus two free throws. Her final shot of those three was from the right wing, right in front of Herrington. Herrington came right back with her own three-point shot, but it fell short, and Ryan took advantage on the following possession.
Driving down the court, with the Mountie defense playing close, she drew back and hit her second straight basket from beyond range.
“Alayna’s back-to-back three’s broke their back. She’s not known for her three-point shooting, so they were relaxed and backed off her,” Castagnolo said of those shots. Those baskets, plus another three from inside the paint, completed an intense 19-point quarter for the senior.
“It was cool to watch. We had a big win on Monday, and I didn’t even worry of a letdown because of Herrington. Alayna just couldn’t wait to play her. How often does someone outscore Herrington?” Castagnolo said. “I told the girls at halftime, ‘We’re only up three. She can go on a run and carry that team
.“I thought we were a little tense at the beginning because it was a big game. But I think after halftime, we settled down and played our style, running the court. When they went up a couple baskets, we didn’t panic, and we answered right back.”
In the fourth quarter, Ryan found a lot of momentum, but not from the outside shots. P-O got in foul trouble guarding on defense, along with some transition mistakes, that put her at the foul line a total of 10 times. Of those opportunities, she only missed two. Ryan’s 37 points were matched with 11 rebounds, her first double-double on the season, with six assists and four steals.
Castagnolo also credited Tesa Miller with her work in the paint. Despite only four points, she led the team with 15 boards, and four assists.
“She’s (Miller) starting to understand I take her out to rest her, not because I’m mad at her,” he said. “I thought the rest helped her, and she got some nice rebounds.”
Clearfield opened the night with a decisive 34-9 victory in the junior varsity game.
For P-O, Herrington ended the night with 27 points, but it was an off-night for the normally accurate senior, going 11-for-29 from the floor, including 2-for-14 from beyond the arc. Cassidy Hughes led the team with 10 rebounds, but it was the Lady Bison who won the boards, 44-30, at game’s end.
In the end, Castagnolo still could not get over the effort of both Herrington and Ryan, especially his own senior. He would say he’s never had any player in his coaching career go over 30 points until Wednesday night. Ryan’s game was the best outing by any Lady Bison player, setting a career-high in points, along with points in a single quarter. But, he was quick to say that this game was about two players on opposite sides doing what they do best: compete.
“(Those) two girls are just excellent basketball players,” he said.
Clearfield (3-3) closes out the week prior to Christmas break with a road trip on Friday night to face the Golden Eagles of Tyrone. Jayvee tips off at 6 p.m. with varsity to follow.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Philipsburg-Osceola 8 13 20 9 – 50
Clearfield 11 13 21 14 – 59
Philipsburg-Osceola – 50
Herrington 11 3-6 27, C. Hughes 2 0-0 4, James 0 0-0 0, Kennedy 3 0-0 6, Bainey 3 0-0 9, S. Hughes 1 0-0 2, Bordas 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 21 3-6 50.
Clearfield – 59
Durandetta 2 1-3 7, Ogden 3 1-2 7, Hipps 1 2-2 4, Ryan 12 10-12 37, Van Tassel 0 0-0 0, Rowles 0 0-0 0, Alt 0 0-0 0, Rhine 0 0-0 0, Bender 0 0-0 0, Miller 2 0-1 4. TOTALS 20 14-20 59.
Three-Point Shots: Herrington (2), Bainey (3)/Durandetta (2), Ryan (3)
Lady Bison Scoreboard:
Date Opponent Score Record
12/07 & 08 @ Brookville Tip-off Tourney
12/07 vs. Brookville 30 – 54 0 – 1
12/08 vs. Clarion-Limestone 58 – 30 1 – 1
12/11 @ Bald Eagle Area 27 – 31 1 – 2
12/14 @ Huntingdon 42 – 72 1 – 3
12/17 BROOKVILLE 57 – 53 2 – 3
12/19 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA 59 – 50 3 – 3
12/21 @ Tyrone
01/04 @ Punxsutawney
01/08 PENNS VALLEY
01/11 @ Central
01/18 BALD EAGLE AREA
01/23 ST. MARYS
01/25 @ Philipsburg-Osceola
02/01 @ Penns Valley
02/08 @ Bellefonte
02/12 @ Curwensville