PATTON-Having to wait an extra day because of the weather meant the Clearfield Bison had an extra day in preparation for something new. Each season, minus last year, they are involved in a holiday tournament, but this year it meant new challenges as they made their way to Patton to be a part of the Cambria Heights Holiday Tournament. To start the competition, they looked across the floor at the Williamsburg Blue Pirates, a one-loss team that is strong and tough.
Fans that made the trip were treated to an instant and absolute classic. A game that went back and forth for 32 minutes was enough to cause anxiety and nervousness. It went to the wire that another four minutes were needed to find a winner. At the end of all the action, the Blue Pirates pushed past the Bison, handing them a 78-76 loss that would go down as the first blemish on the season.
The first quarter alone set the entire tone for the afternoon, as the two squads would put up 43 points, with Clearfield barely holding a one-point advantage. Led by a quartette of three’s from Cole Miller, that momentum would continue into the second quarter.
Although not as high-scoring, Clearfield would still win the stanza, taking a 33-31 lead into halftime.
But, Williamsburg was not going away as they would work hard in the third quarter, with RJ Royer and Lambert Palmer combining for 15 of the team’s 20 points in the quarter. That was enough to have Williamsburg take the lead, 51-48, into the final quarter.
That final quarter would be a battle between Palmer and Miller, as each would lock horns in the scoring department. Palmer, though, was shut out in field goals in the final eight minutes of regulation. However, he would go to the free throw line 10 times in the frame, accounting for eight points. Palmer finished the night with a team-high 31 points. Royer would finish the night with 23 points, but was held to a single three-pointer in the fourth.
On the opposite end, Miller was continuing a run unlike any he had seen in his entire career playing for Clearfield.
He would finish with 14 buckets from the floor, including an astonishing 11 from deep range, to put up a career-high 46 points, along with six rebounds and four assists. Miller would finish the final quarter 6-for-6 at the line, plus a pair of trey’s, to keep the game close. Ryan Gearhart would come up big in the final quarter, putting up a pair of three’s as part of his 18-point effort. But, the Blue Pirates held a late lead as Clearfield would tie it up, and despite a final rush, Clearfield won the quarter, 19-16.
The final gasp for the Blue Pirates was not enough, as the teams were locked up, 67-67, and meant extra basketball was on tap.
In that final quarter, both Gearhart and Miller would be the ones the Bison relied on to go for the win.
But, it was Williamsburg that had the early output. Royer added in a pair of key buckets, finishing with 23 points on the night. Palmer would drain a massive three-pointer, along with two free throws on a pair of one-plus opportunities.
Gearhart and Miller accounted for the nine points Clearfield put up in the quarter. Royer and Palmer also combined for nine points, but the difference was a single bucket from Rowan Gorsuch, giving a 11-9 advantage for the Blue Pirates in the extra period. Clearfield tried late to get a final bucket to either tie or stun the opposition, but as the final horn sounded, the scoreboard showed Clearfield was on the wrong side of the final tally.
Clearfield (6-1) will compete in the consolation game against the Glendale Vikings on Wednesday.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Clearfield 22 11 15 19 9 – 76
Williamburg 21 10 20 16 11 – 78
Clearfield – 76
Ryan Gearhart 7 1-2 18, Cole Miller 14 7-8 46. Isakk Way 0 1-2 1, Andon Greslick 1 2-2 5, Luke Pallo 1 0-0 2, Nate Natoli 0 0-0 0, Nick Collins 2 0-0 4. TOTALS 25 11-14 76.
Williamsburg – 78
Lambert Palmer 8 13-17 31, Dylan Shawver 0 0-0 0, Logan Branter 1 0-0 3, Devin Lynch 0 0-0 0, Rowan Gorsuch 5 3-4 14, RJ Royer 9 0-0 23, Dezmond Woodruff 3 1-1 7. TOTALS 26 17-22 78.