HYDE — Something about being on their home court brings out the best in the Clearfield Bison. Despite having two losses on the season, those losses came away from the Bison Gymnasium, a court that Clearfield remains unblemished at this season. A frigid night outside gave the perfect setting to warm things up on the hardwood with the Huntingdon Bearcats in town for some competition.
After having an unexpected week off due to last Thursday’s game being postponed for weather, the week of practice gave a chance for Clearfield to clean up their play, and work on corrections. It all paid off as from opening tip to final buzzer, Clearfield held the lead to achieve a 78-51 triumph to hit the midway point of the season.
“Our players have been really battling at practice, competing hard against each other, and making one another better,” head coach Nate Glunt said of the extra practice time. “They are really playing hard, making shots, playing unselfish. It was fun to watch.”
The opening quarter alone saw Clearfield push the ball down the court, taking advantage of opportunities, and getting strong looks at the basket, both on the perimeter and in the paint. Through eight minutes, Clearfield put up 22 points, while holding Huntingdon to just 12. Things began to even out in the second frame as Huntingdon opened the quarter on a 6-2 run to pull within two possessions. But turnovers, and untimely fouls gave Clearfield extra opportunities.
Clearfield took a 41-27 advantage into the halftime break, but came out still slightly flat, getting off good shots, but not playing effective basketball.
Glunt opted to call a quick time out, gave his team a breather, and rather than come out and push too hard, it was a back-to-basics approach to get the ball moved around, and work to find the right shot.
“Huntingdon likes to run, just like us. The game was up and down, so I wanted to give our guys a bit of a rest, and get back to fundamentals,” he said. “Once we started playing solid defense, our offense gets easier, and we can do a lot in transition.”
Clearfield won the quarter 28-13, pushing the game to the brink of a running clock heading into the final stanza.
Three of the Bison starters would hit double figures, as Cole Miller’s game-high 30 points came through a solid 24 minutes of operation, while both Ryan Gearhart and Isakk Way added in another 17 each. Way would pick up a pair of steals and three assists, while Miller led on the boards with nine.
Gearhart ended up being the one to put the Bison past the 30-point mark early in the fourth quarter, thanks to a plus-one opportunity to put Clearfield up 72-40 at that point, which gave Clearfield an opportunity to substitute in some of the younger players courtesy of the running clock. The Bearcats kept their starters in for a short time, but it was too short of time to make much of a difference.
Huntingdon was paced by Alec Cooper with 20 points, while Josh Bryson added in another 17.
Clearfield also took the win in the opening junior varsity game, a 49-41 contest that went down to the wire, with Clearfield making some late foul shots to open the gap late.
With the win, the Bison finish the first half of the season at 8-2, but no rest for the weary as the next game is on the road Thursday as Clearfield continues Mountain League play against the Penns Valley Rams. Tip for the junior varsity is at 6 p.m. with varsity to follow.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Huntingdon 12 15 13 11 – 51
Clearfield 22 19 28 9 – 78
Huntingdon – 51
Alec Cooper 9 2-4 20, Cam Wiser 0 0-0 0, Ryan Sullivan 0 0-0 0, Josh Bryson 7 2-3 17, Jake Rigby 1 0-0 3, CJ Moore 0 0-0 0, Josh Hollibaugh 0 0-0 0, Eli Ehresman 2 0-0 5, Jacob Schnider 1 0-0 2, Jake Foster 1 0-0 2, Jakobie Norris 0 0-0 0, Drew Wilson 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 21 4-7 51.
Clearfield – 78
Ryan Gearhart 8 1-1 17, Cole Miller 11 4-4 30, Isakk Way 7 0-0 17, Andon Greslick 0 0-0 0, Luke Pallo 1 2-2 4, Nick Collins 2 0-0 4, Caleb Wilt 0 0-0 0, Kam Kashner 1 0-0 2, Kai Lynch 1 0-0 2, Justin Fletcher 0 0-0 0, Braylen Way 0 0-0 0, Adam Miller 0 0-0 0, Cole Bloom 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 32 7-7 78.
Three-Point Shots: Bryson, Rigby, Ehresman/C. Miller-4, I. Way-3