HYDE — The latter part of January has not been kind to the Lady Bison of Clearfield. A lot of road trips, and struggles on the court, have made it a tough go for the squad. But, the final couple weeks of the season does have one thing that the start of the year didn’t; games inside the Bison Gymnasium. Of the remaining seven games on the schedule, six are held at home, and that home stint began with the Lady Raiders from Bellefonte coming in for a Mountain League showdown.
The home floor did Clearfield wonders, as the Lady Bison jumped out to an early lead seconds into the contest, cruising to a dominating 48-24 victory that was not as close as the final tally showed.
“We’ve had so many games where we’ve missed those first few layups to start the game. Tonight, we were able to get those layups, plus some jump shots, and that really got our confidence going,” Clearfield head coach Missy Helsel said afterwards. “We knew we had to come out, play defense and rebound. Bellefonte is still a good team, but it absolutely helped our confidence to get out to that early run.”
That early run started mere seconds into the game as Clearfield won the opening tip, and quickly saw Cayleigh Walker put up the layup to take the lead. The Bison went on an 8-0 run to start the game before Bellefonte ever got on the scoreboard.
Thanks to Walker, Emma Hipps and key shots from Hannah Glunt, the Lady Bison were up 21-4 after the first eight minutes, never looking back.
Clearfield’s second quarter was just as impressive, as defensively they went after the rebounds on both ends of the court, and taking advantage of turnovers. At one point, Clearfield almost had the Mercy Rule ready to be enforced, but a late bucket by the Lady Raiders put that off for a little while. Heading into the locker room, Clearfield’s 36-8 lead was almost ensuring a fast second half of action.
Bellefonte themselves could not get anything going on the floor, as unforced errors cost them possessions, but from the floor the shooting percentage was not there. For the game, the Lady Raiders only went 10-for-41.
Clearfield put the running clock officially into effect early in the third quarter as Glunt drained her second pair of free throws to make it 38-8.
Helsel was pleased with the effort of her squad as four of the five starters would get points, with Hipps leading all scoring with 18 points, plus seven rebounds and four steals. Walker added in another 11 points on the night, while also chipping in six assists.
“I feel defense creates a lot of that for us, at times. When they are on fire on the defensive end, they can come down and make some shots,” Helsel said. “It was a fun game to watch. We had a lot of good passes, some we’ve not had all season. When we look at that, as coaches, we know they are getting better.”
The second half wasn’t without frustration from Bellefonte, as the coaches felt some of the play was sloppy and wanted a foul called. Unfortunately, part of that came from being critical on the officials, drawing a warning in the third quarter. That said, Bellefonte did have a better final quarter than they had all game, outscoring the Lady Bison, 13-5, in the final frame. Maria Cotter was the leader for the visitors, finishing with 11 points, nine of them coming in the final stanza.
Clearfield also won the opening junior varsity contest, 36-13.
Helsel felt that the final couple weeks of the season could be a success for her squad, especially since only one game is on the road, something that could be of benefit for Clearfield in February.
“We have a lot of games left that we could win this year, and it’s nice to have so many on our home court,” she said. “Five of our last six are in the Bison Gym, and it will be nice to have a crowd in our favor.”
Clearfield (6-10) is back in action on Tuesday when they host the Lady Cardinals of DuBois Central Catholic. Jayvee tips at 6 p.m. with varsity to follow.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Bellefonte 4 4 3 13 – 24
Clearfield 21 15 7 5 – 48
Bellefonte – 24
Emalee Neff 4 0-2 8, Emma Rossman 1 0-0 2, Angelina Aviles 0 0-0 0, Sydney Hamilton 0 0-0 0, Hana Rados 0 0-0 0, Keira Whitman 1 0-0 2, Madison Ripka 0 1-4 1, Alexis Kopcha 0 0-0 0, Maria Cotter 4 3-4 11, Jaylee Lose 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 10 4-10 24.
Clearfield – 48
Emma Hipps 5 7-8 18, Lauryn Kitchen 3 0-0 7, McKenna Lanager 0 0-0 0, Riley Ryen 3 0-0 8, Taylor Hudson 0 0-0 0, Cayleigh Walker 4 3-4 11, Alayna Winters 0 0-0 0, Hannah Glunt 0 4-4 4. TOTALS 15 14-16 48.
Three-Point Shots: Hipps, Kitchen, Ryen-2