HYDE — Rivalry games take on a lot more meaning when one team has the desire to even the score from a loss earlier in the season. The Bald Eagle Area Eagles already got one win over the Clearfield Bison this season, and consistently have played a tight game, taking advantage of miscues and struggles. The Bison cagers came into the rematch having lost the last two games, but were ready for what was going to be another highly contested showdown.
Those in the Bison Gym got that, and more. Clearfield would take advantage of missed shots in the first half, and withstood a Bald Eagle rally that got chippy and aggravating, to pull out a 49-39 victory.
“We want to play hard and rebound, and when we’ve struggled, we haven’t rebounded well,” Bison head coach Nate Glunt said afterwards. “I don’t know what the numbers are, but Bald Eagle is a big and physical team. We were able to match that physicality.”
That physicality wasn’t seen early as each were feeling one another out in the first quarter. What was seen was Clearfield living the entire opening eight minutes behind the arc. After Andon Greslick put up the first trey of the night, Clearfield would stay in the deep range for the entire time. Bald Eagle was not letting them get inside, and were playing a double team for a majority of the time on Cole Miller. Still, the senior center managed to find a pair of three’s when needed. To cap off the quarter, Anthony Lopez, who was starting in place of Luke Pallo, hit another trey from the top of the key. Bald Eagle kept it close, as the Bison took a 12-10 advantage into the second quarter.
Clearfield’s second quarter on both ends was practically flawless. In the first game between the two schools, the Bison were struggling to shoot, get offensive rebounds, and find penetration.
On this night, it was the opposite, because the Eagles were not having any success in any way in the second quarter.
“We wanted to limit (Cam) Watkins in shooting and keep (Blaze) Angellotti off the boards,” Glunt said.
Clearfield did both leading into halftime, because Watkins was limited to the only scoring in the quarter for the visitors, and that came only from a single free throw. The Bison defense would not allow penetration to the hoop, utilizing a zone defense instead of their traditional man-on-man, forcing tough shots, and getting the rebounds. Bald Eagle went 0-for-12 in the second quarter from the floor, as Clearfield took a 23-11 advantage into the locker room. Glunt spoke about his choice of defense, stating, “We went to that 2-3 zone since we were missing some guys, and I am very proud of how we battled tonight on defense.”
The third quarter saw Bald Eagle battle back, getting some penetration but was limited in scoring. Clearfield padded the lead for a short time, but the 35-20 advantage after three quarters appeared to be one that would hold up.
Or so they thought.
The final quarter is when things started to unravel, but also get a bit frustrating. Clearfield was forcing some passes, and suddenly Bald Eagle was pulling to within a couple possessions. As the minutes ticked away, the aggravation led to fouls, and at one point it led to a battle on the floor for the ball that eventually boiled over.
On a break, Greslick, who finished with 13 points, had the ball knocked out, and both he and Anthony Lopez were going for the ball. At the same time, so was Bald Eagle’s Chase Thompson. The battle got so heated for the ball the officials initially called for a jump ball, but Thompson was upset at the decision, already having a trio of fouls to his credit. Miller took exception, and the jawing led to some shoving. Both coaches pulled their teams to the sidelines trying to get their respective squads under control and calm, all the while the officials had to sort out the fouls.
The decision came that it would be offsetting technical fouls on Thompson and Miller, with possession going to Bald Eagle.
Already having a sideline warning from early in the final quarter, BEA head coach Kris Glunt, no relation to Nate, questioned the decision but would hold back from being assessed a technical foul of his own. Clearfield would prevent a basket as Kahale Burns’ shot would catch the back glass, with Pallo pulling down the rebound. However, minutes later, as Clearfield led by seven with seconds remaining, Bald Eagle’s Aaron Sharp caught a late foul that was to put Braison Patrick at the line, but at the same time that foul occurred another official caught Watkins getting too physical with Miller.
Two whistles went off and one official signaled the initial foul, but the second technical in the waning minutes went to Watkins, who was forced to the sidelines as it was his fifth foul on the night.
Miller and the team got to stand and breathe as Patrick got four attempts at the foul line, making three of them, to set the final. Miller and Greslick combined for 11 points in the final quarter, with Miller leading all scoring with 15 points. Greslick added in 13 points, while Patrick accounted for 10. Even in the final seconds, the frustration could be seen on all the players, with Nate looking at his team during Patrick’s attempts to not say anything that could cost them later once the game was over.
The Bison have consistently played unselfishly this season, and that was not lost on Nate as he continued to praise the team as a whole, especially after such a tough week.
“It’s not one guy, it truly is our entire team. We had a good practice yesterday, and the day before,” he said. “We had a rough spell last week, but I think we’re starting to come back.”
Clearfield won the opening junior varsity contest as well, 40-35.
Now sitting at 10-4, the stretch of Mountain League games continues on Friday when the Bison travel to Tyrone to face the Golden Eagles. The two schools met back on January 3, with Clearfield holding on for a tight 61-59 victory. Junior varsity action will start the night at 6 p.m. with varsity to follow.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Bald Eagle Area 10 1 9 19 – 39
Clearfield 12 11 12 14 – 49
Bald Eagle Area – 39
Kahale Burns 1 0-0 2, Chase Thompson 2 1-2 6, Cam Watkins 4 3-5 11, Blaze Angellotti 3 0-0 6, Tyler Serb 3 0-0 8, Aaron Sharp 2 0-0 4, Tre Greene 0 0-0 0, Kieran Jordan 1 0-0 4. TOTALS 16 4-7 39.
Clearfield – 49
Ev Maines 1 0-0 3, Luke Pallo 2 1-2 5, Braison Patrick 2 5-6 10, Andon Greslick 4 2-2 13, Anthony Lopez 1 0-0 3, Skylar Clark 0 0-0 0, Cole Miller 6 0-0 15, Peyton Reasinger 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 17 8-10 49.
Bald Eagle Area/Clearfield
- Shooting: 16-45/17-32
- Rebounds: 19/18
- Fouls: 13/14
- Turnovers: 13/15
- Three-Point Shots: Thompson, Serb-2/Maines, Patrick, Greslick-3, Miller-3, Lopez
- Foul Out: Watkins
- Technical Fouls: Watkins, Thompson/Miller
- Sideline Warning: BEA-6:19 in 4th