HYDE — The stretch run in the season means a lot of league games for the Clearfield Lady Bison. After winning two of their last three games, and coming off a strong win against Bald Eagle, confidence was high heading into Thursday night’s game in the Bison Gymnasium against the Lady Golden Eagles of Tyrone.
This game ended up being a battle on the boards, both in trying to bring them down, and trying to prevent them. Try as they might, the Lady Bison were unable to stop Tyrone’s leading rebounder. Despite a late charge, when Clearfield saw the scoreboard read all zeroes at the end of the night, it yielded a 51-39 loss that was hard to swallow.
“It was a tough battle. They are a tough ball team to face, and well-coached,” Lady Bison head coach Missy Helsel said afterwards.
Tough was the name of the game because Clearfield’s biggest challenge came in trying to limit Tyrone’s leading scorer, Kayelin Gibbons. The man-on-man defense that they employed worked to a point, but what caught the Lady Bison were the times she would get the feed from one of her teammates when finding a gap in the paint. Most of the time, she had an open look for a quick layup, and that ultimately was tough to defend. She would account for six points in the first quarter, helping Tyrone get out to a quick 17-8 lead.
Clearfield, to their credit, would not give in and battled back in the second quarter, forcing turnovers and cutting the lead down to a single possession at multiple points. Led by the presence of Cayleigh Walker in the paint, who finished with a team-high 11 points, pulled down four of her team’s 27 rebounds in the quarter, getting some put-back opportunities. Clearfield headed into the locker room only down 25-22, with possession to start the second half.
That was when Tyrone found another gear, and Gibbons was able to show how tough she was.
In the second half, Gibbons would get near the basket, and even when she didn’t put up a shot, when her teammates or the Lady Bison missed a shot, nearly every time she was near the ball to pull down the rebound. At night’s end, Gibbons led nearly all statistics, finishing with a double-double including 24 points, 17 rebounds, five assists and four steals.
“We tried to double up (Gibbons), but she is just a force, one of the best in the Mountain League,” Helsel said.
Clearfield got an enormous spark at the end of the third. After a bucket by Amariah Sprankle with just over 10 seconds remaining, the inbounds pass went to Hannah Glunt, who had just enough time to get the ball off near the mid-court line. What happened was the ball arced just enough where it hit only net, after going through the rim. Shocked at what happened, the Lady Bison ignited as they were down just 38-33 heading into the final quarter.
But, that is where the tank began running dry, as Clearfield would only put up a pair of buckets in the final quarter, going just 2-for-13, courtesy of a trey each from Glunt and Riley Ryen. Glunt was one of three Lady Bison in double figures on the night. Along with Walker, both Glunt and Mia Helsel each put up 10 points, with Helsel finishing with her own double-double as she pulled down 12 rebounds.
“I have nothing bad to say about my kids. They played hard,” Missy said afterwards.
Clearfield also dropped the opening junior varsity contest in a low-scoring 23-11 final.
Sitting at 8-10, Clearfield only has a pair of games next week, both on the road and both being league contests. The week will start with a trip to Bellefonte on Monday night, as the Lady Bison will try to sweep the series after winning the first contest, 60-50, back on January 6. The varsity game will tip-off at around 7:30 p.m.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Tyrone 17 8 13 13 – 51
Clearfield 8 14 11 6 – 39
Tyrone – 51
Allison Weston 1 0-2 2, Amariah Sprankle 5 0-0 12, Alayna Greene 0 0-0 0, Claire Lehman 2 0-1 4, Elise Volders 0 0-0 0, Lenelle Eades 0 0-0 0, Bree Paul 1 0-0 3, Alayna Woomer 3 0-0 6, Kayelin Gibbons 12 0-2 24. TOTALS 24 0-5 51.
Clearfield – 39
Hannah Glunt 2 4-6 10, Alayna Winters 1 0-0 2, Cayleigh Walker 5 1-2 11, Riley Ryen 2 0-0 6, Mia Helsel 3 4-4 10, Arika Jones 0 0-0 0, Jaylee Gill 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 13 9-12 39.
- Shooting: 24-40/13-55
- Rebounds: 43/27
- Fouls: 10/11
- Turnovers: 18/16
- Three-Point Shots: Sprankle-2, Paul/Glunt-2, Ryen-2