HYDE — Things have not been so easy in recent times for the Clearfield Bison basketball squad. Having lost four of their last five games, Clearfield has found itself in unfamiliar territory. The Mountain League this season has been one where all teams are tough, and also can be beaten at any time. Coming off a tough loss against Bellefonte two nights prior, the Bison welcomed in the Hollidaysburg Golden Tigers, a team that Clearfield lost to shortly after the Christmas break.
What made the difference on Thursday compared to the last few games was a fast start, and getting baskets to fall that recently wouldn’t. Clearfield did just that, making deep shots, getting rebounds, and would not look back as they cruised to a 66-50 win that was a lot different than the final score implied.
“Rebounding was huge tonight, we played really physical, but in the right way. Hollidaysburg can really jump; they dunked on us twice in the last game we faced them, and if we don’t box out, we don’t get those rebounds,” Bison head coach Nate Glunt said afterwards. “A lot of times, we have to win what we call a ‘fight play’ where we try to win the possession without the ball, and I thought we did a great job of that.”
Those kind of possessions came early, as Hollidaysburg struggled on their end of the court to score. At the same time, Clearfield got things going quickly, and in a big way. Back-to-back three’s from Anthony Lopez and Braison Patrick set the tone. Those two shots fed others, as Morgen Billotte and Cole Miller all got going right afterwards. In the opening quarter, Clearfield went 8-for-9 shooting, getting out to a 21-8 advantage after one quarter of play.
That momentum continued early in the second quarter, with Andon Greslick getting rolling with a pair of threes. The Bison put in 11 shots from behind the arc on the night, eight of them in the first half. The hot start for the Bison was matched in the second quarter, as the Golden Tigers managed to get a slight advantage in scoring, but still found themselves down by 12 at the halftime break, 34-22.
“We were very fortunate with those three’s. That’s just basketball, and give our kids credit, because they kept double-teaming Cole, so we just kept attacking and gave our guys some open three’s, and they made them,” Glunt said. “That’s just basketball, sometimes we make them, sometimes we don’t.”
Clearfield’s night would continue to be strong on the floor, as they continued to find gaps in the defense to get shots off. Much like the first quarter, the first two baskets in the third were a pair of three’s from Patrick and Billotte, who each had a team-high 16 points on the night. All the while, the Bison were aggressive on defense to get rebounds, winning the battle 25-13.
As the fourth quarter went on, Hollidaysburg began to close in slightly, forcing Clearfield to the line 10 times in the final stanza. In that quarter, only one shot missed the bucket, and that was enormous for Glunt.
“You always learn. In some of these games, and you’ve been here for some, we’ve had leads in the fourth quarter, and sometimes we’ve given them up either by foul shooting or turnovers,” he said. “This time, we didn’t, so I let the team just play. I didn’t try to control them and look for that perfect shot. I just let them play the game.”
Clearfield put four players in double digits, as Greslick and Miller accounted for 12 and 11 points, respectively.
By contrast, Hollidaysburg struggled overall in shooting, going 17-for-46, and getting into foul trouble caused the squad to play a bit more conservatively down the line. Cole Walters led all scoring on the night, putting up 22 for the Golden Tigers, while Brady Steiner added in another 12.
The Bison did drop the junior varsity contest, 51-30.
Glunt was enjoying the win so much, he was ready to get back on the court, and said the team was feeling the same way. With the Huntingdon Bearcats coming into the Bison Gymnasium the following night, the Bison (11-6) had their busiest week of games to date. But for Glunt, having that kind of schedule is okay, especially being at home.
“Let’s just play. This time of year, let’s just keep playing,” he said with a smile. “When we get to play at home, these guys don’t even want to practice. They just want to play. I’m so proud of that.”
Tip off for Friday night’s game between Huntingdon and Clearfield will be approximately 7:30 p.m. for varsity, after the jayvee squad takes the court at 6 p.m.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Hollidaysburg 8 14 14 14 – 50
Clearfield 21 13 16 16 – 66
Hollidaysburg – 50
Mason Goodman 1 2-4 5, Brady Steiner 4 1-1 12, Carson Rhodes 2 0-0 5, Jacob Hileman 1 0-0 2, Cole Walters 8 3-3 22, Jay Albarano 1 0-0 2, Leyton Weimert 0 0-0 0, Jon Holsopple 0 0-0 0, Caden Delattre 0 0-0 0, Jakob Snyder 0 0-0 0, Kason Metzger 0 0-0 0, Kyle Graham 1 0-0 2, Greyson Morris 0 0-0 0, Connor Kirch 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 13 6-8 50.
Clearfield – 66
Luke Pallo 0 2-2 2, Kam Kushner 1 0-0 2, Kai Lynch 0 0-0 0, Braison Patrick 4 5-6 16, Andon Greslick 4 2-2 12, Anthony Lopex 2 0-0 5, Morgen Billotte 6 0-0 16, Braylen Way 0 0-0 0, Skyler Clark 1 0-0 2, Cole Miller 4 2-2 11, Peyton Reasinger 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 22 11-12 66.
- Shooting: 17-46/22-38
- Rebounds: 13/25
- Fouls: 17/9
- Turnovers: 7/11
- Three-Point Shots: Goodman, Steiner-3, Rhodes, Walters-3/Patrick-3, Greslick-2, Billotte-4, Miller, Lopez
- Foul Out: Rhodes