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Bison pull away from Dutch for 3A repeat

Clearfield boys 3A title pic

Repeaters — The Clearfield Bison beat St. Marys for their second straight district title Friday night. (Photo by Rich Rhoades)

By Rich Rhoades

CLARION — Pulling away in the second half from an upset-minded St. Marys squad, the Clearfield Bison won their second straight District 9 Class AAA Championship with a 56-42 win at Clarion University’s Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium Friday night.

The Bison take a 22-2 record into next Thursday’s PIAA play-in game with most likely Obama Academy (District 8, Pittsburgh City League) at Clarion High School at 7:30 p.m.

“I’m extremely happy to win the title. We have a third- and fourth-grade tournament tomorrow at home, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and it’s going to be so much better after a win than after a loss,” second-year head coach Nate Glunt said. “We’ll get back to work and try to compete against Obama next Thursday. We’ve been there and know what the expect. We want to go and compete.”

Last year also at Clarion High School, the Bison lost 66-52 to Obama Academy.

Clearfield had beaten St. Marys (68-59 at home Dec. 16) once during the regular season and the Bison were certainly aware of the Dutch (15-9), a dangerous team coming into the finals winners of 10 of their last 12 games.

“It was a great team effort and St. Marys is good,” Glunt said. “They beat Punxsutawney three times in three weeks and to do that, they’re good. It was a total team effort. It was awesome.”

The Bison led 28-24 at halftime and the Dutch never got closer than that the rest of the way as Clearfield started the third quarter with a 16-5 run. Clearfield led by 12 or more points the rest of the way.

Junior guard Will Myers had a big game, scoring 24 points on 9-of-19 shooting. He’s now 30 points shy of hitting the 1,000-point milestone.

“Will has been in a little bit of a slump, but yesterday in practice he was lights-out and I was like ‘thank you,’” Glunt said. “He works so hard in practice and it matters so much to him and for him to play well tonight was fantastic.”

Senior Cody Spaid delivered 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting and 17 rebounds, helping the Bison own a 35-24 rebounding edge.

“His presence inside was a factor. He’s starting to become a big factor defensively and offensively,” Glunt said.

Junior Tommy Hazel added 14 points, eight of them in the first quarter that saw the Bison take a 20-15 lead thanks to a highlight play sequence that saw the 6-foot-7 Spaid, who quarterbacked the football team last fall, rifle a full-court pass to Hazel, who quickly tossed the ball to Myers who beat the buzzer with a layup.

Brady Bauer, coming off his 33-pointer against Punxsutawney in the semifinals, led the Dutch with 16 points. Jeff Wehler and Parker Housler each scored seven points. Wehler, the Dutch’s leading scorer, struggled through a 3-for-13 night shooting.

If it weren’t for Spaid’s full-court pass play, Wehler probably would’ve been credited with the play of the game. With the game out of reach midway through the fourth quarter, Wehler dove for a loose ball, got up and dashed in for a layup as he was fouled, making it 54-39 with 5:23 left.

The Dutch were 17-for-51 (33.3 percent) from the field and just 1-for-8 from the foul line while Clearfield was 22-for-47 (46.8 percent) from the field.

“St. Marys is good. Bauer has come on and the guards are so tough and get to the basket and they started out the game attacking us and getting shots and they were ready to play,” Glunt said. “We responded and were able to keep playing ball to spread the lead out in the second half.”

It’s the eighth title for the Bison, who won back-to-back championships for the first time in program history.


Score By Quarters

St. Marys       15       9          13       5          –           42

Clearfield      20       8          21       7          –           56

St. Marys – 42

Jeff Wehler 3-13 0-3 7, Jordan Romain 1-4 0-2 2, Matt Marconi 1-5 0-0 2, Parker Housler 3-7 0-1 7, Brady Bauer 6-15 1-2 16, Nick Bauer 0-1 0-0 0, Nathan Schneider 2-3 0-0 5, Bryce Lanzel 0-0 0-0 0, Tony Auman 0-1 0-0 0, Mitchell Schreiber 1-2 0-0 3, Ryan Sennett 0-0 0-0 0, Tyler Robinson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-51 1-8 42.

Clearfield – 56

Evan Brown 1-4 0-0 3, David McKenzie 1-3 0-0 3, Tommy Hazel 4-11 2-2 14, Will Myers 9-19 4-5 24, Cody Spaid 6-10 0-2 12, Caleb Strouse 0-0 0-0 0, Carter Wood 0-0 0-0 0, Ryan Lezzer 0-0 0-0 0, Johny Gates 0-0 0-0 0, Ethan McGinnis 0-0 0-0 0, Jake Sorbera 0-0 0-0 0, Sammy Evans 0-0 0-0 0, Wyatt Porter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-47 6-9 56.

3-pointers: St. Marys 7-23 (Wehler 1-8, Housler 1-4, B. Bauer 3-7, Schneider 1-1, Auman 0-1, Schreiber 1-2), Clearfield (Brown 1-3, McKenzie 1-1, Hazel 2-3, Myers 2-10). Rebounds: Clearfield 35 (Spaid 17), St. Marys 24 (Schneider 7). Turnovers: Clearfield 9, St. Marys 8.