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Clearfield uses strong defense, hot-shooting 2nd half to take home boys AAA crown


2015 Class AAA D9 Champion Clearfield Bison – Photo by Rich Rhoades


By Chris Rossetti

CLARION, Pa. – Clearfield used a stifling second-half defense and a hot-shooting offense to pull away from Punxsutawney and claim its first District 9 Class AAA boys’ basketball crown since 2009 with a 57-33 win over the Chucks Friday night.

“Our goal was to win a district championship, and we got it,” a hoarse first-year Clearfield head coach Nate Glunt said.

Played at Clarion University’s Tippin Gym, Clearfield (20-3) outscored Punxsutawney (11-12) 36-18 in the second half to turn a six-point, 21-15, halftime lead into a rout.

Most of the damage came in the third quarter when the Bison outscored the Chucks 23-11.

“We made an adjustment at halftime on our press break off of missed shots,” Glunt said. “In the first half, they were double-teaming our point guard and the other four guys were standing down at the other end of the court.”

Punxsy was able use that full-court pressure defense to stay in the game for a half despite shooting just 21.4 percent (6 of 28) from the floor in the opening 16 minutes. But the Chucks forced 12 Clearfield turnovers in the first half and turned those giveaways into eight points.

But in the second half, Clearfield turned the rock over just one time and shot 56 percent (14 of 25) from the field while continuing to limit Punxsy on its offensive end. The Chucks were 5 of 20 shooting in the second half (25 percent) and finished the game 11 of 48 (22.9 percent).

“Evan Brown did an awesome job in the second half handling the pressure,” Glunt said. “Offensively, I give our kids a lot of credit, they have been unselfish all year. They enjoy each other, which makes it a lot of fun to coach.”

Sophomore sensation Tommy Hazel broke out of a late-season slump to pour in a game-high 21 points for the Bison on 6 of 8 shooting including 3 of 4 from 3-point land. He carried Clearfield in the first half with 14 points on 4 of 5 shooting. Hazel chipped in five rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.

“He hit some big shots,” Glunt said. “He really stepped up. He had a great two weeks of practice. He’s a sophomore who has gotten better every game, and he was phenomenal tonight.”

Erik Sellers, the lone senior on the team, added 13 points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal.

“I will say this about Sellers, he is a phenomenal leader,” Glunt said. “His leadership is second to none. I love him. He is an awesome leader as our lone senior. We may only have one, but it’s a real good one.”

Will Myers added 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and a steal, and Cody Spaid grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds while also blocking six shots and scoring four points.

“I just wanted to win the first game,” Glunt

Up by just the six at the break, Clearfield wasted little time turning the game into a one-side affair in the third quarter starting the quarter on a 19-5 run that saw all five of Punxsy’s points come from the free-throw line. The Chucks, the defending champions who beat Clearfield 54-35 in last year’s title game, didn’t score a second-half basket until Dylan Huey hit a jumper with 2:27 left in the third quarter. But at that point, all the basket did was take a 20-point Clearfield lead, 40-20, and turn it into an 18-point lead, 40-22.

The Bison still led by 18, 44-26, at the end of the third quarter and then expanded the advantage to as many as 25 twice in the fourth quarter, 53-28 and 55-30.

Punxsy, which played 17 kids, got a team-high seven points from Devin Kelly, while Brandon Matthews and Andy Fedigan each added six points. Dylan Huey had four points, eight rebounds and three steals.

Clearfield moves into a PIAA sub-regional game at 6 p.m. Monday at Clarion High School against the Pittsburgh City League’s (District 8’s) Obama Academy. The winner of that game advances to the PIAA playoffs.


Score by Quarters

Punxsy 3 12 11 7 – 33

Clearfield 11 10 23 13 – 57

Punxsutawney – 33

Keeston Perry 0-2 0-0 0, Ethan Riley 1-4 1-2 4, Logan Huey 0-0 0-0 0, Nick Constant 0-0 0-0 0, Nathan Lingenfelter 0-0 0-0 0, Nathan Ray 0-1 0-0 0, John Matthews 0-6 1-2 1, Jacob Horner 0-1 0-0 0, Devin Kelly 2-2 3-6 7, Dylan Huey 2-11 0-0 4, Pactrick Fedigan 0-0 0-0 0, Ryan Sloniger 0-4 2-2 2, Ruben Taylor 0-3 0-0 0, Andy Fedigan 3-6 0-0 6, Brandon Matthews 2-6 2-2 6, Tucker Jenary 1-3 0-0 3, Lucas Burkett 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 11-48 9-14 33.

Clearfield – 57

Erik Sellers 5-7 0-0 3-4 13, David McKenzie 1-3 0-0 2, Tommy Hazel 6-8 6-8 21, Cody Spaid 2-4 0-0 4, Will Myers 5-15 1-1 12, Jake Sorbera 0-0 0-0 0, Micah Heichel 1-1 1-5 3, Evan Brown 0-3 0-0 0, Reese Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Caleb Strouse 1-1 0-0 2, Carter Wood 0-1 0-0 0, Mason Royer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-43 11-18 57.

Three-pointers – Punxsutawney 2-13 (Riley 1-2, Jenary 1-3, Ray 0-1, J. Matthews 0-2, Sloniger 0-2, Taylor 0-3). Clearfield 4-15 (Tommy Hazel 3-4, Myers 1-8, McKenzie 0-1, Brown 0-2).