HYDE, Pa. — The temperatures outside the Bison Gymnasium on Monday night were not as frigid as the early morning temperatures, but inside on the hardwood it was going to heat up. Mountain League competition was on the docket for the Clearfield Lady Bison, who were chasing their seventh win on the season. To do so, they would have to best the Lady Rams of Penns Valley.
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This night, however, was cold just like the outside air. Clearfield made good shots, but the ball would not make it in the rim. Clearfield had opportunities for rebounds, but could not capitalize. Penns Valley forced turnovers, and the Bison found themselves behind. At the end of 32 minutes, the 53-36 final score had the visitors on the winning side, and evening Clearfield’s season record at 6-6.
“We just couldn’t make baskets at the right time,” Lady Bison head coach Joey Castagnolo said afterwards. “We had opportunities all over the floor, but we couldn’t get the ball in the basket. Cold shooting and cold rebounds were the difference tonight.”
Castagnolo was right as the Lady Rams were aggressive on the boards at both ends of the court, pulling down 43 rebounds compared to just 29 for the Bison. Clearfield’s Megan Durandetta got the scoring started with a quick three-pointer at the baseline, but that ultimately was the only lead the Lady Bison had on the night. Penns Valley turned it around to go on a 13-0 run to finish out the quarter.
At each opportunity, the Lady Bison had strong looks to the basket, whether from the wing, in the paint, or right underneath the net. But it almost seemed that no matter how great the shot was, the ball had other ideas. Clearfield finished 14-for-56 from the floor, a 25 percent accuracy rate, and only went 4-for-10 at the charity stripe.
Meanwhile, the Lady Rams were getting second-chance opportunities all through the first half to take a 23-13 advantage into halftime, despite the Bison at one point going on a strong run to close the gap.
The third quarter proved to be the breaking point.
After a quick bucket from the Lady Bison, Penns Valley’s Kailen Winkelblech went on a run as she found a sweet spot at the wing and drilled three shots from deep range, finishing the night with a game-high 13 points. Add in seven rebounds, plus five steals, and it just put Clearfield in a hole that was too deep.
“When she (Winkelblech) made those three’s, that just broke our back,” Castagnolo said. “We battled all night, but we just could not convert. They would get a score, then we come back and can’t answer. The effort was there all night, but we just couldn’t make baskets at the right times.”
Penns Valley had Leah Beben also in double figures, finishing with a double-double with 12 points and rebounds alike. Clearfield was paced by Paige Rhine, who also finished with a double-double of 11 points and 13 boards. Durandetta had nine boards on the night herself, something Castagnolo noted late in the game, stating, “She is getting really aggressive on the glass, and we needed that.”
Clearfield almost pulled off a comeback in the opening junior varsity game, but fell just short, 26-21.
The Lady Bison will have a day off to rest and recoup, as they will take their 6-6 record on the road Wednesday evening to take on St. Joseph’s Academy. Tip-off is at a special start time of 6 p.m. as there will not be a junior varsity contest.