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Johnson Motors - 877-816-0659
Bison down Tide, 42-37
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
HYDE - The Clearfield boys basketball team opened a 10-point lead against rival Curwensville late in the third quarter Monday evening at Arthur J. Weiss Gymnasium, then held off a furious Golden Tide comeback attempt.
Curwensville got as close as 36-35 in the final stanza before a Christian Lezzer 3-pointer and a pair of Trey Jordan free throws helped the Bison hold off the Tide, 42-37, in both teams' season openers.
"We had it down to one, but just had too many missed opportunities," Curwensville head coach Shane Pentz said. "It started in the first half. We were getting great looks, but couldn't knock them down.
"In the second half, we made a great run but just couldn't quite get over the hump."
Clearfield opened a 10-6 lead after one quarter, then padded the advantage to 23-15 at the half. Seth Beardsley canned a pair of 3s to help the Bison build the lead.
"I thought we moved the ball well in the first half," Clearfield head coach Forrest Campman said. "We got Beardsley open to make some 3-point shots. I thought Jordan got to the basket real well the whole game, but he missed some shots he would normally make and he struggled a little bit from the foul line."
While Jordan did stumble in the first half from the line, going 4-for-11, the fouls he drew made the Tide go to their bench.
Curwensville got production from the second team, especially Marcus Stephenson, who netted four points in the second quarter to help the Tide stay within striking distance.
"Nate Kurtz, Marcus Stephenson and Justin Brooks came off the bench, and they kept us in the game," Pentz said.
The Tide and Bison traded buckets early in the second half as Brett Gardner drained a pair of 3s for Curwensville, while Jon Janocko got his game going in the paint for Clearfield.
"They were trying to fight to get back in the game, so there were no inhibitions," Campman said. "I thought Gardner coming out and hitting the two 3s was key.
"He did it with people in his face. They weren't wide-open shots. When you're behind, you try to make a play, and he kept them in it."
But Janocko helped Clearfield hold the lead with six points as he went 3-for-4 from the field in the quarter. Janocko also hit a 3-pointer in the first half and finished the contest as the game's high-scorer with 13 points.
"Janocko had a flurry where he made six points in about a 2-minute span," Campman said. "He had a quiet (13) points. He shot the ball pretty well percentage-wise."
"Janocko made some big plays and was probably the biggest difference in the game with the shots he was able to make for them," Pentz said.
The Bison opened the only double-digit lead of the game late in the third, 33-23, but Curwensville answered immediately to head into the fourth down by eight points.
Curwensville went on a 10-3 run, keyed by Tanner Elensky, who penetrated the paint with his dribble and made three buckets to help get the Bison advantage down to one at 36-35.
"In my opinion, Tanner is one of the better point guards in the area," Pentz said. "So we tried to utilize his talents.
"We started hitting the high post and were able to move our offense from there. It was open earlier, but we couldn't get the ball in there. Once we started hitting the high post, we started clicking a little better."
Elensky led the Tide with nine points and four steals.
"One of the things we wanted to do was stop Elensky from getting to the basket," Campman said. "We started playing him off to the side for some reason. And he's not the one you want to force with the dribble because he can dribble-penetrate. And I thought he hit a couple real tough runners.
"But they were behind and attacked the basket. I thought they made a lot of clutch shots in the fourth, but I thought we answered them just enough. We kept the lead."
Lezzer's 3-pointer was critical in helping the Bison keep the lead and, after the Tide missed a shot on their next possession, Curwensville was forced to start fouling.
It put Jordan on the line with less than 30 seconds to play and, despite his early struggles at the charity stripe, he drained both. Jordan netted eight points, pulled down six rebounds and had five steals.
Lezzer, who scored 11 points and added nine rebounds, hit the front end of a 1-and-1 after that to set the final.
"I guess it's not how you start, it's how you finish," Campman said. "We finished at the foul line.
"I thought we played well. I think we played better than we've been practicing to tell the truth. You can look at Curwensville and say they're a Class A team, but I think they'll be just as good as quite a few teams on our schedule this year."
Despite the loss, Pentz was very happy with his team's performance.
"I think we proved we are a much different team than we were last year," he said. "There were a lot of games last year where we were just overmatched. But tonight, going against a bigger school, I think we played them step-for-step. They just made a couple extra plays."
Curwensville is back in action today at Brockway.
The Bison travel to Central on Wednesday.
Clearfield won the junior varsity game, 39-16. Derek Hryn led the Bison with 12 points, while Trey Rauckhorst scored eight for the Golden Tide.

Gardner 3 0-0 8, Johns 1 2-2 4, Elensky 4 1-2 9, Olson 2 0-0 4, Jacobson 1 0-0 2, Rauckhorst 3 0-0 6, Brooks 0 0-0 0, Kurtz 0 0-0 0, Stephenson 1 2-2 4. Totals: 15 5-6 37.

Beardsley 3 0-0 8, Weston 0 0-0 0, Janocko 6 0-0 13, Lezzer 4 2-4 11, Jordan 1 6-13 8, Brown 1 0-0 2, Ford 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 8-17 42.
Three-pointers: Gardner 2; Beardsley 2, Janocko, Lezzer.

Score by Quarters
Curwensville     6  9 10 12-37
Clearfield      10 13 10  9-42
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