HYDE — Philipsburg-Osceola’s Ryan Whitehead poured in a game-high 24 points, including four three-pointers and two dunks, to hit the 1000-point milestone Tuesday at Bison Gymnasium.
Unfortunately for Whitehead and the Mounties, P-O wasn’t able to also pull out the win over Clearfield, which held a 19-8 lead after one quarter and never trailed in a 70-58 victory.
“It would have been better if we would have come out with the win,” Whitehead said. “But getting it here is definitely special because we’ve always battled here no matter what grade we were in, all the way from elementary school through high school. We always had good battles here, so it’s definitely a special thing.
“This is definitely special, but I definitely couldn’t have got here without my coaches and my teammates helping me out and always pushing me. So I want to thank them for helping me get to 1000.”
It was also a special thing for Whitehead’s coach T.J. Anderson, who despite just being in the first year at the helm of the Mounties has been with the newest member of the 1000-point club a lot longer.
“I have been with him for a long time,” Anderson said. “I was his AAU coach and I trained him when I was down at Juniata Valley. We traveled all over the country together.
“This is a big memory. You’ll always remember this. The last time (P-O boys) had this was 21 years ago. That’s how special it is in our program. We only have five guys that have done this. So for me, this is extremely special for him and his family and the community. it’s just a special night that we just don’t see all the time.”
The night didn’t start out all that well for Whitehead and the Mounties as Clearfield was able to keep him off the scoreboard in the first quarter and build a 13-point lead before settling for a 19-8 advantage after one.
Cole Miller led the Bison charge with 11 points, including three of his five 3-pointers.
“We shot the ball well in the first,” Clearfield head coach Nate Glunt said. “Cole came out hot ... he’s done that in other games in his career. He works so hard at it. He was able to get in a rhythm and get going. He’s just a dynamite shooter, but he does other things too ... his defense, his rebounding.”
“The last time (Saturday) we played them it was the third quarter,” said Anderson. “This time it was the first quarter. I keep saying it, but we just have some young guys that have not been in this position before, and this is a big stage. We’ll grow from this. Every game we have like this is good for us. We want to be better down the stretch.”
But despite staring at a double-digit deficit after one quarter, the Mounties — led by Whitehead — came storming back.
Whitehead drained three 3-pointers to help his team get back in the game. P-O cut the Bison advantage to four, 34-30, late in the second before Clearfield ended on a 6-0 run to take a 40-30 lead to the break.
Matt Pallo was key for the Bison in the second quarter, scoring all 12 of his points in the frame to help Clearfield withstand the P-O charge.
The third quarter was back-and-forth with P-O getting as close as six on the scoreboard and Whitehead giving his team a jolt with a two-handed dunk.
But Karson Rumsky, who was fairly quiet for the first three quarters of the game, nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer off a nice feed from Luke Winters to give the Bison a 52-42 lead after three.
“That was huge for momentum,” Glunt said. “That just gave us a shot of energy going into the fourth quarter.”
P-O was never able to get closer than eight in the fourth quarter, but Whitehead again gave his team a thrill with another dunk then moments later collected his milestone 1000th point off a jumper after he collected an offensive rebound.
The game was stopped briefly to acknowledge Whitehead’s accomplishment and he went to the bench and was congratulated by Anderson and the rest of his team.
“He’s been my AAU coach for basketball for quite a while, and he definitely helped me improve my game, and improve how I am overall as a person,” Whitehead said of Anderson. “So I want to give him a lot of credit too, helping me along this journey.”
“Ryan’s a good kid, and that’s a big milestone,” Glunt said. For him to get it, he should be acknowledged. You get a 1000 points ... that’s tough. Think about it, out of all the players in all the years, he’s only the fifth kid in their history.
“He hit some tough shots that were contested, and then he just started going.”
Miller and Rumsky each hit a pair of 3s in the fourth quarter to help the Bison claim the 70-58 win. Miller led Clearfield with 19 points, while Rumsky finished with 15.
“I thought Karson and Cole did a great job staying patient and then it came to them in the fourth quarter,” Glunt said “They were able to get some open looks.”
Winters (12) and Pallo (12) were also in double figures for Clearfield. Ryan Gearhart added six assists.
Jake DeSimone and Jeremy Whitehead both scored eight points for P-O, which dipped to 2-2 with the loss.
“They’re a very good team. They’re very disciplined. They pass the ball well and play for each other,” Anderson said of Clearfield. “It’s tough when you have a bunch of young guys on this stage trying to mimic what they’re doing and also trying to beat them at their own home. It’s tough, but I felt like we did a really good job and we competed well tonight.”
The Mounties travel to Bald Eagle Area Friday.
Clearfield (5-1) hosts Westmont Hilltop this evening.
Harpster 2 0-0 4, DeSimone 4 0-0 8, Doyle 6 1-2 7, R. Whitehead 10 0-0 24, J. Whitehead 4 0-1 8, Depto 2 1-2 5, C. Hahn 0 0-0 0, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Snyder 0 0-0 0, K. Hahn 1 0-0 2. Totals: 26 2-5 58.
Pallo 5 0-0 12, Ryan 2 1-2 5, Winters 4 3-3 12, Rumsky 5 2-2 15, Miller 7 0-0 17, Gearhart 1 2-2 5, Lezzer 0 0-0 0, Billotte 0 0-0 0, Way 0 0-0 0, Thompson 1 0-0 2. Totals: 25 8-9 70.
Three-pointers: R. Whitehead 4; Miller 5, Gearhart, Pallo 2, Winters, Rumsky 3.
Score by Quarters
P-O 8 22 12 16—58
Clearfield 19 21 12 18—70