HYDE — The Clearfield boys basketball team earned its eighth consecutive District 9 title last season and came one point away from winning its Subregional matchup against Obama Academy, which hit a put back at the buzzer to end the Bison’s season at 14-10.
Clearfield lost eight players to graduation from that squad, including a pair of starters and several key rotation players, which ninth-year head coach Nate Glunt says he is certainly going to miss.
“Ryan Gearhart, Isakk Way, Nate Natoli, Nick Collins, Caleb Wilt, Justin Fletcher, Eric Fletcher and Adam Miller did a fantastic job for us last season,” he said. “They were one of the bigger classes of seniors that we have had and provided a lot of production for our team.”
But the cupboard is certainly not bare as Clearfield welcomes back seven letterwinners in seniors Andon Greslick and Cole Miller, juniors Cole Bloom, Luke Pallo and Braylen Way and sophomores Kam Kushner and Kai Lynch.
Greslick, Miller and Pallo are returning starters and will resume their roles this season, while the remaining four letterwinners along with a handful of other players are in the mix for the other two starting positions or solid rotation minutes.
“Cole (Miller) is a returning 1000-point scorer and Luke and Andon both scored in double figures in multiple games last year,” Glunt said. “Kai, Cole Bloom, Kam and Braylen all are going to be looked upon to provide great depth and to do all of the little things that it takes for our team to have success.”
“Cole, Andon and Luke will start and then we have (freshman) Braison Patrick, (seniors) Morgen Billotte and Joshshaun Perry, Braylen, (junior) Anthony Lopez, Cole (Bloom), Kai and Kam all in the mix to get varsity playing time.”
Miller, the returning Progressland Player of the Year, averaged 21 points per game last season, netting at least 20 in 14 of the 24 games he played in. He also averaged six rebounds, two assists and a steal per contest and will certainly be looked at to lead the Bison again in 2022-23.
But Glunt says he’ll have plenty of help from the players around him that bring a variety of attributes to the table.
“Cole is only the second player that I have every coached that already has 1000 points going into his senior season,” Glunt said. “He has worked very hard for the success that he has achieved and the accolades that he has been given have all been deserved.
“For all of the individual success that he has had, his main goal is he wants the team to do well. The players around him all provide different attributes, whether it be shooting, attacking the basket, rebounding and playing solid defense. All of them can contribute to help our team to have success.”
Perhaps one of the Bison’s best attributes is their willingness to share the ball and play as a team.
“Our team strength right now is probably our shooting and how unselfish our players have been playing,” Glunt said. “Everyone is trying to execute our offense with the way we like to play and have been doing well playing as a team.”
And the Bison will need to play together night-in-and-night out as it navigates a tough schedule.
“Our biggest test is our schedule,” Glunt said. “Our conference (Mountain League) consistently sends multiple teams to the state playoffs and our non conference this year might be one of the most challenging that we have ever had on the schedule since I have been a head coach. Every game is a battle and we have to come ready to play.”
As for goals, Glunt says it’s all about doing the work all season long in the hopes of playing their best ball when it matters most.
“Our goals for the season are to try and get better each day and to be playing our best at the end of the season,” he said. “This team has potential to have an excellent season if we can continue to work hard in practice and strive to get better at all of the little things that it takes to win.”
Clearfield begins its season Dec. 2 at Curwensville.
Morgen Billotte, Skylar Clark, *Andon Greslick, *Cole Miller, Joshshaun Perry, Peyton Reasinger.
*Cole Bloom, Anthony Lopez, *Luke Pallo, *Braylen Way.
Luke Dixon, Keegan Fester, Dylan Greslick, Carter Kaskan *Kamden Kushner, *Kai Lynch, Patrick Rufner, Jake Rumfola.
Cooper Broad, Parker Collins, Landyn Lanager, Ev Maines, OBrian Owens, Braison Patrick, Elliot Wilt.
2—at Curwensville. 6—at Philipsburg-Osceola. 9—at Punxsutawney, 7:15 p.m. 15—Hollidaysburg. 19—at Bald Eagle Area. 21—West Branch. 27—Williamsburg at Cambria Heights Tournament, 6 p.m. 28—at Cambria Heights Tournament, TBA.
3—Tyrone. 5—at Bellefonte. 9—at Huntingdon. 12—Penns Valley. 17—Philipsburg-Osceola. 20—at Hollidaysburg. 24—Bald Eagle Area. 27—at Tyrone. 31—Bellefonte.
3—Huntingdon. 7—at Penns Valley. 9—DuBois Central Catholic. 14—Curwensville. 15—DuBois.
Games begin at 7:30 p.m. unless noted