Bison letterwinners

The Clearfield boys basketball team returns five letterwinners for the 2021-22 season. From left are Ryan Gearhart, Cole Miller, Isakk Way, Andon Greslick and Luke Pallo.

HYDE — The Clearfield boys basketball won its seventh straight District 9 title last year and beat Obama in the first round of the PIAA playoffs before finishing the season with a record of 20-6. It was the third time in the last seven seasons the Bison had at least 20 victories.

But Clearfield lost six players that logged a lot of minutes to graduation.

That included leading-scorer Karson Rumsky, who became the 11th player in program history to achieve the 1,000-point milestone.

“We graduated a lot of talent from last year’s team,” said eighth-year head coach Nate Glunt, who has compiled a 128-48 record at the helm. “Karson Rumsky, who is now playing at Pitt-Bradford was a 1,000-point scorer, and then we lost key role players in Matt Pallo, Luke Winters, Nick Ryan, Jake Lezzer, and Curvey Purkett. That was an excellent senior class who did a great job of leading the younger players and having a lot of success throughout their high school careers.”

Despite the big losses to graduation, the Bison return five letterwinners to this year’s team in seniors Ryan Gearhart and Isakk Way, junior Cole Miller and sophomores Andon Greslick and Luke Pallo.

“This group has worked hard in the offseason to put themselves in a position to play well this year,” Glunt said. “They are skilled players who compete in everything they do, so we are excited to see them play this season.”

Miller was second on the team in scoring last season, averaging 16 points per game. Gearhart and Way also saw plenty of minutes and each made several starts throughout the season. Gearhart led Clearfield with 19 points in its win over Obama in the PIAA playoffs, while Way led the Bison in their season-ending loss to Lincoln Park.

That trio will be counted on this season

“Cole Miller, Ryan Gearhart and Isakk Way all have varsity experience and will start,” Glunt said. “Luke Pallo and Andon Greslick will likely start as well.”

Also key in the Bison rotation will be a handful of seniors and a couple underclassmen.

“We have Nate Natoli and Nick Collins who came back out for the team, and we are excited to have them back out for hoops for their senior seasons,” Glunt said. “ (Seniors) Caleb Wilt and Justin Fletcher, (sophomore) Braylen Way and two freshman, Kai Lynch and Kamden Kushner could contribute to our team this season as well.”

Clearfield will once again compete in the Mountain League and has a difficult non-conference schedule as well, so its defensive-ability, which Glunt says is a team strength, will likely be needed night in and night out.

“The strength of our team right now is our skill level and the way we have competed on the defensive end of the floor in practice,” he said. “Once again, we face a very challenging schedule with the Mountain League and the addition of Hollidaysburg to the league.

“We also play tough opponents in our non-conference schedule, so every game is going to be a battle. We must be ready to compete and give a great effort at all of our games to give our team a chance at success.”

While the Bison are seven-time D-9 champs and have advanced to the PIAA playoffs every season under Glunt, the team goals are about daily improvement and working to be the best when it counts the most.

“Our goals this year are to improve every day and to be playing our best at the end of the season,” Glunt said.

Glunt is excited for the varsity season and is very pleased about the state of the entire program.

“The overall outlook of our program is very good right now,” he said. “We have a lot of kids out for hoops at the high school, junior high and elementary levels and they all are off to a great start.

“We have 23 players out for varsity basketball this season. We have a large group of seniors and sophomores out for the team and are looking forward to both groups contributing to the team, whether it’s at the varsity or JV games.”

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Clearfield begins its season Friday, playing host to Curwensville.

Seniors

Nick Collins, Eric Fletcher, Justin Fletcher, *Ryan Gearhart, Adam Miller, Nate Natoli, *Isakk Way, Caleb Wilt.

Juniors

Zach Billotte, *Andon Greslick, *Cole Miller.

Sophomores

Cole Bloom, Owen Cowder, Ethan Evilsizor, Micah Johnson, Gus Kulling, Anthony Lopez, Braylon Obelman, *Luke Pallo, Braylen Way.

Freshman

Kamden Kushner, Kai Lynch, Jake Rumfola

*Returning letterwinners

Schedule

December

10—Curwensville, 7:15 p.m. 13—Philipsburg-Osceola. 14—St. Marys. 16—at Hollidaysburg. 20—Bald Eagle Area. 22—at West Branch, 7:15 p.m. 27/28—at Cambria Heights Tournament, TBA.

January

3—at Tyrone. 6—Bellefonte. 10—Huntingdon. 13—at Penns Valley. 18—at Philipsburg-Osceola. 21—Hollidaysburg. 24—at DuBois, 7:15 p.m.. 25—at Bald Eagle Area. 28—Tyrone.

February

1—at Bellefonte. 4—at Huntingdon. 7—Punxsutawney, 7:15 p.m. 15—at Curwensville, 7:15 p.m.

Games begin at 7:30 p.m. unless noted

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