By JEFFREY L. NORRIS
There were a lot of things that didn’t go well for Huntingdon in Friday night’s Mountain League matchup with visiting Clearfield. But despite too many turnovers, subpar foul shooting and some defensive lapses, the Bearcat were able to battle their way to a 67-48 victory.
“It’s going to be a dog fight all season,” said Huntingdon coach Nick Payne. “Everybody in the Mountain League has players back and everybody in better and more experienced this year. Everybody is going to give us their best and it’s going to be a battle every night.”
The Bearcats improved to 2-0 on the season, overall and in the league. The Bison slip to 2-1 and 1-1.
Things were close through the first quarter. Huntingdon scored first and never trailed. Clearfield tied the score att 2-2 and 7-7. A Nick Gearhart basket gave the Bearcats a 15-11 lead at the buzzer.
The Bearcats went on a 14-6 run over the first four minutes of the second stanza to build a 29-17 lead. Jackson Ritchey scored seven points to spark the surge. He scored three and Gearhart added four over the final 3:22 of the half, while the Bison hit just three of seven free throws during that stretch and trailed 36-24 at the break.
Clearfield outscored Huntingdon 6-2 to start the third period, cutting Huntingdon’s lead to 38-30, but J. Ritchey scored six in a 9-1 run the put the Bearcats up 47-31 heading into the final eight minutes.
Gearhart took charge in the early stages of the fourth quarter, scoring eight points to fuel a 14-8 run gave pushed the advantage to 61-39. Clearfield outscore the Bearcats 9-7 over the final 4:22 to set the final score. Cade Walker scored 10 in the period for Clearfield.
“Nick took control of the game in the fourth quarter and Jackson was an absolute beast,” Payne praised. “Both are tough to contend with where they’re on their game.
“I think we were so focused on pounding the ball inside that we caused a lot of our own turnovers. At the same time, we didn’t take advantage of mismatches. Those are things we need to fix.”
J. Ritchey finished with 24 points to lead all scorers in the game. Gearhart added 14 and Alec Cooper contributed 10. Huntingdon connected on 27 of 64 from the field, but made just 11 of 20 from the foul line. They collected 45 rebounds and were guilty of 16 turnovers.
For the Bison, Walker led the way with 23 points and Karson Romsky added nine. Clearfield hit 18 of 64 shots and had 41 boards and gave up 16 turnovers. The Bison also struggled from the foul line, hitting 11 of 22 opportunities.
Clearfield won the junior varsity game 65-37. Jacob Rigby had 13 points for the 1-1 Bearcats
Huntingdon will be at Tyrone Wednesday.