Clarion Women’s Hoops Uses Strong First Half to Hold off Pitt-Johnstown for Key Win

Jen Straw
CLARION, Pa. – What was dominant effort to start turned into a frantic race to the finish on Saturday evening, as the Clarion women’s basketball team held off a second-half charge to win 78-74 over Pitt-Johnstown at Tippin Gymnasium.

The Golden Eagles (13-8, 10-5 PSAC) now face two straight games on the road, starting with a trip to Seton Hill on Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Clarion dominated the first half of play, opening the game on a 20-1 run and leading 52-35 after 20 minutes of action. The Lady Cats roared back in the second half, though, cutting the Golden Eagles’ lead to just 73-73 with 1:40 remaining in regulation. The Golden Eagles buckled down, though, getting stops down the stretch and making their free throws to secure the win.

All five Clarion starters reached double figures in scoring, and that same five carried the heavy load of action, with all of them playing 29 or more minutes despite dealing with foul trouble. That included a pair of double-doubles, with Jen Straw notching 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, and Delrika Jones-Carey contributing 16 points and 13 boards.

Jordan Bekelja played all 40 minutes and added 15 points and four assists to the effort. Tyra Polite tied for the game-high with 20 points. Rounding out those in double-digits was Amesha Harden-Pullium, who had 16 points, three assists and two steals.

The Lady Cats were held without a field goal for nearly the first five minutes of action as Clarion exploded to a 20-1 lead, with Harden-Pullium punctuating the run with a layup at the 6:05 mark. Jones-Carey made it 21-4 with a free throw at the 5:09 mark, and though the lead briefly dipped under double-digits, the Golden Eagles took a 25-15 lead by the end of the first quarter. It seemed the ship had been righted for good midway through the second as Bekelja made it 39-22 with 4:25 left in the half. Tynita White tacked on a free throw to boost the lead to 49-31, and Polite drained a three-pointer just before the break to give Clarion a 52-35 edge heading into the locker room.

The lead fell into single-digits again at the 3:53 mark of the third quarter, after a jumper by Jamie Tabon cut Clarion’s advantage to 54-46. The Golden Eagles led by just six points at the end of the quarter and watched their lead dwindle to just one point with under two minutes remaining. They got a key stop with 58 seconds left when Polite stood up Tabon on a drive and forced a traveling violation, and Polite buried a free throw with 22 seconds left to make it a 76-72 lead. Laurel O’Barto scored with 18 seconds left to cut it to 76-74, but Polite knocked down two free throws down the stretch to finish things off.

MEN LOSE AGAIN

CLARION, Pa., – The Clarion University men’s basketball team lost at home Saturday evening to Pitt-Johnstown by a final score of 79-68. The loss moves the Blue and Gold to 5-15 overall (3-12 PSAC). The Golden Eagles return to action on Wednesday when they head to Greensburg to take on Seton Hill.

Manny Powell led the way for the Blue and Gold on offense, finishing with a team-high 17 points as well as a team-high three assists. BJ Andrews led the team in rebounds with eight to go with his ten points, while Jamani Pierce finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. The Golden Eagles shot 24-59 (40.7%) from the field, including 5-19 (26.3%) from beyond the three-point arc.

The first and second halves played out like mirror images of one another, with Clarion keeping pace and staying within striking distance for 20 minutes but not being able to get the extra push needed to take the lead in the end. The Golden Eagles started the first with points on successive possessions courtesy of Cam Grumley, Manny Powell, and Jamal Bailey to tie things at six apiece. The Panthers struck back with a series of big three-pointers to widen their lead to ten points, eventually holding on to a 42-31 edge at the half.

And though Clarion would have its chances in the second, they could not overcome the rebounding advantage of UPJ in the paint to seal the deal. The Panthers out-boarded the Golden Eagles 19-16 in the second half, including 14 points in the paint.

Clarion snagged a one-point lead courtesy of a Manny Powell jumper with just over nine minutes remaining, the above-mentioned Panthers and their presence in the paint proved to be the deciding factor as CU dropped another game at home.

WOMEN’S SWIMMING

PITTSBURGH, Pa., – The Clarion University women’s swimming and diving team took on the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon Saturday afternoon, wrapping up their two day competition against the city schools. The Golden Eagles return to action February 4th when they host the Clarion Invitational at Tippin Natatorium.

Christiana Sather took fourth overall in the one-meter diving portion, carding a final score of 252.95. Sather also took a third-place overall in the three-meter portion, recording a final score of 261.05. Emma Kehn took sixth overall in the three-meter while Autumn Fotta and Maranda Leidwinger took 9th and 10th, respectively.

Full Results:

In the swim portion, the team of Becca Yonek, Summer Dacheux, Jocelyn Colussy, and Morgan Manglaviti snagged a ninth-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay, touching out in 1:42.72. Dacheux also finished tenth in the 100 yard freestyle.

Letizia Collini took 16th in the 200-yard freestyle with a final time of 2:04.97.

MEN’S SWIMMING

PITTSBURGH, Pa., – The Clarion University men’s swimming and diving team took on the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon Saturday afternoon, wrapping up their two day competition against the city schools. The Golden Eagles return to action February 4th when they host the Clarion Invitational at Tippin Natatorium.

Cary Johns took second overall in the one-meter diving portion, carding a final score of 283.80. Johns also took a fourth-place overall finish in the three-meter events, recording a final score of 254.90. Colin Vest took second overall in the three-meter with a final score of 285.05. Vest also finished in third-place behind Johns in the one-meter.

Full Results:

In the swim portion, Nathan Porter swam to an 11th-place finish in the men’s 100-yard backstroke, carding a final time of 55.66. Teammate Josh Thurston finished right behind Porter with a final time of 56.82.

Ben Spencer swam to a ninth-overall finish in the 200-yard butterfly while Thurston took 5th overall in the 50 yard freestyle.


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