Team Basketball Helps North Clarion Girls Stay Unbeaten with Win Over Clarion
(Photo: Haley Sherman was named the Hager Paving Player of the Game after scoring a season-high 15 points to go with seven rebounds)
Relisten to the game:
That unselfishness was on display again Friday night in a 57-34 road win over Clarion.
Seven different North Clarion players scored led by a trio of players in double digits.
The final stats show Haley Sherman as the leading scorer with a season-high 15 points – she also grabbed seven rebounds – while Mackenzie Bauer added 13 points to go with seven steals and eight boards and Abby Gatesman had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
But if you asked the players who were the leaders, they probably wouldn’t know.
“I think we’re all just so close,” Sherman, who was named the Hager Paving Player of the Game, said. “We’re all best friends on and off the court. It doesn’t matter who scores, as long as we win. Because we win as a team and (we) lose as a team.”
North Clarion head coach Terry Dreihaup loves the unselfish, team-first mentality of his players even if he sometimes wishes they would hog the ball a little bit more.
“It makes it extremely easy,” Dreihaup said of coaching a team that doesn’t care who scores. “But it also makes it extremely tough because sometimes we have a girls’ that’s hot – example Haley Sherman – and we don’t get her the ball maybe like we should. Or if Abby’s knocking down threes we don’t get her the ball like we should. But they’re extremely unselfish. They play great together. It’s been that way all year.”
Trust plays a big role in what North Clarion does both on offense and defense, and Sherman said that trust has been built up by years of playing together.
“We have played with each other so long that it’s just kind of like we know what each (player) is going to do,” Sherman said. “We know each other’s game, and we just work so well with each other.”
Nowhere does that trust and working well together show up as much as it does on the defensive end.
There were times Friday night where a Clarion player looked like she was going to have an opening after getting around her defender only to find another North Clarion player rotating over to help shut down the Lady Cats scoring opportunity.
“We just always have to help each other on D,” Sherman said. “If someone gets by one of us, we always have to help each other. Defense wins games. Terry (Dreiahup) always tells us that. So we just have to be on our feet and moving.”
The defensive effort Friday night, as on most nights, started with senior point guard Mackenzie Bauer.
Bauer isn’t the biggest player on the court – in fact, on most nights she is probably the smallest – but she plays much bigger than her 5-foot-1 or 5-foot-2 size as evidenced by the eight rebounds – five on the offensive glass – and seven steals.
“I think that makes her the difference between a whole lot of other players,” Dreihaup said. “She doesn’t have the 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-9 frame. She’s 5-1 or 5-2, and she’s got to make it up just by pure hustle. That’s what she does.”
Sherman, who does have the size at 5-11 or 6-foot, said watching the way Bauer plays rubs off on the rest of the team.
“Seeing her just got at it and run all over the court, it really boosts us,” Sherman said. “It’s like you know we can really do this and keep our intensity up.”
While Bauer is the catalyst for North Clarion, the She-Wolves height was also on display Friday night with Sherman, Gatesman (who enters at around 5-10) and Trinity Thompson (who also goes around 5-11, 6-foot) combining for 35 points, 28 rebounds and at least three blocked shots thanks to Thompson adding eight points, 10 rebounds and at least one blocked shot.
“We’re such a tall team that there are mismatches all around whether it was me, Trinity or Abby or Gwen (Siegel) even,” Sherman said. “We’re really trying to just work it into the mismatches and just take it to the hoop.”
Watch Sherman’s full postgame interview.
That height advantage sometimes plays tricks on the She-Wolves, though, as was the case in the first half when Clarion outrebounded North Clarion 24-20, including 17 to four on the offensive glass.
But that changed in the second half when the She-Wolves outrebounded the Lady Cats, 25-16, including 12-7 on the offensive end.
“The first thing I did at halftime is I told them that instead of trying to reach over the opposing team, they have to get in front of them and box out,” Dreihaup said. “I think they improved a little bit on that in the second half. Our height gives us such an advantage, and we can reach over people and not get called for fouls, but we need to do a better job of getting in front of people.”
Thanks in part to the rebounding edge, Clarion hung around for a good bit of the first half and trailed 11-5 at the end of the first quarter and 25-13 at halftime.
Buth North Clarion scored the first seven points of the second half an nine of the first 11 to pretty much put the game away and then started the fourth quarter on a 10-2 run to build the lead to 29 points, 50-21.
“We came out of halftime, we were up 12,” Dreihaup said. “And we score on the first play of the half, and then we get the ball to Abby who comes down and nails a three, and it’s a 5-0 run just like that. The girls just don’t get excited. I think a lot of that is just their experience and how much they have played together and how much varsity time they have. I’m just real proud of the way they played tonight.”
Kait Constantino paced Clarion with a game-high 22 points while adding six rebounds and two steals. Noel Anthony grabbed a team-best eight rebounds for the Lady Cats, while Jordan Best added four points and seven boards.
The win improved North Clarion to 13-0 on the year while Clarion fell to 8-6.
North Clarion returns to action Tuesday when its hosts Redbank Valley in a game that will be broadcast on exploreClarion and D9Sports.
Clarion is also back in action Tuesday at A-C Valley.
THE COACH AND THE SCRIBE POWERED BY THE REHAB CENTRE
Jess Quinn (The Coach) and Chris Rossetti (The Scribe) broke down the game and talked a little District 9 girls’ basketball in the Jan. 17 edition of The Coach and The Scribe Powered by the Rehab Centre. The Rehab Centre has six locations serving you, including in Clarion, Brookville, and Kittanning. The Rehab Centre, Chiropractors Caring for Health.
NORTH CLARION 57, CLARION 34
Score by Quarters
North Clarion 11 14 15 17 – 57
Clarion 5 8 8 13 – 34
NORTH CLARION – 57
Mackenzie Bauer 6 0-0 13, Addison Shaftic 0 0-0 0, Gwen Siegel 1 0-0 2, Gabby Schmader 2 0-1 4, Gabby DilDoce 1 0-0 3, Claire Kriebel 0 0-0 0, Abby Gatesman 4 2-2 12, Trinity Thompson 3 2-2 8, Haley Sherman 4 7-8 15, Emily Aites 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 11-13 57.
CLARION – 34
Payton Simko 2 0-0 4, Jenna Miller 0 0-0 0, Jordan Best 2 0-0 4, KK Girvan 1 2-3 4, Kait Constantino 7 8-11 22, Noel Anthony 0 0-0 0, Bekah Ketner 0 0-0 0, Eva Lerch 0 0-0 0, Ava Cherico 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 10-14 34.
Three-pointers: North Clarion 4 (Gatesman 2, Bauer, DiDolce).
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