CLARION – The Clarion women’s basketball team kept close through the first half but were unable to overcome Pitt-Johnstown, as the Mountain Cats defeated the Golden Eagles 75-64 in Tippin Gym on Saturday.

Clarion (3-12, 1-8 PSAC) will close out a three-game homestand on Wednesday when they host Gannon.

The first half was strictly a back-and-forth affair, with the Golden Eagles getting the best of the Mountain Cats in the first quarter and UPJ flipping the script in the second. The only period where Pitt-Johnstown had the clear advantage was the third, when they outscored Clarion 21-13 and increased their lead to nine points. The teams were virtually even in the fourth quarter as the Golden Eagles were unable to chip away at the lead any further.

Ke’Airah Massiah finished 6-of-9 from the field for 14 points, four rebounds and three steals. Celeste Ryman posted 13 points, including a trio of three-pointers, and Yndiah Bobo added 10 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals. The Golden Eagles shot 58.3 percent from the field in the first half but went cold in the second, going just 9-of-32 in the final 20 minutes.

UPJ started the game on a 7-3 run, but Massiah and Ryman erased that deficit quickly and tied the score at the 5:36 mark of the first quarter. Yasmin Lewis added an equalizer at the 2:03 mark to make it 14-14, and Massiah drained a fast break three-pointer from the corner to put the Golden Eagles ahead 17-16 with under a minute to go. Bobo added to the lead with a drive and a make early in the second quarter, and Clarion led as late as the final minute of the second half after Emily Brown made a three-pointer with 38 seconds left. Gabrielle Smith countered with a bucket of her own, putting UPJ up 36-35 heading into halftime.

Clarion cut the lead to one point early in the third quarter on a layup from Lewis, and eventually tied the score at 48 after Massiah swiped the ball from Alli McGrath and took it the other way for a fast break layup. UPJ countered with nine straight points to end the quarter, and the Mountain Cats never let the lead get below two possessions for the rest of the game.

Mercyhurst 68, Clarion 65

CLARION – A huge third-quarter run put the Golden Eagle women’s basketball team in position to complete a comeback win, but Mercyhurst overcame a late deficit of their own as the Lakers defeated Clarion 68-65 in Tippin Gymnasium.

The Golden Eagles trailed by seven points at halftime but flew past the Lakers in the third quarter, outscoring them 19-9 to take a lead heading into the final 10 minutes of action. They led by as many as seven points in the fourth quarter and led as late as the 3:31 mark, when Mercyhurst tied the score at 59 on a jumper by Lauren Lapertosa. The Lakers led by two points with 26 seconds remaining, but shots by Yndiah Bobo and Emily Hegedus with less than five seconds remaining fell errant.

Ke’Airah Massiah led all players with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, and was especially effective in driving to the hoop and drawing attention from the Lakers. Bobo and Yasmin Lewis both broke double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Mercyhurst was efficient from the floor, shooting 27-of-51 (.529) from the field but was just 9-of-20 (.450) from the free throw line.

The Lakers led by as many as eight points in the early part of the third quarter, but Clarion chipped away until finally breaking through and taking the lead. Emily Hegedus scored on a fast break layup at the 6:36 mark of the third to make it 42-36, and Celeste Ryman cut the Lakers’ lead to two points with a three-pointer that made it 42-40. She added the equalizer at the 3:51 mark, making two free throws to tie the score at 44, and Massiah added two on the next possession to put the Golden Eagles ahead. Lewis followed up with a layup at the 3:10 mark to make it 48-44, and Clarion led 50-47 at the end of the third.

She extended that lead to five points at the start of the fourth with a turnaround jumper, and Bobo scored at the 9:04 mark to make it a 54-47 advantage. The Lakers rallied from there with a 17-5 run, taking the lead with 2:52 remaining on a jumper by Lapertosa. Though the Golden Eagles cut it close they were never able to regain the lead.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

Pitt-Johnstown 67, Clarion 64

CLARION – Trailing by three with less than two minutes remaining in the game, freshman Aaron Hilzendeger hit a clutch jumper to pull the Golden Eagles within one, but were unable to capitalize in the reigning seconds and the Pitt-Johnstown Mountain Cats held on to win 67-64 in Tippin Gymnasium Saturday afternoon.

Clarion drops to 2-13 overall and 1-8 in the PSAC, while UPJ improves to 14-2 overall and 8-1 in league play.

The Mountain Cats held an eight- point lead with just 3:22 left in the first half, but the Golden Eagles mounted a 10-0 run to close out the half. Kaison Branch drilled a three as the time expired off of an assist from Elijah Cottrill giving Clarion a slim 32-30 lead at the break.

It would be a back and forth second half, until Pitt-Johnstown built up a 10 point lead with just over 4 minutes remaining. The Golden Eagles would climb back to make it close late, largely in part to a 9-0 run where Hilzendeger scored five of the nine points. Clarion had a chance late but a pair of turnovers put the nail in the coffin for the Blue and Gold.

Stevan Rodriguez had a team high 15 points to go along with a team high seven rebounds, while Kaison Branch added 11 points and six boards of his own. Big man James Price chipped in 10 points and three rebounds, while Godspower Ogide added a career high eight points in 15 minutes of work.

Pitt-Johnstown was paced by steady big man John Paul Kromka who had a game-high 19 points, while adding seven rebounds.

For the afternoon, Clarion shot 51-percent (27-of-53) from the floor but just 4-of-13 (31-percent) from three-point range while Pitt-Johnstown shot 46-percent (27-of-59) from the floor and 4-of-9 (44-percent) from behind the arc.

Mercyhurst 86, Clarion 52

CLARION - Mercyhurst’s Trystan Pratapas and Cameron Gross dropped a team-high 15 points as the Lakers rolled to a road victory over the Clarion Golden Eagles on Wednesday night, 86-52.

The hot shooting Lakers were in control from the start, building a 54-27 halftime lead behind 65-percent shooting from the field and 69-percent shooting from beyond the arc in the first half.

Mercyhurst out-rebounded Clarion 33-23 on the night, while shooting 43-percent from the floor in the second half and Clarion just could not slow Laker attack. Mercyhurst shot 56-percent (30-of-54) from the field on the day and 60-percent (12-of-20) from long range.

The Golden Eagles were led by steady senior forward Stevan Rodriguez, who had a team-high 13 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes of work. Freshman Jordan Agyemang added eight points and two rebounds, while Elijah Cottrill, Godspower Ogide and Kaison Branch all added five points to the cause. A host of Golden Eagles ended the night with four points, including James Price, Jarrod Stukes and Jaiquil Johnson.

Head Coach Damian Pitts emptied the bench, with every player seeing a substantial amount of minutes in the contest.