(Above) The Holck sisters, senior Chelsey Holck (with the ball) and sophomore Macey Holck got some floor time together during the Hampton-Dumont game. -Reporter photos by Chris Barragy
by Marianne Gasaway
Depth has certainly contributed to Clear Lake’s top five ranking in Class 3A all season— but never more so than Saturday night. The Lions began post-season play with just seven girls in uniform, as COVID-19 exposure forced most of the varsity team to be quarantined days earlier.
The small, but mighty Lion team defeated Hampton-Dumont, 48-32, to advance to the Region 4 semifinal game against Iowa Falls-Alden Wednesday night, Feb. 17. The Lion roster will be back to full strength for the 7 p.m. game in the CLHS gymnasium.
“This is one of my favorite wins,” said Head Coach Bart Smith after the game. “We expected to meet a fired up team and I am very proud of the girls who were on the floor.”
Just two of the seven girls suited up for the game were regular starters for the Lions during the regular season. However, Smith noted all had seen good amount of varsity game time on the way to Clear Lake’s 15-1 regular season record. The team followed the game plan and delivered the all-important win.
“We knew we had a mis-match inside and they did a good job finding Xada (Johnson),” explained Smith.
Johnson is just a freshman, but she led the Lions with 18-points and had nine rebounds against Hampton-Dumont. She was six-for-nine from the field and an impressive six-for-six at the free throw line.
Senior starters Chelsey Holck and Ali Maulsby were steady, calming influences on the floor. Holck finished with 12 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. Maulsby ran the floor for the team and dished out four assists to go along with her own three points. She also had seven rebounds and recorded a steal and a block.
Sophomores Jordan Mayland and Annicka Nelson contributed seven and five points respectively. Brooklyn Eden, another sophomore, added three points and Macey Holck played but did not score.
As expected, the Bulldogs kept the game much more competitive than they did during the regular season against the Lions.
After a tight first quarter, which ended with the Lions up by a single basket, 11-9, the Lions went on a 10-0 run to start the second quarter. A Bulldog basket and free throw in the final minute before the half made the score 21-12 Clear Lake at halftime.
The Lions continued to settle into the game after the break and outscored H-D 23-14 in the third. The quarter featured five three-pointers by the Lions; two apiece from Mayland and Holck.
Only four points were scored by the Lions in the final period, but defensive pressure prevented the Bulldogs from gaining any momentum.
Coach Smith said he expects his team to “play with passion” tonight (Wednesday, Feb. 17) when they host Iowa Fall-Alden in a 7 p.m. game. Due to the Lions’ regular season ending early because of COVID, Clear Lake only played IF-A once. The Lions were 57-38 winners in a Dec. 22 contest in Iowa Falls.