Clear Lake boys eye a return to State Tourney

Clear Lake 2019-20 Boys Varsity basketball team - Members of the 2019-20 Clear Lake varsity basketball team include: (front L-R) Jaylen DeVries, Ryan Thomas, Jackson Loge, Nick Danielson, Noah Petersen, Mitchell Raber, Carson Toebe, (back L-R) PJ Feuerbach, Carson Krefft, Eric Ritter, Andrew Formanek, Coaches Tim Meyer, Richie Ellis, Jeremey Ainley, Mike Oimoen, Austin Pehl, Brody Kuhlemeier, Kody Kearns, Jackson Barragy, and Jacob Kerr. - Reporter photo by Chris Barragy.

The bar is set high for the Clear Lake boys basketball team this season.  And that’s just the way they like it.

“We are back-to-back conference champs and we think with the guys and experience we have returning, we should have a chance to compete (at State) again,” said Head Coach Jeremey Ainley, who is in his sixth year leading the team.

Last season the Lions were conference champions with a perfect 13-0 record and capped the season with a fourth place finish at the State Tournament and a 24-2 record.

“We are experienced and very athletic.  We have some good size and strength and will look to use that to our advantage,” said the coach.

The Lions have eight returning letter winners on their 2019-20 squad.

Sophomore Carson Toebe and senior Jaylen DeVries, lead the returners.  Toebe was a Second Team All-North Central Conference selection, while DeVries was chosen for the Third Team. Toebe is a guard and DeVries plays forward for the Lions.

Seniors Jack Barragy and Nick Danielson also return in the guard position, while seniors Ryan Thomas, Brody Kuhlmeier and Kody Kearns are all returning forwards.  Junior Andrew Formanek is also a returning letter winner as a forward.

“We have a lot of returning experience and will need guys that didn’t have big roles step into bigger roles this year,” said Coach Ainley.  “We are looking at Andrew and Carson to take the next step and guys like Jack, Jaylen, Nick, Ryan and Brody to expand on what they were able to do last year.  We have a couple of younger guys that we look to come up to the varsity and add some depth.”

The goal is always to win the North Central Conference and advance to the State tournament, according to Ainley.

“If we take care of our number one goal, we will put ourselves in a good position to have a chance at our second goal,” said Ainley, adding that he considers the Lions to be the favorites to win the NCC based on their experience.

Helping Ainley to lead the Lions to another outstanding season is junior varsity coach Mike Oimoen, freshman coach Richie Ellis, and volunteer coaches Tim Meyer and Austin Pehl.

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