by Marianne Gasaway
Clear Lake completed its historic season with a final four finish at the Class 3A State Basketball Tournament in Des Moines. The Lions wrapped up a 24-2 campaign with a 67-49 loss to Winterset in the 3A consolation game Friday morning.
Winterset hustled and harangued its way past the Lions to earn its second third-place finish in school history.
The 2018-19 Lion team asserted itself as the top team in school history by being the first of four State-qualifying teams to win more than one game in Des Moines.
The Huskies (18-7) forced 18 turnovers before halftime and led by double-digits from early in the first quarter to the end.
The Lions came out cold and never really warmed up against Winterset. Clear Lake’s usually potent three-point game was missing, as the team hit just one of 10 attempts in the first half. The connected on just under 21 percent of three-point attempts in the game.
Winterset shot with 44 percent accuracy in the game, while Clear Lake made 35 percent of its attempts.
The quickness of the Huskies was evident early on, as they rushed out to a 15-5 first quarter lead, scoring 13 points off turnovers. By halftime the lead was 17, 35-18.
The second half was more of the same, with the Huskies holding a 26-point lead in the closing minutes of the third quarter.
The entirety of the Lion line-up got to run the Wells Fargo floor, as Coach Jeremy Ainley pulled his starters in the final period. All exited to the standing ovation of Lions fans who showed their appreciation for a memorable season.
Clear Lake was led by 13 points from Drew Enke and 11 from Carson Toebe. Tate Storbeck put in nine-points, and Ryan Thomas and Kody Kearns both came off the bench to score six apiece. Andrew Formanek and Jack Barragy each had two points.
Jaylen DeVries pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Kearns grabbed six.
Winterset was paced by 24 points from junior guard Easton Darling. Casey Kleemeier and Casey Young each added 14.