The Clear Lake girls jumped into the deep end of the competitive pool and came out encouraged about the prospects for the 2013-14 season.
The Lions, ranked ninth in a Class 3A pre-season poll, gave fifth ranked (5A) Mason City, all it could handle in the season opener for both teams Monday, Nov. 25. The Mohawks escaped with a 49-38 victory.
“It was a good first game test for us,” said Clear Lake Head Coach Bart Smith. “I thought we competed the whole game and had great effort on the defensive end. We missed some early shots in the first quarter which made us play catch up the rest of the game.”
The Mohawks jumped out to a quick lead and held the Lions to just one basket in the first quarter. After that, the two teams were evenly matched. Each scored 13 in the second quarter, but Mason City’s strong start provided the home team with a 22-15 halftime lead.
“The third quarter I thought is when our girls settled down and played some good basketball,” said Coach Smith, noting early turnovers and missed shots plagued his team. “Mason City is always a great defensive team and I was pleased with how we attacked their defense and we were able to get them in foul trouble and get to line. Shots just didn’t fall.”
The Lions made a late run, rattling off seven straight points to pull to within seven in the fourth quarter. The Mohawks converted free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Senior Logan Anderson was the top scorer for the Lions. She put in 12 points, including a three-pointer and was 5/8 at the free throw line. Trudy Peterson poured in nine points, lifted by a pair of three-pointers. Lindsey Loudenburg finished with eight points and Bailey Kibsgaard had six. Madison Faber scored three points.
Emily Phalen was a defensive standout for the Lions, grabbing a team-high seven rebounds, making two steals and getting a blocked shot. Loudenburg pulled down six rebounds and Katie Hewett had five.
“We learned a lot from that game and we will move forward in a positive direction knowing that if we made shots early we had a chance to beat a highly ranked team at their place,” added Coach Smith.
The Lions will host Humboldt this Friday, Dec. 6, and Webster City will come to town Tuesday, Dec. 10.