The Lions went to Iowa Falls Friday night looking to avenge the loss the Cadets handed them in the first game of the season. They didn’t get the win, but a much better outing has made Coach Kevin Kahler and his team believers that the third time may be the charm if the Lions meet IF-A on the tournament trail.
Back on Nov. 27, the Cadets topped the Lions 67-58 in the season-opener.
Friday IF-A, 9-2 overall and leading the North Central Conference, escaped with a 59-57 victory.
“I thought we had a good game plan going into it; our execution in the first half was pretty good,” said Coach Kevin Kahler. “Rebounding, turnovers, and shot selection hurt us, though.”
The Lions started hot and raced to a 21-15 first quarter lead. The second quarter was more even, but Clear Lake still held a 31-24 lead at the halftime break.
In the second half the Lions began to commit some errors and let the home team finally move ahead 40-39 after three. The Cadets stretched the lead to as much as seven with 2:54 left in the game, but the Lions would not quit.
“I thought we did a decent job of executing during the last two to three minutes, but they hit some key free throws down the stretch,” noted Kahler.
The Lions also did a good job at the free throw line, sinking seven of nine attempts. The Cadets were 14/19 from the charity stripe.
Gavin Sheakley and Spencer Davidson were both 2/2 from the line on their way to 14 point performances. Bryson Hamilton topped the team with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Pete Swenson also provided the Lions with strong inside play. He pulled down 10 rebounds to go with his five points. The junior also blocked two shots and dished out a team-high four assists.
Also scoring for the Lions was Matt Stephany with five and Davis Dieken with four points.
“There’s a good chance that we’ll see them again in the tournament. If we do a better job of taking care of the basketball, taking good shots, and rebounding, then I think we’ll have a good chance,” added Coach Kahler. “We just need to clean up some of the little things.”
The Lions (7-3) are at home Friday to take on Hampton-Dumont (0-11).