Go-Hawks dash Lions’ post-season hopes

For the fourth straight year, the Clear Lake boys basketball team’s season came to an end at the hands of Waverly-Shell Rock Thursday, Feb. 27, in Mason City.

The Go-Hawks’ Jake Velky sank two free throws with 3.3 seconds left to give fifth ranked (3A)W-SR a 60-58 win over fourth ranked Clear Lake.

“It was one of those games where every possession was important.  I knew it was going to come down to the wire tonight; we just had too many mistakes at critical times,” said Clear Lake Coach Kevin Kahler.

The Lions had a slow start to the game-- which they have experienced many times during their one-loss regular season, but they righted the ship in the second quarter.  They outscored W-SR 19-11 to take a 17-26 halftime lead.

The Lions trailed by as many as six points in the third quarter before their shooting began to heat up.  Chase Lester drained a three-pointer to pull the Lions back to within three, 39-36, and Spencer Davidson tied the score with another three pointer on the following possession.  Davis Dieken sunk a three to knot the score at 43-43 with 1:15 to go in the third.

The Lions seemed ready to take control midway through the fourth, when a Pete Swenson three-pointer which tied the game at 49-49 was followed by a three-pointer from Jack Abbas.  More baskets from Swenson and Davis Dieken pushed the Lions’ lead to four, 56-52 with 2:30 remaining.

The Go-Hawks pulled back to within two, 56-54 with 2:24 remaining and sparked a run which was the difference.  

Davidson was fouled in the act of shooting and connected on one of two free throws to put the Lions back up by three.  However, W-SR’s leading scorer, Jake Velky, made his first field goal to pull within one, 57-56 with two-minutes to play.

Swenson was fouled and sunk one of two free throws, 58-56, but the Go-Hawks refused to stay down.  They scored again to even the score, 58-58, heading into the final minute.

The Lions had the ball and a plan, when W-SR tipped the ball away from Davidson and raced to the other end of the floor for the final :35 seconds.  With :13 to go, Velky put up a shot in the lane which bounced off the rim, but he was fouled.  With 3.3 on the clock he made a free throw to put the Go-Hawks ahead, 60-58.

The Lions inbounded the ball, but a long shot launched by Davidson fell short and the Lions’ season was over.

“I thought we had a good plan going into it; we just fell short,” said Coach Kahler after the game.  “Our game plan was to take Velky out of it, and I thought we did.  He’s averaging 18 a game, and we held him to nine, seven of which came from the free throw line, so I was pleased with our performance on him.  Waverly had some kids step up and make shots that they don’t normally hit.”

The Go-Hawks also sunk nine of 12 free throws, compared to 4/9 by the Lions.  Clear Lake also had nine turnovers, which were costly in the two-point game.

“We had our opportunities, but we couldn’t close it out,” added Kahler.  “Waverly is probably going to make it to State, which makes this loss even tougher.  Knowing that we were this close is disappointing.  We didn’t finish this thing out like we’d hoped, but it was still a great season.  Winning our first conference championship since 1991, having a 19 game winning streak, and being ranked number one in the state for three weeks are all highlights that these kids will remember for a long time.”

Davidson paced the team with 18 points, while Swenson added 16.  Chase Lester and Davis Dieken each had eight, while Matt Stephany put in five points and Abbas had three.  All are seniors, with the exception of Stephany.

“We wouldn’t have had this kind of a season without the 10 seniors.  They were great leaders all season long, and they will be missed,” said Kahler.

In addition to those scoring in the game, the team included seniors Jake Iverson, Mark Peterson, Alex Webb, Garrett Kunzman and JJ Theobald.

Dieken had a team-high six rebounds in the game.  Swenson and - Read More Via e-Edition

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