Clear Lake advances to meet IF-A in Regional tonight
Garner-Hayfield-Ventura gave the fifth rated Clear Lake girls all they could handle for nearly three quarters, but the inevitable run by the Lions helped them earn a 64-38 victory in the Class 3A Region 2 opening round Saturday, Feb. 10.
The final score was not indicative of the close play throughout much of the contest.
The Cardinals were the first to score, as Jayden Frank swooshed a three-pointer, but the Lions quickly followed with a two. GHV stretched the lead to seven, 9-2, with two-minutes to go in the first quarter and ended the quarter up 12-7. The Cards did much of their scoring from the free throw line. In the first half they made 11 of 12 free throws on their way to a 22-11 lead with 3:08 remaining before the break. The Lions roared back late in the half to trail by one, 22-21.
“Our second quarter finish was a key to the game,” said Clear Lake Head Coach Bart Smith. The Lions also changed their press, which slowed the Cards down and helped to narrow the scoring gap. When asked what he told his team at halftime, Smith shared that he told his players not to panic. “You can’t get it back in one play. Your run is coming. You can’t panic— and I think we were.”
GHV continued to execute its game plan in the second half, playing hard and keeping the game close in the early going of the third quarter.
A basket by Jordyn Barragy, followed by a three-pointer by Chloe Mueller put the Lions ahead, 31-24, with 4:55 remaining in the third and capped a 20-2 run by the Lions from the 3:08 mark of the second quarter.
Jade Hanson broke the run for GHV with a free throw after her made basket, making the score 31-27. The Cards got as close as 35-31 before fouls began to send Lions to the line.
Clear Lake’s Sara Faber found her stroke in the second half, scoring 22 of her team-high 32 points in the final 16-minutes. Ten of her points came on free throws. The sophomore also pulled down 10 rebounds for her team and had three steals.
Coach Smith also praised the play of Julia Merfeld, who made key free throws down the stretch. Merfeld came off the bench and was five-for-six from the line, helping her to 13 points in the game.