The third time wasn’t a charm for Clear Lake in the Class 3A Sub-State final against Waverly (22-4). The Go-Hawks made 21 of 27 free throw attempts, compared to just 11 of 14 for the Lions, on their way to a 65-55 victory Monday night at the McLeod Center on the UNI campus in Cedar Falls.
“We gave them a heck of run,” said Clear Lake Coach Kevin Kahler. “I’m proud of our effort tonight.”
The Lions led twice early on, but then consistently found themselves trying to keep the game within reach. They successfully did that by playing a nearly even second quarter. After stopping a 7-0 Go-Hawk run which put them ahead by 10 midway through the second, the Lions’ leading scorer, Spencer Davidson, connected on a three-pointer to stem the tide. Davis Dieken added a basket and Davidson sunk another to pull within five, 28-23. Pete Swenson kept momentum with a basket late in the half to bring the Lions within five, 30-25. W-SR used two free throws for a 32-25 advantage at the half.
“We didn’t have all five guys on the same page offensively early,” said Kahler. “We had too many empty possessions in the first half and they were very disciplined defensively.”
The Lions were stuck on 25 for the first three-minutes of the third quarter and could get no closer than seven. The Go-Hawks extended their lead to 12 before the Lions again mounted a comeback. A Davidson three-pointer again ignited the team midway through the fourth. Dieken scored on the Lions’ next possession to pull the team within seven, 51-44. Dieken grabbed an offensive rebound and put back a shot which had the Lions thinking upset.
The number five rated Go-Hawks began spreading their offense and slowing the tempo in the final minutes of the game. Another Dieken basket and a Davidson free throw pulled the Lions within four, 54-50 with just over two-minutes to play.
The Lions were forced to start fouling in the final minute and one-half after W-SR converted a three-point play, 57-50. The Go-Hawks expertly sunk their free throws and pulled away for the 10-point win.
“It stings right now, but it was a heck of a season,” said Coach Kahler. “Our seniors left a legacy. When they reflect back, they’ll be proud of what they did. They had two Sub-State finals and were conference runner-up this season. They definitely left a mark on the program.”
Kahler continued, “The kids played extremely hard and we’re getting closer, but we’ve got to get over that hump. We’ve got a great group coming back and a JV team that lost only one game this year. We have the potential to be that good-- conference champs and get to the State tournament. We just need to keep making an investment.”
The Lions’ top three scorers in Monday’s game were juniors Spencer Davidson, with 23 points; Pete Swenson with 10; and Dieken with 10. Another junior, Chase Lester scored six. Seniors Gavin Sheakley and Bryson Hamilton had two points apiece. Sophomore Matt Stephany also scored two.
Swenson led the way with 11 rebounds and Lester was credited with three steals. Clear Lake won the battle on the boards, 32-27, however nine W-SR rebounds were made on offense and resulted in second-chance points. Sophomore Jake Velky was the leading scorer for the Go-Hawks. He finished with 25 points, while team leader Klinton Carlson had 14.
The Lions were hurt by 16 turnovers in the game, compared to nine for the Go-Hawks.
Clear Lake, which lost to Waverly-Shell Rock in the Sub-State final two years ago and in the district final last year, finished the season 16-8. The team will lose nine seniors: Luke Schiller, Gavin Sheakley, Bryson Hamilton, Paul Raner, Tre Strowder, Karlen Lu, Wyatt Winkelman, Sam Heck and Dylan Anderson.
CL 68, Humboldt 52
The Lions played their best defensive game of the year and toppled Humboldt 68-52 Friday night in the Regional final.
“Our on-the-ball defense was really good and we rebounded much better, especially in the second half,” said Coach Kevin Kahler. “Offensively, we took good shots and free throw shooting was a big key for us.”
The Lions sunk 27 of 34 free throws in the win.
Spencer Davidson connected on nine of - Read More Via e-Edition