(Above) Clear Lake senior Gretchen Jones applies pressure to Monticello’s point guard during the State game. -Reporter photo by Chris Barragy
The Clear Lake girls basketball program is saying good-bye to a group seniors which captured two outright North Central Conference championships and made three State appearances, making them one of the most successful groups of seniors to go through the program.
The Lions ended their 2017-18 season Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the State quarterfinals. Monticello handed the Lions a 61-50 defeat.
“I am really proud of our girls for getting back to the state tournament. When a team makes it to Des Moines, it is all about getting the right match-ups. Monticello was a very good team that had a lot of height. I thought they had a really good chance to get to the title game with their senior guards and height of their team,” said Coach Bart Smith. “Our game against them was a game of runs and missed opportunities. At State, a team must take advantage of momentum and capitalize on it. I thought we got control of the game in the middle of the third quarter when we cut it to two, but we just couldn’t get a defensive stop and then a score to take the lead.”
The Panthers led by as many as nine-points in the third quarter and again with just under five-minutes remaining, but each time the Lions fought back. After closing the gap to three-points, 51-48, midway through the final quarter Lion shooting turned cold. Meanwhile, the Panthers began to pull away and sealed the deal with free throws down the stretch.
Clear Lake jumped out to a 3-2 opening lead, but that was the only time the Lions were ahead.
“We asked all year from the girls to play your role and be unselfish players to help this team get back to State and win a first-round game. We came up short on winning that game down here. However, it cannot be overlooked of what this group of girls and seniors accomplished this year,” said Coach Smith.
“I thought our seniors did a great job of leading this group with their unselfish play and acceptance of everyone’s talents.”
Senior Jordyn Barragy ended her high school career with her best performance.
“Jordyn was the best player on the floor this afternoon (against Monticello). She had her best performance on the big stage, and this game shows why she is such a tough matchup for other teams.”
Barragy posted a double-double in the game. The senior scored 20 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. Sara Faber put in 12 points and had eight rebounds for the Lions.
Seniors Gretchen Jones and Chloe Mueller also had strong performances. Jones steadily handled the ball out front for the Lions, while Mueller demonstrated her defensive skills and hit a key three-point shot in the fourth quarter to keep her team in the hunt.
The Lions return five varsity players next season, including sophomores Sara Faber and Lexi Fasbender, who each gained All-Conference and All-District honors. Faber was also an All-Region, as well as Iowa Print Sports Writers Association All-State selection.
The Lions ended the season with a record of 22-3.