by Marianne Gasaway
The Lions effectively shook the dust of a two-week break and got 2022 off to a great start with wins over Webster City and Forest City Friday and Saturday. Clear Lake is now 6-2 overall and 2-2 in the North Central Conference.
The Lions are home for their next two contests. NCC foes St. Edmond (1-4, 4-5) and Algona (1-4, 4-6) come to town Friday and Tuesday.
CL 58, Webster City 50
The Lions kicked off the second half of their season Friday, Jan. 7, with a 58-50 win on the road at Webster City (3-2, 5-3).
“It was our first game back after not playing for a couple weeks, so we knew there would be a little rust but I thought we had a good couple weeks of preparation and came out with good energy and defended at a high level,” said Coach Jeremey Ainley.
The Lions took a 14-9 lead into the end of the first quarter and continued to execute for a 27-21 lead at halftime.
While dealing with some foul trouble, a couple silly turnovers and missing some bunnies on offense the Lions were able to take control late in the third quarter and into the fourth with a 13-2 run.
“Sparked by a lot of bench guys, we were able to get up as much as 15,” said the coach. “We had some silly turnovers and a couple ill-advised shots to let them cut it to seven late, but pulled out a 58-50 win on the road. Overall, it was a great first game back from break - one that we led from start to finish.
Freshman Thomas Meyer had an outstanding night with 16 points on 8/9 shooting. Jett Neuberger gave the team a spark on offense and finished with 11 points and Carson Toebe provided some big shots at critical times to finish with 10 points.
The coach noted Travaughn Luyobya had a nice game defensively and on offense continued to distribute the ball with eight assists. The junior scored four points. Jagger Schmitt chipped in six, Joe Faber seven, and Dylan Little and Tucker Jones each scored two points.
Overall, it was a nice win and we’re happy to be back playing,” said Coach Ainley. “I am really happy with our post play -- establishing and scoring in the post. A great team effort.”
CL 68, Forest City 47
The Lions wasted no time racking up another road win. The next day they were at Forest City (5-5) for a non-conference contest.
“For the first time in my coaching career we were able to beat Forest City at Forest City,” exclaimed Coach Ainley. “It always seems like crazy stuff happens up there. It’s a Saturday afternoon in January, not a buzz in the air like a week night; road game after a long road game the night before; and some players for them that haven’t made shots all year start throwing everything in. Well, this year we finally got the proverbial monkey off our back.”
The Lions started out a little slow and were down 15-11 after one quarter.
“We started to get the ball inside a little more and get our press going a little more in the second quarter,” said Ainley. The result was a 28-24 lead going into halftime.
“In the second half we challenged our guys to get to the rim more and continue to get the ball inside more and they did,” said the coach.
The Lions built the lead to 12 going into the fourth and blew the game wide open in the final period.
“Overall, it was a tremendous team effort -- we had some great individual efforts and great team stats with 21 assists and only four turnovers and 20 offensive boards,” said Ainley.
Carson Toebe led the way with 15 points and eight rebounds. Keegan Ihde gave the team a lift off the bench with 11 points and Tucker Jones did the same with nine points and 11 rebounds. Thomas Meyer and Jagger Schmitt were also solid on offense with nine and seven points respectively. Travaughn Luyobya supported the win with nine assists and no turnovers.