Comets show heart against Lions
Charles City improves to 3-0 with 69-65 non-conference boys basketball win over Clear Lake
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — It was one of those games for the Charles City Comets.
They had just allowed their opponent to finish the first half on a 20-0 run, and their resident deadeye was having a poor shooting night.
Usually, that doesn’t result in “Flying the W” by the end of the evening. But the Comets were able to claw the momentum away from the Clear Lake Lions and hold on to win, 69-65, in non-conference boys basketball action Monday.
Comet junior Cade Hemesath led all scorers with 24 points. Sophomore Jackson Molstead, who came down to earth after his “en fuego” 29-point performance in Charles City’s win over Algona on Saturday, struggled from beyond the 3-point arc as well as at the free-throw line, but still manufactured enough offense to score 13 points.
Molstead also had eight rebounds and six assists.
Junior Mike Cranshaw added 10 points and came up with several key defensive plays late in the fourth quarter to enable the Comets to start the season at 3-0.
Comet senior Jaden Foster had 10 rebounds.
Thomas Storbeck and Zach Lester each scored 21 for the Lions (2-1).
Clear Lake took advantage of several Comet turnovers to jump out to a 7-2 lead. But consecutive 3-pointers by Noah Schlader and Hemesath put Charles City in front, 9-7.
After Hakeem Sharief’s 3-point attempt bounced high off the rim before rattling in, Molstead stole the ensuing inbounds pass and scored a layup putting the Comets up, 24-13.
Clear Lake pressed early and into the second quarter, and for the most part paid the price as the Comets easily broke it and scored in the open court as the lead swelled to 32-18.
When the Lions pulled back into their half-court defense, that’s when things began to turn as Charles City was no longer getting easy baskets and couldn’t get anything to fall.
Storbeck’s 3-pointer gave Clear Lake a 33-32 lead before Drew Enke’s 12-foot bank-shot concluded the run and gave the Lions a 38-32 advantage at intermission.
Cranshaw’s 3-pointer tied it a 43 midway through the third quarter before Molstead’s 3-point buzzer-beater — his only trey of the night — put Charles City up, 50-49, going into the fourth.
When Schlader drew an offensive foul in the paint, it proved to be huge as it was the Lions’ sixth foul with more than seven minutes left in the game meaning that any subsequent foul would put the Comets in the bonus.
Schlader would later sink his two “double” bonus free throws to give the Comets a 65-60 lead with little more than 90 seconds left in regulation.
Enke’s 3-pointer drew the Lions within one (66-65) with 39.5 seconds left.
After Clear Lake forced a turnover, the Lions tried to isolate Lester on Molstead, who forced his counterpart to spin in the lane and loose the ball out of bounds.
Still, the Lions got another chance with less than 9 seconds on the clock. This time Lester tried to take Crashaw off the dribble only to have the ball go off his foot.
When Sharief made two free throws with 0.9 on the clock, the game and score was sealed.
The Comets will open their Northeast Iowa Conference schedule Friday when they travel to Crestwood.
COMETS 69, CLEAR LAKE 65
Scoring By Quarter
Clear Lake 13 25 11 16 — 65
Charles City 24 8 18 19 — 69
CHARLES CITY — Jack Molstead 13, Hakeem Sharief 7, Mike Cranshaw 10, Noah Schlader 9, Cade Hemesath 24, Jaden Foster 6.
CLEAR LAKE — Thomas Storbeck 21, Zach Lester 21, Drew Enke 12, Ryan Atkinson 2, Cody Matz 3, Evan Krause 1, Jared Penning 5.