Lions cool down Comets 67-60
By John Burbridge
CLEAR LAKE — While spending a good portion of last season as the No. 1-ranked Class 3A Iowa boys basketball team according to the Associated Press, the Clear Lake Lions didn’t lose until they got to the state finals.
This season, the Lions suffered their first setback a little earlier when they dropped their opener to West Fork.
Probably best to get that first loss out of the way if you’re not destined to go undefeated.
Since then the Lions have won six straight and are on the cusp of breaking in the AP Top 10.
Clear Lake’s latest victory was Tuesday when it cooled down an also-streaking Charles City Comets team in a 67-60 final.
Last season, the Lions eliminated the Comets in the substate final but had to come back from a 4-point halftime deficit before punching their ticket to Des Moines.
On Tuesday, the Comets also came out of the gate strong and led 20-19 after the first quarter.
But the Lions, who can score points in bunches while aggressively asserting themselves in the paint and hitting consistently from beyond the 3-point arc, outscored the Comets 22-9 during a second-quarter surge and kept their opponents at bay throughout the second half.
Charles City junior Bradley Andrews scored a game-high and personal season-high 26 points — 8 of which came on four emphatic dunks. One of Andrews’ throw-downs came after seizing a third-straight offensive rebound after three-straight layups attempts rimmed out. The effort got the visiting Charles City faithful out of their seats, but the subsequent long inbounds pass to Clear Lake senior Kody Kearns who had already released down court resulted in an immediate layup at the other end, taking back the 2 points while igniting the second-quarter surge.
Kearns had 18 points to lead a quartet of Lions in double-figures which included Carson Toebe (16), Jaylen DeVries (15) and Jack Barragy (10).
Junior Kaden Barry was the only other Comet in double-figures as he scored a career-high 12 points on four 3-point shots.
The Lions led by as many as 16 points in the third quarter, but the Comets managed to stay within single digits for much of the fourth quarter.
A driving layup attempt from Comet senior Marcus Cranshaw would have pulled the Comets within 5 late in the fourth quarter, but Cranshaw took a hard fall while being defended on the play with no foul being called.
To make things worse, Cranshaw — a regular starter and the team’s leader in assists — needed to be helped to the bench where ice was placed on his knee.
After starting the season with three losses followed by four wins, the Comets are 4-4 overall. Next game for Charles City is Friday when it hosts Northeast Iowa Conference foe Waukon. At 3-4 going into Tuesday, the Indians will by vying for their first NEIC win after three setbacks.
The Comets are undefeated (4-0) in NEIC play.
CLEAR LAKE 67, CHARLES CITY 60
Scoring By Quarters
CC 20 9 14 17 — 60
CL 19 22 11 15 — 67
CHARLES CITY — JJ Ritter 4, Ian Collins 8, Marcus Cranshaw 5, Bradley Andrews 26, Kaden Barry 12, Tait Arndt 5
CLEAR LAKE — Carson Toebe 16, Jack Barragy 10, Kody Kearns 18, Jaylen DeVries 15, Ryan Thomas 2, Andrew Formanek 6