By John Burbridge email@example.com
MASON CITY — The Charles City Comets played the No. 1-ranked Clear Lake Lions with the heart of a lion during Tuesday’s rescheduled Class 3A-Substate 2 final at Mason City High School.
Looking to avenge a 27-point regular-season loss and to snap Charles City’s 63-year drought of sending a team to the Boys State Championships, the Comets controlled much of the first half while taking a 26-22 lead at intermission.
But the Lions — like they did out of the gate during the previous game between the two teams — got hot from long range while scoring 27 points in the third quarter on way to a 63-53 victory.
For Clear Lake, it was its 24th win of the season coupled with no losses as the Lions will head to state tourney next week in Des Moines likely the No. 1-seed in the Class 3A bracket.
Lion freshman Carson Toebe, who was Clear Lake’s leading scorer in the regular-season game against the Comets, scored a game-high 24 points in the final. Five of Toebe’s six 3-pointers were hit during the second-half surge.
Senior guard Drew Enke added 15 points for the Lions, who — like many of the fans who drove into the neutral site at Mason City High School — found it tough sledding in the first half against a Comet defense that picked it up a notch during the postseason.
Like their North Central Conference rival Webster City in the semis, the Lions were stymied against the Comets’ zone, man-to-man and full-court press while committing an array of turnovers, mostly in the first half.
The Comets were also patient on offense and got more than their share of layups off half-court sets.
Trailing 11-10 late in the first quarter, Clear Lake was able to get a stop, rebound retrieval and outlet to Enke to push it up the floor for a possible last-second shot. But Comet junior Marcus Cranshaw was able to deftly poke the ball away from Enke and release a true shot before the buzzer giving the Comets what appeared to be a 14-10 lead before it was ruled Cranshaw’s foot was on the line switching it to a 2-point shot.
Later, a 3-point shot from Bradley Andrews helped put the Comets up by 6 (24-18) with 2:15 left in the half.
Andrews, who is due to be back next year, scored 18 points, had double-figures in rebounds, had two blocked shots, and drew a pair of offensive fouls.
With the Comets down by 6 late in the game, Andrews almost threw down an ESPN Top 10-like tomahawk dunk after getting a step on his defender only to draw too much iron — if Andrews were able to get it down, Charles City fans would have likely erupted with the game’s momentum in the balance.
In his final game as a Comet, Jack Molstead led the team with 19 points. He also pulled down eight rebounds amid sizable Lions, and had three steals.
Molstead will graduate from Charles City as the Comets all-time leader in points and assists.
Charles City, who’s earlier loss to Clear Lake was the start of a three-game skid that led to a 1-3 record, finished with a 14-8 record.
CLEAR LAKE 63, CHARLES CITY 53
Scoring By Quarters
CHARLES CITY 13 13 16 11 — 53
CLEAR LAKE 10 12 27 14 — 63
CHARLES CITY — Jack Molstead 19, JJ Ritter 2, Marcus Cranshaw 4, Colton Slinger 2, Bradley Andrews 18, Tait Arndt 8.
CLEAR LAKE — Drew Enke 15, Andrew Formanek 2, Kody Kearns 4, Tate Storbeck 7, Jaylen DeVries 9, Carson Toebe 24.