DES MOINES — Relatively speaking, Caitlin Clark was chilly.
“But shooters have got to keep shooting,” she said.
One of the most highly coveted girls’ basketball players in the nation, Clark heated up after regulation and led 11th-ranked West Des Moines Dowling past No. 2 Waukee in triple-overtime, 75-70, in a Class 5A state quarterfinal Monday at Wells Fargo Arena.
The 5-foot-11 junior point guard finished 14 of 39 from the field, 6 of 8 in overtime. Her 42 points is a 5A record.
Clark is ranked No. 4 nationally among juniors by ESPN.
She’s in no rush to make a decision on her future.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I wish I did. Right now, I’m focusing on my high-school season.”
Clark named nine colleges still on her list. Three of them are in state — Iowa, Iowa State and Drake.
The remainder of the suitors are Notre Dame, Oregon, Oregon State, Duke, Florida and Texas.
Dowling (17-7) led 70-68 when Clark was called for a charge, her fifth foul, with 1:02 left in the third overtime.
Waukee tied the game, then Grace Gaber made four straight free throws to put the Maroons in front for good.
“I knew I had to step up and be confident with Caitlin out of the game,” Gaber said. “We go through end-of-game situations all the time in practice.”
But how many of those end-of-game situations don’t include Clark?
“None of them,” she said.
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A Central Iowa 5A party
The Central Iowa Metro League won all of the swing games in the regional finals, giving the league seven qualifiers in the eight-team 5A field.
And when West Des Moines Valley outlasted Iowa City High in overtime Monday, it assured an all-CIML semifinal round, and a CIML champion for the sixth time in seven years.
“The competition here is so much fun to play in,” Valley’s Alex Honnold said. “Every team can shoot, and every team can drive.”
Last year was an all-Mississippi Valley Conference final — Iowa City West beat Iowa City High — but it’s all CIML again now. Since the advent of the five-class format in 2013, the CIML has had 18 semifinalists, the MVC nine, the Little Hawkeye Conference one.
A team without a wealth of depth anyway, Marion will try to defend its Class 4A championship with an even shorter rotation.
Indians Coach Corby Laube confirmed Sunday night that the team will be without senior Sophie Willette for unspecified reasons all week. Top-ranked Marion (21-1) faces No. 14 Cedar Rapids Xavier (14-8) in a 4A quarterfinal at 11:45 Tuesday morning.
“It’s unfortunate,” Laube said. “Randi (Wright) will move into the starting lineup, and we’ve been working with some of the other girls. We’ll have people ready. (Freshman) Sadie (Struchen) has been getting a lot of reps.
“We’ll still be riding our veterans a lot.”
Willette averaged 7.7 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.
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