MUSCATINE — They weren’t worried when they got down six points at halftime. They weren’t necessarily worried when their deficit grew to nine at the start of the third quarter.
The opponent was playing their pace, and the Clear Creek Amana Clippers felt eventually that was going to pay off in the end. Which it did.
“We took their best shot there,” Coach Brandon Clubb said, after his team beat Davenport Assumption, 79-66, in a fun and sometimes frenetic Class 3A boys’ basketball substate final. “They made a run, but we knew we could keep scoring. We weren’t afraid of that. It was just could they keep up with us?”
In the end, that answer was no.
Clear Creek Amana (19-5) qualifies for next week’s state tournament for the third time, the first since back-to-back appearances in 1992 and 1993. Pairings should be figured out by participating coaches and released Thursday.
These Clippers lost their first two games of the season and were just 4-3 at the holiday break. But they got better in the new year, obviously, shared the Wamac Conference West Division championship and are headed to Des Moines.
Can you believe it?
“Honestly, yes, I can,” said guard Tyler Schrepfer. “I knew we had (the capability) from the beginning, it was just a matter of coming together and playing as a team. Getting everybody working together all the time. I think we’ve finally done that. This proved.”
Clear Creek Amana is one of three teams from the Wamac Conference to make it to state, joining Center Point-Urbana and Mount Vernon.
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“In the back of my mind, I knew we could do it, especially offensively,” Clubb said. “We just had to get some things straight defensively. We might play in the toughest 3A league in the state. Now we’ve got three schools in. So every night we are out there battling. Our kids never lost faith. I told them this week that everything we’ve done up to this point has helped us.”
CCA is dangerous offensively because it can spread you out and have multiple guys take you to the hole. Multiple guys can shoot it from distance, too.
Christian Withrow had a game-high 26 points here, with the majority of those coming on drives or in transition. Mike Potter added 20 and Schrepfer 16.
Assumption (19-5), which beat CCA by 17 points last season in a substate opener, used an 8-0 run by all-state forward Sean Peeters to take a 40-34 halftime lead. Peeters had 20 first-half points, 18 in the second quarter.
The Knights’ edge grew to 45-36 early in the third, then CCA took over. A steal and layup from Schrepfer gave the Clippers a 55-53 lead going to the fourth, and it was all Clear Creek Amana the final eight minutes.
Peeters, by the way, scored just two points in the second half. He finished with a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds.
“They got a little tired,” Potter said. “(Peeters) had a lot of points in the first half, but I think we tired him out, and that was really key.”
“We pushed it back on them, which I don’t think they were used to,” Schrepfer said. “They’re used to playing a lot of really close, low-scoring games. So I think making them play good hard defense really wore them down.”
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CLEAR CREEK-AMANA (79): Mike Potter 7-8 5-7 20, T.J. Bollers 2-4 6-7 6, Christian Withrow 10-15 6-7 26, Nick O’Connor 1-7 0-0 3, Tyler Schrepfer 6-12 1-2 16, Ryan Navara 0-0 0-0 0, Brock Reade 2-6 0-0 4. Totals 28-52 18-23 79.
DAVENPORT ASSUMPTION (66): Bill Flaherty 1-2 0-0 2, Sean Peeters 9-17 4-7 22, Dayne Hodge 7-16 1-2 18, Grayson Heiser 2-6 2-2 6, Ray Tucker 1-3 0-2 3, Tyler Maro 0-3 0-0 0, Noah Mack 4-12 0-0 11, Matt Talllman 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 25-60 7-13 66.
Halftime — Davenport Assumption 40, Clear Creek-Amana 34. 3-point goals — Clear Creek-Amana 5-16 (Potter 1-1, Withrow 0-1, O’Connor 1-4, Schrepfer 3-8, Reade 0-2), Davenport Assumption 9-23 (Peeters 0-1, Hodge 3-9, Heiser 2-3, Tucker 1-3, Mack 3-7). Rebounds — Clear Creek-Amana 30 (Potter 10), Davenport Assumption 36 (Peeters 11). Total fouls — Clear Creek-Amana 10, Davenport Assumption 20. Fouled out — Peeters. Turnovers — Clear Creek-Amana 7, Davenport Assumption 13.
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