CEDAR RAPIDS — Big odds. We’re talking some big odds here.
That’s what you would have gotten had you said Clear Creek Amana would be the last Wamac Conference team standing this boys’ basketball season.
That’s what the Clippers officially are after a 59-45 victory Tuesday afternoon over Mount Vernon in a Class 3A state tournament quarterfinal at Wells Fargo Arena.
Remember this was a group that lost its first two games and stood just 4-3 at the holiday break. Remember that multiple Wamac teams were regularly in the Class 2A and 3A rankings all winter.
Three Wamac teams were in the 3A field here. CCA is the last man, or men, standing.
“I’m glad us as a team gets to represent the Wamac,” said Clear Creek Amana’s Christian Withrow. “It’s a great conference, everyone in that league is a great team, and I feel like that prepared us for this, for sure.”
Mount Vernon was overall Wamac champ and entered Des Moines ranked second and this tourney’s second seed. Clear Creek Amana is the No. 7 seed.
But the Clippers (20-5) knocked off third-rated Davenport Assumption in a 3A substate final, have won 12 out of 13 and led this game from the score of 3-2 on.
“We didn’t care about seeds, didn’t care about matchups,” said CCA Coach Brandon Clubb. “We just wanted to go out and play the team in front of us. It just happened to be Mount Vernon. We’re playing at an extremely high level right now.”
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Mount Vernon (22-3) won the lone regular-season encounter between the teams in very early December by a 17-point margin. But CCA’s defense completely took away Mustangs junior star Keaton Kutcher, who was limited to 13 points on 3-of-20 shooting.
Clear Clear Amana’s Tyler Schrepfer was the best guard on the floor, leading all scorers with 16 points.
“Honestly, I don’t think there’s any team that can say they’re playing better than us right now,” said Schrepfer, who was part of a 2-20 CCA team as a freshman.
Mount Vernon ended up shooting just 26.8 percent from the floor, finding no one to help out Kutcher on a rare off day. Center Derek Jordan did provide an interior presence in the first half with nine points but didn’t score in the second, as MV went with a smaller lineup to try and make up a deficit that reached 14 at its highest point.
“They threw a couple of good looks at me, as far as switching everything and jumping out on every screen,” Kutcher said. “It was really hard for me to get a good look. Kudos to them because that was really good defense. I don’t think I’ve seen D like that all year. That was really disrupting.”
“Take away their strength,” Clubb said. “Their strength is their best player. They had the better player, we had the better team. We executed defensively exactly what we needed to do.”
Nick O’Connor added 11 points and Withrow 10 for CCA, which gets sixth-seeded Sergeant Bluff-Luton (15-10) in a Thursday semifinal at 3:45.
“I didn’t do a very good job of getting our guys ready to play,” lamented Mount Vernon Coach Ed Timm. “Just the mentality wasn’t there for us. We needed to attack, and I just didn’t have us in the places we needed to be. I feel bad because these guys deserved better. The guys deserved better.”
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“Just trying to look at it as a journey, the whole process and not just the end result,” Jordan said. “We worked hard, put the work in every day, but sometimes things don’t go your way.”
Clear Creek Amana 59, Mount Vernon 45
AT DES MOINES
CLEAR CREEK AMANA (59): Nick O’Connor 3-6 3-5 11, Tyler Schrepfer 6-8 3-4 16, Christian Withrow 3-7 4-7 10, Mike Potter 2-6 1-2 7, T.J. Bollers 1-5 5-9 7, Ryan Navara 2-2 2-2 6, Brock Reade 1-3 0-0 2, Kyle Schrepfer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-37 18-29 59.
MOUNT VERNON (45): Nolan Brand 1-6 0-0 2, Noah Erickson 1-6 0-2 2, Collin Swantz 1-1 0-0 3, Keaton Kutcher 3-20 5-6 13, Derek Jordan 4-7 1-2 9, Owen Brase 0-1 0-0 0, Kaleb Brand 1-4 1-2 4, Jayden Meeker 4-11 2-4 12, Trevor Weber 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-56 9-16 45.
Halftime — Clear Creek Amana 22, Mount Vernon 19. 3-point goals — Clear Creek Amana 5-9 (O’Connor 2-5, T. Schrepfer 1-2, Potter 2-2), Mount Vernon 6-21 (Swantz 1-1, Kutcher 2-12, Brase 0-1, K. Brand 1-3, Meeker 2-4). Rebounds — Clear Creek Amana 39 (Bollers 14), Mount Vernon 31 (N. Brand 11). Total fouls — Clear Creek Amana 14, Mount Vernon 22. Technical foul — Potter. Fouled out — None. Assists — Clear Creek Amana 15 (O’Connor, T. Schrepfer, Withrow, Potter, Bollers 3), Mount Vernon 22 (N. Brand, Swantz 4). Turnovers — Clear Creek Amana 16, Mount Vernon 11.