DES MOINES — You bet the Clear Lake Lions were indignant. Or cheesed off, totally torked, angry, furious, irate, incensed, exasperated.
“Coming in 23-0, obviously haven’t lost a game, yet, and getting a 4-seed,” Drew Enke said. “We saw that.”
And it made him and the rest of his Clear Lake basketball teammates indignant, cheesed off, totally torked ...
“We know (other) teams were like ‘Oh, their strength of schedule,’” Enke continued. “But we come in and use that as a chip on our shoulder. We know we’re going to have to win three games anyway. It’s one down and two to go.”
Coaches seed the state tournament and decided Clear Lake deserved to be the 4-seed in Class 3A. Playing a schedule full of 2A opponents and one 1A overrode being undefeated.
But these Lions are high quality, winning a game here for the first time, 61-46, over West Delaware in a quarterfinal at Wells Fargo Arena. It was Clear Lake’s first state tournament appearance in 40 years.
“It just means a lot to the city of Clear Lake,” said head coach Jeremey Ainley. “We’ve never had any team, girls or boys, win down here. So to get that first win is big. Just means a lot to these guys and a lot to the town.”
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It was a tough ending for West Delaware, which played so well in a substate final victory last week over Davenport Assumption. The Hawks (17-7) fell behind immediately, missed more free throws than they made and were outrebounded by a decisive dozen.
They trailed by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, whittled their deficit to as few as six halfway through the fourth but didn’t have enough for another comeback. That was one of the trademarks of this team this season. Nothing came easy.
“We’ve been a second-half team most of the year,” said Coach Matt Uthoff. “They jumped on us huge in the first quarter, but we cut it to four early in the second quarter and were right back in it. Even in the fourth, we cut it to six. But every time we made our run, they had an answer. That’s what good teams do. Huge credit goes to Clear Lake, because any time we got some momentum, they made a big shot, an and-one or an offensive putback. That was the difference in the game tonight.”
West Delaware big man Derek Krogmann had one hell of a career, heading to Northern Iowa in the fall as a preferred walk-on. But he had just 11 points here, 10 under his average.
He was undone by 0-for-7 free-throw shooting, including a pair of airballs.
“I missed a lot of free throws, and I think that hurt me in other aspects of the game,” he said. “It took away my confidence at attacking.”
West Delaware went just 7 of 16 from the stripe. Logan Woellert led the Hawks with 11 points.
Enke had a game-high 22 for Clear Lake, which faces top-seeded Norwalk in Thursday’s semifinals. Carson Toebe added 16, including four treys in the first half to help his club establish a lead.
“Getting down here was definitely the goal all year,” Krogmann said. “After being here two years ago and not being here last year, before the season this was a huge thing we wanted to accomplish, and we were able to do that. It stings a lot losing. It was probably not our best game. It doesn’t feel like it now, but I’m sure we get back (home), we’ll recognize some of the things we were able to accomplish.”
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WEST DELAWARE (46): Gavin Soppe 2-8 0-0 6, Logan Woellert 4-5 2-3 11, Derek Krogmann 5-8 0-7 10, Kyle Kelley 2-9 3-4 9, Jamison Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Blake DeMoss 2-3 2-2 8, Logan Winn 0-0 0-0 0, Mitch Krogmann 1-1 0-2 2, Shaun DeMoss 0-0 0-0 0, Isaiah Rich 0-0 0-0 0, Zach Stratton 0-1 0-0 0, Raub Loecke 0-0 0-0 0, Eric Salow 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-35 7-18 46.
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CLEAR LAKE (61): Jaylen DeVries 1-2 2-2 4, Tate Storbeck 2-8 2-6 6, Jared Penning 3-3 0-0 6, Drew Enke 8-15 4-10 22, Carson Toebe 5-12 2-2 16, Andrew Formanek 0-2 2-2 2, Jack Barragy 1-1 0-0 3, Kody Kearns 1-2 0-0 2, Alex Snelling 0-0 0-0 0, Nick Danielson 0-0 0-0 0, Carter Backhaus 0-0 0-0 0, Will Finn 0-0 0-0 0, Mac Adams 0-0 0-0 0, Chase Stuver 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-45 12-22 61.
Halftime — Clear Lake 35, West Delaware 24. 3-point goals — West Delaware 7-18 (Kelley 2-5, Woellert 1-2, Soppe 2-7, B. DeMoss 2-3, Stratton 0-1), Clear Lake 7-16 (Enke 2-3, Storbeck 0-4, Toebe 4-7, Barragy 1-1, Formanek 0-1). Rebounds — West Delaware 20 (D. Krogmann 8), Clear Lake 32 (DeVries 7). Total fouls — West Delaware 18, Clear Lake 14. Fouled out — Kelley, Woellert. Assists — West Delaware 13 (Soppe 5), Clear Lake 14 (DeVries, Toebe 4). Turnovers — West Delaware 13, Clear Lake 8.
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