Clear Creek Amana coach PJ Sweeney talks during a timeout against South Tama. Jeff Yoder/For Your Prep Sports.Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
TIFFIN – The present PJ Sweeney was hoping for on Christmas sweater night at Clear Creek Amana was a win leading into the two-week holiday break.
A slow start and some frigid shooting kept the Clippers from delivering that gift on Monday but didn’t stop Sweeney from taking one big positive away from the 71-62 loss to South Tama.
“When you have two weeks down you want to go into that with a win under your belt and when you have a loss you have two weeks to think about so that’s a tough thing but I loved how our kids competed,” Sweeney said. “The second half we really competed, I was really impressed with that.”
Clear Creek Amana (4-4) had 17 turnovers and shot 27 percent from the field in the first half while falling into a 32-16 halftime hole.
The Clippers trailed by as many as 19 points in the third quarter but needed less than 10 minutes to cut the lead to two at 59-57.
South Tama (4-4) made the plays late to hold off the Clippers, ending the game on a 12-5 run while improving to 3-1 in WAMAC East Division play.
“In the three years I’ve been the head coach sometimes in the past we just didn’t compete the way I wanted us to when we were in that situation,” Sweeney said. “I thought in the second half we really competed. With four minutes to go it’s a two or three-point game and we were right there at the end.”
South Tama led 13-8 after the first quarter and used a 12-0 run that spanned just more than two minutes to take a 27-10 lead.
Lauren Helle battles for a rebound Monday. Jeff Yoder/For Your Prep Sports.Clear Creek Amana had nine turnovers in the second quarter when it made just 4-of-14 field goal attempts and missed both of its attempts at the foul line.
“We didn’t come out with enough intensity and we turned the ball over a little too much,” freshmen Karsyn Stratton said. “It just wasn’t going our way.”
The South Tama lead grew to 39-20 in the third quarter and the Trojans led by 18 with 3:12 left in the quarter when Jessica Musgrave hit a pair of free throws.
Clear Creek Amana wouldn’t go quietly.
The Clippers closed the quarter on a 11-4 run to cut the lead to 50-40 and scored the first four points of the fourth quarter on baskets by Stratton.
“We talked at halftime about it being 0-0,” Stratton said. “We know we are a good team, we know what we are capable of we just had to get into it.”
Stratton missed her first five field goal attempts on Monday and was 1-of-7 from the field in the first half.
She scored 19 of her team-high 21 points in the second half, hitting 8-of-12 field goal attempts in the final two quarters.
Her pull-up jumper with 5:40 left closed the South Tama lead to 54-49.
“We didn’t turn the ball over as much and our shots finally started falling,” Stratton said. “In the first half our shots weren’t falling at all.”
A Be DeShaw jumper and a conventional 3-point play by Abbi Kinnaird cut the lead to 58-55 and after a Trojan free throw Kinnaird made a pair from the charity stripe to make the score 59-57 with four minutes left.
That is as close as Clear Creek Amana would get.
The Clippers twice had shots that would have tied the game or given them the lead in the final four minutes but couldn’t get either to fall.
South Tama made 11-of-16 free throws in the final quarter to secure the win.
Musgrave led the Trojans with 26 points while Kaitlin Berger added 20 for South Tama.
“She got away from us a little bit and she is a good ball player,” Sweeney said of Musgrave. “She doesn’t look to shoot a lot from the perimeter but she puts her head down and can get to the hole.”
Kinnaird had 16 points for Clear Creek Amana to go with 21 from Stratton.
“We have to let this fuel us,” Stratton said. “We have to push ourselves and get better because the next half of the season is the most important.”
Clear Creek Amana 8 8 24 22 – 62
South Tama 13 19 18 21 – 71
South Tama (71) – Sadie Smith 3-3 0-0 8, Allison Yuska 0-2 0-1 0, Jessica Musgrave 9-16 8-10 26, Kaitlin Berger 6-13 7-10 20, Abby Llewellyn 2-5 2-2 6, Madison Rohach 1-3 0-0 3, Minnie Climer 0-1 8-11 8, Shae Slaven 0-1 0-2 0, Team 21-44 25-36 71.
Clear Creek Amana (62) – Be DeShaw 1-1 1-2 3, Jordan Neely 0-2 0-0 0, Meagan Harvey 3-9 1-2 7, Claire Navara 0-2 2-4 2, Karsyn Stratton 9-18 2-9 21, Abbi Kinnaird 4-13 6-7 16, Erin Navara 3-5 0-1 6, Lauren Helle 3-11 1-2 7, Team 23-61 23-27 62.
3-point field goals – CCA 3-13 (Neely 0-2, Harvey 0-1, C. Navara 0-2, Stratton 1-1, Kinnaird 2-7), ST 4-10 (Smith 2-2, Yuska 0-1, Musgrave 0-2, Berger 1-3, Rohach 1-2). Rebounds – CCA 41 (Helle 11), ST 37 (Musgrave, Berger, Llewellyn 7). Turnovers – CCA 21, ST 25. Total fouls – CCA 22, ST 17. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.