By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
TIFFIN – Claire Navara doesn’t take a lot of shots and isn’t known as a big-time scorer.
The Clear Creek Amana senior is fine with both of those things.
“I’m fine with not scoring a lot,” Navara said with a shrug.
Clear Creek Amana coach P.J. Sweeney would be fine if Navara had a couple more scoring performances like the one she had on Thursday.
Navara poured in a game-high 19 points to lift Clear Creek Amana to a 70-35 win over Independence (0-12) in a WAMAC West Division match rescheduled from Tuesday.
The 19 points were a season-high for Navara, who entered the game averaging five points per game and shooting 23 percent from the field.
“She has been struggling a little bit shooting the ball and sometimes it gets to be a little bit of a mind game and tonight she just went into it and had confidence,” Sweeney said. “It was very, very nice to see her shoot the ball well because she does that in practice every day for us and it just hasn’t carried over to the games yet.”
Navara led three Clear Creek Amana players in double figures as the Clippers improved to 7-4 with their third straight win after the holiday break.
Lauren Helle scored a career-high 14 points and freshman Karsyn Stratton had 13 for Clear Creek Amana which shot 43 percent for the game.
“I think we’ve finally found our groove,” Helle said. “It was kind of cleaning some stuff up that we needed to do and I think we found a solid offense and defense for what we have for advantages and what we don’t.”
Navara was the surprising offensive catalyst as Clear Creek Amana rolled up a season-high 70 points.
The senior guard matched her season total for 3-pointers in the first half, connecting on three triples in the first two quarters.
She finished with five 3-pointers after entering the game shooting 14 percent from behind the arc.
“I’m always looking to pass so sometimes I don’t really look to shoot,” Navara said. “Tonight, I just felt really comfortable behind the 3-point line so I just went with it.”
Clear Creek Amana scored the first 10 points of the game in less than three minutes but Independence battled back and trailed just 20-15 after the opening quarter.
The Clippers built the lead to 33-19 at halftime but quickly put the game out of reach in the third quarter.
“We put on the board at halftime that it’s a 0-0 game, I didn’t even want them looking at the scoreboard,” Sweeney said. “We had a great start to the second half and put the pressure on them.”
Clear Creek Amana used a 13-0 third-quarter run to build a 51-24 lead that put the game out of reach.
Stratton started the run with a 3-pointer and Helle followed with back-to-back put backs.
Helle had five of Clear Creek Amana’s 22 offensive rebounds as the Clippers held a 42-18 rebounding edge.
Navara added a team-high nine rebounds to while Meagan Harvey had eight and Helle seven.
“We’ve always had a problem with getting ahead and not finishing it out,” Helle said. “This time we just really wanted to take it to them and not let up at all.”
Navara put the finishing touches on the 13-0 spurt with back-to-back 3-pointers.
She finished 7-of-14 from the field and 5-of-9 from 3-point range.
“Once you see that first one go in it is so important,” Sweeney said of Navara. “It started to snowball from there and I told her at halftime to keep shooting the ball.”
Stratton had 11 of her 13 in the second half as Clear Creek Amana outscored the Mustangs 37-16 over the final two quarters.
“Coach said we have to focus on not letting up and getting at them and pretending the game is 0-0,” Stratton said. “We wanted to keep extending the lead.”
Clear Creek Amana 20 13 18 7 – 35
Independence 15 4 9 19 – 70
Clear Creek Amana (70) – Be DeShaw 0-3 0-0 0, Jordan Neely 3-7 0-0 6, Meagan Harvey 3-10 1-4 7, Megan Cronbaugh 1-3 2-2 4, Claire Navara 7-14 0-0 19, Karsyn Stratton 5-9 1-1 13, Katie Pitlick 0-1 0-0 0, Andrea Roller 0-1 0-0 0, Erin Navara 3-6 1-2 7, Lauren Helle 6-11 2-2 14, Team 28-65 7-11 70.
Independence (35) – Holly Cooksley 1-3 0-0 2, Sydney Hearn 4-9 3-4 11, Mary Puffett 3-9 0-0 8, Jadyn Schultz 2-2 0-0 4, Lydia Butters 2-5 0-0 5, Heidi Lau 0-2 1-2 1, Tara Dryml 0-1 0-0 0, Nichole Stephens 2-5 1-1 5, Team 14-36 5-7 35.
3-point field goals – CCA 7-17 (DeShaw 0-1, Neely 0-4, Harvey 0-1, C. Navara 5-9, Stratton 2-2), IND 2-10 (Cooksley 0-2, Hearn 2-6, Butters 0-2). Rebounds – CCA 42 (Navara 9), IND 18 (Hearn 4). Turnovers – CCA 6, IND 15. Total fouls – CCA 11, IND 11. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.