Your Prep Sports
TIFFIN – PJ Sweeney knew there was chatter following a breakthrough season for Clear Creek Amana last season.
The Clipper players heard the talk too – that last seasons’ success that included a conference co-championship and the first state tournament berth in program history was a fluke.
A one-year thing.
On Thursday the Clippers put the finishing touches on a season that has proved plenty of people wrong.
Class 4A No. 15 Clear Creek Amana clinched a share of the WAMAC title for the second year in a row with a 46-39 win over 3A No. 10 Center Point-Urbana (14-6, 11-6) in Tiffin.
“I think we proved all the doubters wrong tonight,” Sweeney said. “We showed we have a good program, we should be proud of our efforts and we have the ball going in the right direction.”
Whitney Traetow had a team-high 16 points and Calia Clubb had a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds as Clear Creek Amana (16-4) finished in a three-way tie with Benton, Vinton-Shellsburg as West Division co-champions with a 9-3 mark in divisional play.
With the win on Thursday the Clippers also matched Solon at 14-3 record for the best overall mark in the conference.
“I think that was a huge motivation for us because were told by literally everyone we weren’t going to be that good this year,” Traetow said. “Our coaches were super encouraging and told us we had a different team and a different dynamic but we can still make it work.”
It was a prove it season for a Clear Creek Amana squad that graduated its top two scorers from a team that took the program to new heights a year ago.
Despite the losses Clear Creek Amana refused to take a step back.
The personnel is slightly different but the same traits that helped the Clippers go 19-5 a year ago have helped Clear Creek Amana back up that success this season.
“I’ve been preaching all season that even though it’s a different team we have the same ethics, the same work ethic that we did last year,” Clubb said. “One of the biggest things coming off of last year is we didn’t feel pressure we were just excited to get going again and I think that motivated us to the point we are at now.”
The prove it of all prove it moments came on Tuesday when Clear Creek Amana bounced back from a 24-point loss to Vinton-Shellsburg on Monday to stay in the title hunt with a win over Benton Community.
Thursday the Clippers put the finishing touches on a satisfying repeat.
Clear Creek Amana held Center Point-Urbana to four points in the final 9:07 while erasing a four-point deficit.
“Monday was one of the worst games we’ve played all season but like all games it was a learning point,” Clubb said. “We took it personally and we were able to turn around and put our motivation into Benton and CPU.”
Clear Creek Amana never trailed until a 6-0 Center Point-Urbana burst in the third quarter left the Stormin’ Pointers with a 33-29 edge.
It was 35-31 with under a minute to play in the quarter but Clubb scored the next five points, giving the Clippers a 36-35 lead with a 25-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Clippers scored the first five points of the fourth quarter on a Morgan Etscheidt bucket and a Kaylin Rotzoll 3-pointer to push the lead to six.
Clear Creek Amana wouldn’t let Center Point-Urbana get close than four points the rest of the way.
“I think when we went to our big lineup that was key for us,” Sweeney said. “We made enough shots and we kind of built our lead but that was the difference in my opinion.”
After a Ryley Goebel cut the lead to 41-37 with a basket off a backdoor lob with 6:00 left but Center Point-Urbana could muster just one more basket, a Kora Katcher layup with 31 seconds remaining.
“There was a little soul searching after Monday as a player and as a coach,” Sweeney said. “We had a 24-hour turnaround and Benton was coming here and we had to figure things out in a hurry. Our backs were against the wall and we came out swinging and we did not back down and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Traetow hit five of six free throws in the final 58 seconds to put the game away.
Goebel finished with a game-high 18 points but no other Center Point-Urbana player had more than six.
“To go back-to-back that’s just unreal,” Sweeney said. “It says a lot about where we are at as a program and I couldn’t be more proud of the team we have.”
Center Point-Urbana 9 15 11 4 – 39
Clear Creek Amana 13 11 12 10 – 46
Clear Creek Amana (46) – Whitney Traetow 5-9 5-6 16, Kaylin Rotzoll 2-5 0-0 6, Olivia Miller 1-4 0-0 3, Calia Clubb 5-8 2-7 13, Reese Stockman 0-1 0-0 0, Emily Sly 2-3 0-0 4, Ava Locklear 1-2 0-0 2, Morgan Etscheidt 1-5 0-0 2, Totals 17-37 7-13 46.
Center Point-Urbana (39) – Tayler Reaves 1-5 0-0 2, Alivia Sweeney 2-5 0-0 4, Laine Hadsall 2-5 0-0 6, Sierra Davis 0-1 0-0 0, Ryanne Hansen 0-2 0-0 0, Kora Katcher 2-3 0-0 4, Emma DeSmet 1-9 0-0 2, Ryley Goebel 7-16 1-3 18, Claire Neighbor 1-4 1-2 3, Totals 16-50 2-5 39.
3-point field goals – CCA 5-9 (Traetow 1-3, Rotzoll 2-3, Miller 1-2, Clubb 1-1), CPU 5-21 (Reaves 0-4, Sweeney 0-2, Hadsall 2-5, Hansen 0-2, Katcher 0-1, Goebel 3-6, Neighbor 0-1). Rebounds – CCA 35 (Clubb 13), CPU 26 (DeSmet 7). Turnovers – CCA 16, CPU 10. Total fouls – CCA 9, CPU 16. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.