Your Prep Sports
TIFFIN – The 11 seniors on the Clear Creek Amana basketball team gave more to the program than just points or rebounds.
They gave the program a boost and created excited across the entire school.
Those Clipper seniors didn’t get the ending they were hoping for.
Grinnell shot 54 percent and went 9-of-12 from 3-point range on its way to a 69-58 win over Clear Creek Amana in a Class 3A, Substate 6 quarterfinal on Monday in Tiffin.
“I think its 38 wins in two seasons and two conference titles and what they have been able to be a part of and do for our school is bigger than basketball,” Clear Creek Amana coach Brandon Clubb said of his senior class. “They got people to come watch, they got people excited and they were able to do in a short amount of time were things that hadn’t been done in our program in a long time.”
The loss ended a second consecutive strong season for Clear Creek Amana (17-6) which won 21 games and finished third at the 3A state tournament last season.
Sixth-seeded Grinnell (9-13) advanced to the Substate 6 semifinal where it will travel to Washington (15-6) on Thursday.
Senior Christian Withrow scored 15 of his team-high 17 points in the second half and senior Ryan Navara had 14 points and 12 rebounds as Clear Creek Amana trimmed a 10-point deficit to two points with 2:56 left.
However, the Clippers could get no closer as Grinnell close the game on a 14-5 run.
“We’d get it close and they would hit another big shot,” Clubb said. “We got ourselves in a position to at least make a strike there at the end and we were just unable to do it.”
From the outset Clear Creek Amana was determined to slow 6-foot-8 Grinnell senior center Owen Coffman who entered leading the Tigers in scoring at 12.7 points per game and had 18 in a three-point Grinnell win in Tiffin in December.
The Clippers were successful in that endeavor, holding Coffman to eight points and three rebounds on 3-of-7 shooting but Grinnell had plenty of players step up.
Senior guard Cole McGriff who entered averaging 3.9 points on the season poured in a game-high 23 points while senior backcourt mate AJ Wilkins was impressive while added 18, better than six above his season average.
“We were picking our poison and rolling the dice a little bit and they made us pay there,” Clubb said. “We were trying to take certain guys away, which we did do, but their other guys obviously stepped up and hit some shots that were a little uncharacteristic of their season.”
While the Clippers struggled shooting from the perimeter, going 5-of-20 from beyond the arc, Grinnell seemingly couldn’t miss.
McGriff, who entered with 11 3-pointers on the season, went 4-of-5 from deep.
Wilkins (3-of-4) and senior guard Brooks Latimer (2-of-2) combined to hit 5-of-6 from beyond the arc as the Tigers went 6-of-6 from 3-point range over the final three quarters.
“For us to shoot it as poorly as we did and still be in the basketball game is a testament to us,” Clubb said. “We picked our poison defensively and dealt with it for a little and tried to make some adjustments and they kept making shots.”
Grinnell closed the first half on an 8-0 run to take a 32-24 halftime lead.
The Tigers pushed the margin to 45-35 after three quarters but Clear Creek Amana made a run.
Trailing 53-43 with 4:28 left the Clippers went on a 10-2 burst and closed to within 55-53 on the second 3-pointer of the quarter by Navara with 2:56 left.
It was all Grinnell the rest of the way.
Wilkins hit a pair of free throws and McGriff hit a dagger of a 3-pointer with 2:07 left to push the lead back to 60-53.
Junior Kyle Schrepfer had 11 points while senior Brock Reade had nine and senior Mike Potter added seven.
“It was bigger than basketball for them to be able to walk the halls and for people to look up to them,” Clubb said of the seniors. “That stuff is huge for our program and for our school.”
Grinnell 15 17 13 24 – 69
Clear Creek Amana 12 12 11 23 – 58
Grinnell (69) – Brooks Latimer 2-3 2-2 8, AJ Wilkins 5-9 5-7 18, Kyle Dillon 0-3 1-3 1, Cole McGriff 8-12 3-4 23, Colin Gibson 0-0 1-2 1, Owen Coffman 3-7 2-2 8, Matayas Durr 1-2 1-1 3, Trey Gohlmann 3-5 1-2 7, Totals 22-41 16-23 69.
Clear Creek Amana (58) – Brock Reade 4-7 0-0 9, Kyle Schrepfer 4-10 1-1 11, Ben Swails 0-1 0-0 0, Christian Withrow 5-15 7-9 17, Mike Potter 3-6 1-1 7, Ryan Navara 6-12 0-0 14, Totals 22-51 9-11 58.
3-point field goals – CCA 5-20 (Reade 1-3, Schrepfer 2-6, Swails 0-1, Withrow 0-3, Potter 0-2, Navara 2-5), GRI 9-12 (Latimer 2-2, Wilkins 3-4, Dillon 0-1, McGriff 4-5). Rebounds – CCA 26 (Navara 12), GRI 26 (McGriff 5). Turnovers – CCA 13, GRI 13. Total fouls – CCA 16, GRI 9. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.