Clippers Turn to Defense to Earn First Win

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Jeff Yoder Photo / iagameday.smugmug.com

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

TIFFIN – It’s not often lacrosse sticks are incorporated into a basketball practice plan.

After his team sent Mount Vernon to the free throw line 39 times in a 13-point loss last Friday Clear Creek Amana coach PJ Sweeney dug the lacrosse sticks out of the equipment closet on Sunday to aid in some defensive drills.

The way the Clippers defended on Tuesday the lacrosse sticks may just stick around practice after all.

Clear Creek Amana held Benton Community to 25 percent shooting and picked up its first win of the season with a 59-38 win over the Bobcats in the WAMAC West Division opener for both teams in Tiffin.

“We brought them in on Sunday and had a workout for about 90 minutes and we just did some basic defensive slide stuff but we had them put lacrosse sticks over their heads,” Sweeney said. “They were beat afterwards, we made them work and we just preached defense with the feet not with the hands.”

The defense wasn’t all bad for the Clippers during their 0-3 start.  

Opponents shot a combined 36 percent against Clear Creek Amana and none of the Clippers first three foes were better than 38 percent shooters from the field.

Where the Clippers got burned was at the foul line, where opponents held a 45-20 advantage through three games.

In its first three games Clear Creek Amana sent teams to the line 75 times, punctuated by a whooping 39 for Mount Vernon in a 54-41 loss.

That’s what brought out the lacrosse sticks and hands off defensive lessons.

“We’ve definitely been working hard on not fouling as much,” Clear Creek Amana sophomore Karsyn Stratton said. “I believe we sent Mount Vernon to the foul line 39 times last game so we’ve been working on that a lot and then rebounding, boxing out and rebounding and playing better defense all around.”

The Clippers put that practice to work on Tuesday, committing a season low 12 fouls that resulted in seven made Benton Community free throws on 10 attempts.

That defensive adjustment along with double-doubles from Stratton and sophomore Ainsley Schrock helped Clear Creek Amana snap its three-game losing skid.

“We really worked hard at playing defense with our feet and just playing better defense,” Sweeney said. “We still have a long way to go but we are going to keep on working at it and hopefully continue to improve.”

Stratton poured in a game-high 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Schrock added 11 points and 10 rebounds as Clear Creek Amana scored a season-high 59 points.

The Clippers shot a season-best 55 percent from the floor, including 68 percent in the second half.

“I think the first win of the season is always the most fun,” Stratton said. “We just want to try to keep it going from here.”

The Clippers built a 23-9 halftime lead despite some early offensive struggles of its own.

Clear Creek Amana committed half of its 20 turnovers in the second quarter but used its defense to build a lead.

Benton Community shot 13 percent in the first half and had 11 turnovers as Clear Creek Amana built its 14-point halftime lead.

“Defense wins games for us, we know that our offense will come eventually,” Stratton said. “Sometimes when shots don’t fall you can get frustrated and so we had to stay in it mentally and play defense.”

Stratton scored 10 of her game-high 25 points in a 25-point third quarter that put the game away.

Schrock had five points in the third quarter including a basketball that capped an 8-2 run to end the quarter that put the Clippers up 48-28.

“We were working together and feeding the ball inside,” Schrock said. “Getting the ball inside opened up people on the outside.”

Allison Rummelhart had eight points and freshman Whitney Traetow added five for the Clippers, all in the second half.

“It’s contagious,” Stratton said. “Once you start hitting shots everyone starts to make shots.”

Clear Creek Amana              10  13  25  11  –  59

Benton Community              3    6  19  10  –  38

Clear Creek Amana (59) – Olivia Fairholm 0-2 0-0 0, Jordan Neely 0-1 0-0 0, Allison Rummelhart 3-4 2-2 8, Whitney Traetow 1-3 2-3 5, Karsyn Stratton 11-16 2-3 25, Meagan Harvey 1-5 0-0 2, Allison Pettinger 0-0 0-2 0, Andrea Roller 2-2 0-0 4, Madelynn Langridge 2-2 0-0 4, Ainsley Schrock 4-9 3-5 11, Team 24-44 9-15 59.

Benton Community (38) – Dianna Handley-Mcain 3-5 1-1 7, Jessie Havlik 2-16 5-6 10, Laura Maschino 3-3 0-0 9, Rachel Maschino 1-4 0-0 2, Mallory Thys 1-8 0-0 2, Alyse Harvey 2-8 0-0 5, Kassandra McWhorter 1-7 1-3 3, Karsyn Semelroth 0-1 0-0 0, Team 13-52 7-10.

3-point field goals – CCA 2-8 (Fairholm 0-2, Neely 0-1, Traetow 1-2, Stratton 1-3); BC 5-22 (Havlik 1-12, L. Maschino 3-3, R. Maschino 0-2, Harvey 1-3, McWhorter 0-2). Rebounds – CCA 42 (Stratton 11); BC 23 (McWhorter 5). Turnovers – CCA 20; BC 15. Total fouls – CCA 12; BC 18. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.