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Your Prep Sports
NORTH LIBERTY – There was plenty for a coach to like about the stat line Liberty High sophomore Andre Brandon put up on Saturday.
The line from Brandon that may be most pleasing for Liberty High coach Stu Ordman came after the Lightning secured a 58-45 win over Clear Creek Amana.
When asked what stood out most in his 23-point, nine-rebound performance Brandon didn’t hesitate with his answer.
“It was our defense,” Brandon said. “Our defense was better than normal, we just stuck to the defensive game plan that coach had for us and it really helped us.”
Brandon was right, it was the defense.
Liberty High frustrated Clear Creek Amana into 33 percent shooting and 16 turnovers while improving to 5-6 with its second straight January win.
“What we need to develop is that the players in our program take defense as a personal and team-wide sense of pride and that they always play hard defense and play it unselfishly,” Ordman said. “We aren’t there yet but it’s a journey and I like to think we are making progress.”
The 45 points for the Clear Creek Amana were the fewest for the Clippers since scoring 42 in consecutive games to open the season.
Clear Creek Amana dropped to 2-7 with its second loss in less than 24 hours after letting a halftime lead slip away in a loss at Central DeWitt on Friday.
“Playing back-to-back coming out of break was tough, I think it really showed especially on the offensive end for us,” Clear Creek Amana coach Brandon Clubb said. “We shot 33 percent, 2-of-12 3s.
Iziah Poulsen scored the final five points of a 7-0 Liberty High run to open the second quarter that turned a 12-10 lead into a nine-point advantage.
Clear Creek Amana got no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
It was the Liberty High defense and some foul trouble for Clear Creek Amana that kept the Clippers at bay.
The top two CCA scorers, senior Darius Moore and freshman Trevor Bollers each spent extended minutes on the bench battling foul trouble before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Moore finished with a team-high 14 points and Bollers had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
However, the duo was rarely on the floor together due to foul trouble as Clear Creek Amana failed to find the offensive rhythm that helped it average better than 64 points in its final five games in December.
“We go how they go,” Clubb said of Moore and Bollers said. “If we get going they get going and we got kind of handcuffed there because they couldn’t be in the ball game for long stretches.”
With Bollers on the bench, Brandon exerted himself on both ends of the court.
The 6-foot-5 sophomore finished 7-of-11 from the floor and made 9-of-10 free throws but it was his ability to change shots around the rim and control the glass that had Brandon excited.
“Coach always preaches defense,” Brandon said. “That’s what he talks to us about all the time.”
Playing with a lead Liberty High never let Clear Creek Amana back in the game.
The Clippers got as close as 41-33 with five straight points from Moore to start the fourth quarter but Liberty didn’t allow a field goal for nearly five minutes while building the margin back to double figures.
Liberty High opened 2018 by allowing a season-low 44 points in a two-point over Fairfield on Tuesday.
The Lightning were just a point off that pace on Saturday.
“I think we’ve improved a lot on defense but we can still improve,” Brandon said. “We just have to keep on practicing hard on defense.”
Clear Creek Amana 10 10 8 17 – 45
Liberty High 12 16 13 17 – 58
Clear Creek Amana (45) – Dylan Sheely 0-1 0-0 0, Jordan Wolfe 1-4 0-1 3, Darius Moore 5-14 4-7 14, Camden Armstrong 0-1 0-0 0, Quentin Gisleson 0-2 0-0 0, Nick O’Connor 1-1 0-0 2, Tyler Schrepfer 3-14 5-6 11, Nolan Schwarting 2-7 0-0 5, Trevor Bollers 5-7 0-1 10, Team 17-51 9-15 45.
Liberty High (58) – Grayson Tyler 0-1 4-4 4, Bo Gryp 1-6 6-6 9, Iziah Poulsen 3-9 3-5 10, Ethan O’Donnell 4-5 3-4 11, Ben Houselog 0-2 0-0 0, Andre Brandon 7-11 9-10 23, Sam Funke 0-1 1-3 1, Team 15-35 26-32 58.
3-point field goals – CCA 2-12 (Sheely 0-1, Wolfe 1-2, Moore 0-1, Armstrong 0-1, Schrepfer 0-5, Schwarting 1-2); ICL 2-9 (Tyler 0-1, Gryp 1-4, Poulsen 1-2, Houselog 0-2). Rebounds – CCA (Bollers 11); ICL 32 (Brandon 9). Turnovers – CCA 16; ICL 16. Total fouls – CCA 23; ICL 13. Fouled out – CCA (Moore, Bollers). Technical fouls – CCA Bench.