Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
TIFFIN – Clear Creek Amana senior Kaden McAreavy wasn’t concerned at all with how many points he would score against Independence on Tuesday.
It was Sean Geertsema’s point total that had McAreavy's full attention.
McAreavy only attempted two shots and scored two points, but his defense on Geertsema helped the Clippers prevail 69-56 at home.
Independence’s leading scorer finished with 15 points, but was held to just four points in the second half while taking only four shots.
McAreavy spent most of the game blanketing Geertsema on defense.
“We knew Geertsema is one of the best scorers that we were going to face this year, so we just tried to deny him the ball as much as possible and any shot that he got open we tried to have a hand in his face,” McAreavy said.
McAreavy knew heading into Tuesday’s game that he would draw Geertsema as a defensive assignment and McAreavy relished the challenge because he says defense is his favorite part of playing basketball.
“We knew that he liked to go right and the whole team kind of liked to go right, so we tried to force him left,” McAreavy said. “We talked about how Geertsema can really do anything. He can shoot. He can drive. He can pull up. So we just needed to stop him and get a hand up.”
The Clippers complemented their defense with a balanced offense in which four players scored in double figures, led by sophomore center T. J. Bollers with 14 points.
“We just had to come out and show what we had and play defense better,” Bollers said.
Junior Nick O’Connor scored 13 points and made three 3-point baskets, all of which came in the second half.
O’Connor’s second 3-pointer in the game expanded Clear Creek Amana’s lead to 37-32 with 4 minutes, 15 seconds left in the third quarter.
Senior Nolan Schwarting also made a 3-point basket to give the Clippers a 40-35 lead with 3:40 left in the third quarter. Schwarting came off the bench to score 11 points, including nine in the second half.
Every time that Independence would make a run, the Clippers had an answer. The Mustangs evened the score at 32 in the third quarter, but the Clippers responded by scoring five consecutive points.
“It says that we’re resilient and that we can just keep pushing,” Bollers said.
Sophomore Christian Withrow was the fourth player for CCA to score in double figures with 10 points, with all but two coming in the first half.
The Clippers improved to 3-1 on the young season, while Independence fell to 1-4 overall.
The Mustangs had won the previous five games against Clear Creek Amana, including all three games last season with the final loss coming in the Class 3A playoffs.
So Tuesday’s win was payback in a big way, and it started on defense.
Independence only made 23-of-60 field-goal attempts overall and missed 13 of its 15 attempts from 3-point range in the first half.
Geertsema made 7-of-13 field-goal attempts, but he didn’t shoot a free throw and he only made one 3-point basket.
“We tried to lock down on him for sure,” McAreavy said.
Independence (56) – Sean Geertsema 7-13 0-0 15, Kaleb Lamphier 5-12 0-0 10, Blake Bartz 5-14 5-9 15, Robert Stivers 2-2 0-0 4, Logan Schmitt 3-13 1-2 9, Jaxon Miller 1-6 0-0 3, Jared Jensen 0-0 0-0 0, Kaden Howard 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-60 6-10 56.
Clear Creek Amana (69) – T.J. Bollers 5-9 4-7 14, Nick O’Connor 4-11 2-3 13, Tyler Schrepfer 1-4 6-6 9, Christian Withrow 5-8 0-0 10, Kaden Mcareavy 1-2 0-0 2, Nolan Schwarting 3-7 3-3 11, Brock Reade 1-1 0-0 3, Mike Potter 3-3 0-0 7. Totals 23-44 15-19 69
3-point goals – Independence 4 (Schmitt 2, Geertsema, Miller); CCA 8 (O’Connor 3, Schwarting 2, Potter, Schrepfer, Reade). Fouls – Independence 18, CCA 12. Fouled out – Stivers.