Boys Basketball Notebook: Confident Clippers Chasing WAMAC West Title

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

TIFFIN – It doesn’t take more than a quick glance at the win-loss column to see that Clear Creek Amana is a different team this season than it was a year ago.

Dig through the statistics and the reasons for the Clippers’ increased success stand out.

Higher scoring average and few points allowed. Better shooting percentage and less turnovers and fouls.

The statistics show much of what has helped Clear Creek Amana go from 9-13 a year ago to 8-4 this season.

What doesn’t show up in the box score is the biggest reason behind the turnaround – confidence.  

“It’s all confidence,” Clear Creek Amana junior Nick O’Connor said. “We just need to believe that we can do it and we’ll do it.”  

If the Clippers weren’t confident to start the season they are certainly building it as the season goes.

Clear Creek Amana has won three of four games to start 2019 and is coming off a 61-57 win over rival Williamsburg on Friday.

It’s confidence, it really is just confidence,” Clear Creek Amana coach Brandon Clubb said. “Some of these kids have played for three years now and they have seen it and they understand it and some of that has paid off for us.

Clear Creek Amana struggled through a two-win season in Clubb’s first season and upped that win total to nine a year ago.

This season the Clippers are on pace for their first winning season since going 12-11 in 2015-2016 and can challenge the 2014-2015 team that won 16 games for the most wins in the last decade.

The reason for the success is in the confidence.

“We all support one another,” O’Connor said. “Whenever someone shoots a shot they know they have the whole team behind them if they miss or make they know they will get patted on the back and someone will say keep shooting.

Confidence has been key and so too has an increase in depth.

The Clippers regularly play eight or nine players. That helps in games but has turned practices in competitive situations that replicate what you see night in and night out in the WAMAC Conference.

“What you do on a daily basis in practice mimics what you do in a game, the more you can replicate a game the better you are and that’s where we are at now,” Clubb said. “We do stuff every day that really comes back and mimics the game.

Five Clippers average between 9.5 and 13.1 points per game led by junior guard Tyler Schrepfer.

Sophomore forward TJ Bollers is averaging 11.7 and 6-foot-6 senior Nolan Schwarting is scoring 10.4 per game.

Sophomore Christian Withrow is at 9.8 and O’Connor is at 9.5 points per game.

Senior Kaden McAreav and sophomores Brock Reade and Mike Potter are also in the Clipper rotation.

“If you look at our averages we have a cluster of guys around 10 points and that truly is average, some nights they are at four and some nights they are at 14,” Clubb said. “I think that’s a good thing because if you are preparing for us who are you trying to stop or take away and we’ve had different guys step up on different nights.”

With five West Division games remaining the Clippers are in the thick of the divisional title race at 5-2.

A rematch with West Division leader Center Point-Urbana (5-1) looms later this month.

“It’s exciting,” O’Connor said. “We keep getting better and that’s what we want to be doing this time of the year.”

Ranking update: West High slipped one spot to fifth in Class 4A in the latest Associated Press poll released on Monday.

The defending 4A runner-up Trojans trail top-ranked Waukee, North Scott, Sioux City East and Bettendorf in the 4A poll.

For the second consecutive week West Branch and Regina are both receiving votes in the Class 2A rankings.

Performances of the Week: Regina sophomore Ashton Cook had 20 points and three rebounds in a 63-55 win over West Branch.

West Branch senior Beau Cornwell had 24 points and 13 rebounds in a 63-55 loss to Regina.

Solon junior AJ Coons had 18 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists in a 47-39 win over Williamsburg.

Liberty High junior Andre Brandon had 28 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in a 76-73 win over Dubuque Wahlert.

West High senior Patrick McCaffery had 26 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a 59-56 loss to Cedar Falls.

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