Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
TIFFIN – Karsyn Stratton is Clear Creek Amana’s leading scorer for lots of reasons, all of which were on display against Mount Pleasant on Wednesday.
The junior guard scored 29 points to lead the Clippers to a 56-48 victory over Mount Pleasant in a Class 4A first-round regional matchup.
Stratton outscored Mount Pleasant 17 to 15 in the first half, and it was crucial that she did because her teammates missed 15 of their 17 shots in the first half.
Asked if she tried to be more aggressive with her teammates struggling to make shots, Stratton said:
“A little bit, but I always have confidence that they’re going to catch back on and get hot again,” Stratton said. “It’s just kind of how things are with our team. We understand each other and when we need to take over and things like that.”
Mount Pleasant started the third quarter on a 13-3 scoring run and evened the score at 28 on two free throws by senior Maddie Williamson with 3 minutes, 2 seconds left in the quarter.
It was clear at the point that Stratton needed some help on offense and junior Meagan Harvey rose to the occasion by making back-to-back 3-point baskets.
Harvey’s second trey gave the Clippers a 34-31 lead with 2 minutes left in the third quarter. She finished with 13 points, including 11 in the second half, before fouling out with 4:57 left to play.
“She was huge,” Clear Creek coach P.J. Sweeney said of Harvey, who missed all seven or her shots in the first half. “They were making a run and tied the game and she made back-to-back threes for us and gave us a little momentum.
“She got an offensive rebound and a put-back. So yeah, there was that two or three-minute stretch where she carried us and did an awesome job.”
Nobody was more pleased than Stratton to see Harvey get hot at the right time. The Panthers were doing all they could to keep Stratton in check after what she did in the first half, so it was imperative that somebody else step up on offense.
“It was huge. It was awesome,” Stratton said of Harvey’s contribution in the third quarter. “I was so happy for her. At one point I told her, heat check keep shooting.”
The Clippers improved to 11-7 overall and will face Fairfield in a regional semifinal on Saturday in Fairfield.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the girls,” Sweeney said. “I told them win and advance. That’s the most important thing and we did that.”
Stratton said the Clippers are playing with confidence right now.
“Right now, we’re working well together,” Stratton said. “Our team chemistry is very good. We have so much potential and we see it.”
Sweeney was just relieved to have advanced past the first round because that isn’t always easy to do, as was the case on Wednesday.
“The first one is the toughest coming into postseason and we got this first one out of the way and took care of business,” Sweeney said. “We were a little bit sluggish there in the first half and Karsyn stepped up to the plate and made some plays for us.”
The Clippers also received a spark off the bench from sophomore forward Emily Sly and from freshman center Calia Clubb, who usually starts, but came off the bench on Wednesday after being sick.
Mount Pleasant struggled with Sly’s length at the front of Clear Creek’s zone defense, especially in the second quarter when the Panthers were held to just six points.
“That frustrated them there in that second quarter and I think we had them 1-for-11 in that second quarter,” Sweeney said.
Clubb, in addition to making all four of her free throws in the second half, also made her presence felt on the boards.
“She gave us some good minutes in there and she said she felt fine,” Sweeney said. “We need her in there, too. She battles and rebounds well for us.”
The Clippers need help from practically everybody if they hope to keep advancing. Stratton is a talented scorer, but she can’t do it alone.
“Karsyn is going to be better if everyone else is involved, so everybody can’t key on her,” Sweeney said. “So Meagan stepped up and she needs to keep on shooting, because you could see tonight, if she’s open she can knock it down.”
Williamson led Mount Pleasant with 22 points, with more than half of her points coming from the free throw line where she converted on 12-of-17 attempts.
There were 44 fouls called in Wednesday’s game as both team combined to shoot 56 free throws, including 34 by Mount Pleasant.
Stratton said the Clippers have to do a better job of protecting a lead.
“They just kept coming,” she said of Mount Pleasant, which finished the season with a 6-15 record. “So we’ve just got to figure how to put them away early.”
Mount Pleasant (48) – Maddie Williamson 4-11 12-17 22, Sadie Carrasco 5-11 1-3 11, Elli Liechty 0-1 0-1 0, Lydia Stewart 0-2 1-2 1, Emma Huckabone 2-5 3-5 7, Isabel Ashton 0-1 5-6 5, Kenna Lamm 0-0 0-0 0, Sydni Coleman 1-8 0-0 2. Totals 12-39 22-34 48.
Clear Creek Amana (56) – Whitney Traetow 2-8 0-2 4, Jordan Neely 0-4 2-3 2, Gracie Downes 0-4 0-0 0, Karsyn Stratton 12-22 4-7 29, Meagan Harvey 4-13 3-3 13, Morgan Etscheidt 0-0 0-0- 0, Calia Clubb 0-1 4-5 4, Allie Rummelhart 0-1 2-2 2, Emily Sly 1-4 2-2 4, Lydia Banwart 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-57 15-22 56.
3-point field goals – MP 2 (Williamson); CCA 3 (Harvey 2, Stratton). Fouls – MP 21, CCA 23. Fouled out – CCA (Harvey), MP (Stewart)