The Clarke girls basketball team came out firing on all cylinders in a 66-38 win over Pleasantville here on Monday.
The Lady Indians jumped out to a quick 12-3 lead and led 17-7 after the first quarter.
“Tonight, it just goes to show when you are relaxed and you work as a team, things tend to go better,” head coach Eric Zoske said. “When you play relaxed, and you get open shots, and they fall early, it’s amazing how many points you can score. You’re not doing anything different, just the shots are going in. It was good to see that tonight.”
Junior Carley Robins got her first start of the season Monday night with Devon Carson coming off the bench with a shoulder injury.
Robins made the most of her opportunity, scoring 20 points to lead the Lady Indians.
“It was a breakout for her,” Zoske said. “She’s done a good job. She didn’t miss a whole lot.”
Overall, the Lady Indians played an unselfish brand of basketball, collecting 11 assists as a team and featuring good ball movement against Pleasantville’s 1-2-2 zone.
Zoske was also able to get his bench players some varsity playing time, something he hadn’t been able to do in recent games.
“The JV, it’s good to get them in,” Zoske said. “We’ve had a really tough schedule this year at the varsity level, so those girls haven’t seen as many minutes as I’d like for them to, so it’s always good to see them on the floor as well.”
Clarke improved to 11-4 for the season with the win. The Lady Indians return to action Friday at Albia.
Clarke also picked up a 55-38 win over Centerville on Jan. 17 in a game similar to the one played against Pleasantville.
Zoske said with illnesses and being shorthanded, he was worried about the Centerville game.
“We’ve been battling the flu. We haven’t been at a full practice in about 10 days now,” Zoske said. “I was a little hesitant going into that game, but we shot 50 percent from the field, shot 5-of-10 from the 3-point line as well. It was just one of those games that shows that we’re very streaky — we’re either making them or we can’t throw a rock in the ocean.”
Clarke’s play against Pleasantville and Centerville was totally different than what Zoske saw out of his team against Eddyville-Blakesburg on Friday, he said.
In a game that likely decided the South Central Conference race, Clarke fell to Eddyville-Blakesburg 41-29.
“We looked rattled. We weren’t quite ready,” Zoske said. “But to make a positive out of that, we had to learn something from that game. I think what we learned was, when beat ourselves, when we get nervous, when we show up scared, when we aren’t ready for the other team, that’s a problem for us. It showed.”
The loss makes it difficult for Clarke to win its third-straight South Central Conference title. Both teams have two conference games left, and Clarke needs to win both games with Eddyville-Blakesburg losing both games in order to win the conference.