WINTERSET — The Clarke girls basketball team suffered a 53-34 loss against Class 4A Winterset here on Saturday, but even though it ended in a loss, the game was a good tuneup for the team’s Class 3A regional opener on Saturday.
“There was really nothing on the line for us in this game,” head coach Eric Zoske said. “Winterset’s a good team. They have a Division I point guard. Great challenge for us going into Saturday’s game against North Polk.”
Zoske said it was a good matchup for his team to prepare for seventh-ranked North Polk, as the two teams are very similar.
“Winterset played man the whole game, and I think North Polk is going to play man the whole game,” Zoske said. “North Polk is led by a point guard and Winterset is lead by a point guard, which I thought Maddi Heath did a good job holding her (Mariah Criswell) to 11 points.”
Senior Libby Bemis led the Lady Indians offensively with 17 points and eight rebounds. Carley Robins knocked down three more 3-pointers, scoring 10 points.
Robins finishes the regular season with 51 made 3-pointers, which is just one behind the state leaders in that category.
Devon Carson added five points with six rebounds and four assists. Baylie Balcaen pulled down five rebounds.
The loss came less than 24 hours after the Lady Indians picked up a big win in the final conference game of the season.
Clarke got a 58-52 road win at Davis County on Friday.
“We just kept hitting shots and won it 58-52,” Zoske said. “That’s against a pretty good Davis County team. It’s tough to get wins at Davis. We shot 18-of-34 from the field, 7-of-12 from the 3-point line. Libby, Carley and Devon all had double figures, so it was a great team effort. We play like that, we can make a deep run into the tournament.”
Robins finished with 21 points, hitting five 3-pointers in the win. Bemis scored 17 points and Carson added 11.
It was the fourth straight win for Clarke, which is playing some of its best ball of the season.
“We had won four in a row coming into this (Winterset) game,” Zoske said. “Win this game, lose this game, it honestly doesn’t matter a whole lot. We’re still playing solid at the right time of the season and that’s all you can ask for. We’ve grown up a lot this year from the first game until today.”
Clarke opens regional play Saturday at North Polk, Alleman. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. The other quarterfinal game on Clarke’s side of the bracket is Interstate 35 hosting Chariton at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The winners of those two games will meet Feb. 19 in Alleman.