ALLEMAN — The Clarke girls basketball season came to an end here on Saturday, as the Lady Indians lost their Class 3A Region 7 opener to seventh-ranked North Polk, 65-41.
"I knew North Polk was going to be a strong team, but they are even better than I thought," head coach Eric Zoske said. "I had watched five games on film and watched them in person, and I believe that the game they played against us was the best I saw them play. This is simply what teams need to do to advance in tournament time."
Clarke built an early lead, but just as quickly as it built the lead, the lead evaporated as North Polk swung the game in its favor with an 18-8 lead.
"We only turned the ball over one time in this span," Zoske said. "They just kept hitting shots."
The Lady Indians only turned the ball over nine times for the game, battling against North Polk's press. But, Clarke was outrebounded by 18.
Miranda Murphy scored 20 points in the first half for North Polk, but the Lady Indians held her to just two points in the second half. Unfortunately, her twin sister took over the second half.
Devon Carson had a big game in her final game in a Clarke uniform, scoring 16 points with four rebounds. Libby Bemis added nine points and four boards, while Carley Robins netted six points with six rebounds. Maddie Heath scored six and Baylie Balcaen scored four.
"I am very proud of how the girls responded late in the season," Zoske said. "We were 3-13 and neither myself or the girls are used to losing. These seniors had never had a losing season in anything and in 10 years of coaching basketball, I never had a losing record. But we had a couple of heart-to-heart talks and truly came together."
Clarke had six seniors on its roster in Ashley Heston, Delaney May, McKenzi Otto, Bemis, Robins and Carson.
"We had three senior additions this year in Ashley, Delaney and Kenzi," Zoske said. "I'm grateful that they decided to come out for basketball their final year of high school. What Libby, Devon and Carley have taught me over the past two years are lessons that I will remember throughout coaching my entire career, and there is no doubt in my mind that I'm a better coach because of these three seniors."