OSCEOLA – Clarke girls and boys basketball struggled with talented and athletic Mount Ayr teams Monday night, falling in the girls match 78-47 and in the boys game 64-46.
In the girls’ contest, Mount Ayr jumped out to a blistering 24-4 start in the first quarter to help create separation in the win.
A combination of scoring from Sam Stewart and Channler Henle helped push the Raiderettes ahead early with both having a hand in a combined nine scoring plays to open the contest.
The combo of the two and the team’s ability to move on the floor may have taken the Lady Indians by surprise, said Raiderettes head coach That Streit.
“I think our speed shocked them (Clarke),” said Streit. “... I think Channler shot the ball really well. She had some nice drives and some buckets early in the game and she had a good offensive game.”
With a first quarter break, the Lady Indians were allowed a chance to catch their breath and recoup before hauling off a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 28-20.
The margin was short lived as Mount Ayr snapped back into form, going on a 13-3 stretch before closing the half at 43-25.
The Mount Ayr girls stepped on the gas in the second half, expanding the lead to 30 points before the final horn sounded at 78-47.
The offensive explosion Monday night after a 71-41 loss to Red Oak last week was something Streit felt particularly good about.
“Offensively, I thought we did great moving the ball,” said Streit. “... We looked really good on offense. We moved the ball so well and had good flow for a majority of the time. We did a nice job.”
A fast paced game saw the Raiderettes turn the ball over only seven times. On the other end, Clarke turned the ball over an abundance of times to Mount Ayr, giving the Raiderettes 20 steals by the end of the game.
“We had seven turnovers on our stat sheet,” said Streit. “... That’s pretty dang good for us, considering the pace. With how many possessions we had, ... that’s what we want to do is get the pace going a little bit in our favor and try to create some turnovers and get some layups.”
Despite the success on defense, Streit mentioned the defense in the second quarter needs to be adjusted and cleaned up to make the Raiderettes less vulnerable to defeat in future games.
“We’ve got to get that shored up. Somebody’s going to beat us because of that,” said Streit.
The Raiderettes were led by Sam Stewart’s 27 points. She also added six steals and assists to her stat line. Henle was close behind with 21 points, grabbing four rebounds and three steals.
Alexa Anderson scored eight points while Rachel Sobotka and Maddie Stewart both scored seven. Anderson was the leader on the team in rebounds with six.
Boys roll past Clarke
The Mount Ayr boys cruised in its 64-46 win over the Indians, picking up its first win of the season over a rebuilding Clarke program.
Much like the Raiderettes, the Raiders pulled ahead early and created the separation it needed in the rout.
After the first quarter, the Raiders led 24-12 with a firm grip on the momentum of the game due to a 16-4 run through the early stages of the contest.
However, while having the momentum and the lead, the aggressive gameplan to go after a relatively inexperienced Clarke team put the Raiders in foul problems early.
“We really wanted to attack them,” said Raiders head coach Bret Ruggles. “Defensively, we wanted to pressure them. Our pressure wasn’t great tonight, we made a lot of unnecessary fouls, ... we really attacked the ball handler tonight and got into some bad foul situations.”
With the foul issues early, the Raiders had no issue containing Clarke as it built up a 30-point lead at 58-28 off scoring from Isaac Grose, Payton Weehler, Dawson Frost and Dalton Elwood. Once foul trouble hit in the second half, Ruggles felt confident in his bench due to how deep the team can be.
“It’s a testament to our depth. We can afford a little foul trouble,” said Ruggles. “We can bring in a freshman like Jaixen Frost, who played fantastic tonight, and put in (Kolben) Klommhaus and do OK. We can do some stuff with that depth, and it helps a lot when you can do that.”
Cole Clymer fouled out for the Raiders. In total, Mount Ayr had 19 fouls.
Despite Clarke’s struggles in putting points on the board, the Indians ultimately found a hot streak late in the fourth quarter.
The Indians closed out the contest with a 12-0 run which included three consecutive 3-point scores. The late fire in the Indians gave Ruggles good things to say on a team which is both finding its identity for the season and learning as it goes.
“All in all, I was really impressed with Clarke,” said Ruggles. “They moved the ball well, they did some nice things. That’s more of a team than last year, I would say. ... It was a much different look than what we’re used to.”
The Mount Ayr boys were led by Frost’s 20 points, which was complimented by Grose’s 17 points. Weehler scored seven points while Cayden Lambert and Klommhaus scored six points each.
Complete stats were unavailable for the Mount Ayr boys at press time.
UP NEXT – Mount Ayr’s boys (1-0) and girls (1-1) teams will host Southwest Valley in its home opener Friday night. The girls’ contest will tipoff at 6 p.m. with the boys following.