CLEAR LAKE — Charles City began this season with high expectations because of everything it has back from last year. Admittedly, though, a slow start to this season offensively has been a bit of a head-scratcher.
The Comets have all-state guard Jack Molstead back plus one of the best big men in the area in Cade Hemesath, but the pieces haven’t fit together quite yet. Consider Monday night’s 75-64 win over Clear Lake a step back in the right direction, though.
“This team can go really far I think,” Hemesath said. “We just all have to buy into our roles, and I think we have seven or eight guys who can score in double figures every single night so I’m not worried at all about the offense.”
Charles City started off slow with a loss against Dike-New Hartford last week, and then bounced back with a tight win over Algona on Saturday. Improving the offense from those two games was a point of emphasis going forward.
Monday’s win over Clear Lake saw the Comets take the right step.
Following a first quarter which saw the Lions jump to a 17-14 lead, Molstead was his typical self for the Comets, driving into the teeth of the Lions’ defense and either finishing at the rim or creating for his teammates. After being held to two points in the opening eight minutes, Molstead scored 22 over the final three quarters to finish with a team-high 24 points.
“Jack does a really nice job of facilitating the team,” Charles City coach Ben Klapperich said. “He’s a court facilitator, and when he’s attacking and he’s penetrating, we’re at our best because he draws so much attention and it opens up shots for other guys around the perimeter. I can’t speak highly enough about what he does for our team.”
Molstead helped open up the court for the rest of the Comets all night.
Charles City had two others finish in double figures as Mike Cranshaw and Noah Schlader netted 14 apiece. Bradley Andrews, Marcus Cranshaw and Hemesath, who sat for most of the first half in foul trouble, added eight each for the Comets, who put together three solid quarters to close out the game.
Hemesath also collected eight rebounds.
The Comets used a 14-0 run in the second to build up a 28-21 lead, and then continued that into the third and would maintain a double-digit lead for most of the second half.
“We started off slow our first couple games, and Clear Lake is a dang good team so to come out here and win by double digits, that’s pretty good,” Hemesath said.
Clear Lake senior Zach Lester had a great night of his own with a game-high 30 to lead the Lions (2-1). Lester scored nine in the first quarter and scored the Lions’ final 15 points in the fourth. Drew Enke added 12.
“It kind of shows us where we’re at,” Clear Lake coach Jeremey Ainley said of the loss. “We’re not unbeatable and we’ve got some work obviously to do, especially defensively.”