Clear Lake’s first half was a little rusty against Hampton-Dumont.
The Bulldogs had opened with strong defensive play.
In one sequence, Clear Lake senior Zach Lester drove down the court, where he surrendered the ball into H-D senior Joe Vondra’s hands. Before Vondra could turn it down court, junior Drew Enke intercepted his pass. Enke would turn the ball over to senior Cesar Damas, who popped in a 3-point shot from the outside.
It was messy, and the Bulldogs continued to sink in shots from the outside, making four 3-pointers to stay close behind 35-32 at halftime. But the closeness of the first half would be inconceivable by the end, as the Lions closed the game 87-53.
The Lions remained one step ahead thanks to senior Sam Pedelty and junior Tate Storbeck, who made a collective five 3-pointers in the first half.
“They were outplaying us, but we kind of got into a little rhythm there,” Clear Lake coach Jeremey Ainley said. “Started to get our legs back, started pushing the ball and letting us get our tempo got on a little run and was able to break it open a bit.”
Lester got things rolling in the second half, knocking in 12 points from the field.
And when Lester got better, everyone around him got better. Pedelty knocked in his fourth 3 for his total of 12 points.
“Sam and Tate, we rely on them for their outside shooting," Ainley said. "It was good to see them make 6 3’s combined”
Enke seemed to be everywhere, knocking in a 3 for 12 points total and racking up 10 rebounds for a double-double performance.
“Compared to some of the earlier games before this, I just came in with the mindset to crash the boards hard,” Enke said. “And if I crash hard then I’m going to get a lot of rebounds.”
Junior Jared Penning dominated the inside post, slipping in shots around the hands of defenders for 10 points.
By the fourth quarter, the Lions had reached a comfortable pace of domination.
Lester, already above the 20-point mark, tried his hand at a dunk, slipping the ball in with his fingertips for a grand total of 29 points.
“Zach does what he does and the rest of the guys get plenty of looks and stuff, but it’s just a matter of them knocking down shots and playing opportune basketball,” Ainley said.
In the second half, the Lions extended a 19-point lead to a 34-point lead for the 87-53 victory, a substantial difference from the first half, when the Lions led by three.
“Don’t take anybody lightly every game is going to be big in the conference and our goal is to win the league, so we need to take them seriously,” Enke said.