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CLEAR LAKE – Defense has been the consistent strength for the Clear Lake girls basketball team, and Lions coach Bart Smith expects that defense to be the catalyst for the remainder of the season.

On Saturday, Forest City tested that defense as the Indians put up 34 points in the first half, but Clear Lake recovered in the second half and picked up a 66-53 nonconference win.

“We have always made it tough to score,” Smith said. “We need to get back to defending the ball in the half court.”

Clear Lake held a slim 37-34 advantage at the intermission before the defense took over in the third quarter.

The Lions outscored Forest City 12-6 in the third and started the fourth quarter with a 10-0 run that put the game out of reach.

Sara Faber led the Clear Lake offense with 21 points, 14 of which came in the second half.

The Lions received a huge boost off the bench as sophomore forward Chelsey Holck totaled 15.

“I feel like we needed a lift,” Holck said. “I found a way to get open.”

Holck made her first three shots from the floor, including a pair of threes, to help spark an 8-0 Lions run.

Lexi Fasbender and Julia Merfeld had nine and eight points, respectively.

Kelsey Koch led Forest City with 15 points.

Sophomore forward Kaylee Miller had 10 and Erin Caylor finished with nine.

Erin Caylor's 14-point performance was enough for a Forest City victory on Friday, Jan. 4, as the Indians earned a convincing, 16-point victory on the road.

The final score was Forest City 46, Lake Mills 30.

Noelle Jones and Shae Dillavou each scored eight points, and Kelsey Koch had seven. Dillavou also had a team-high five rebounds, five assists and six steals.

Hannah Hanson scored 11, and Jessa Gasteiger scored seven, for the Bulldogs. 

Forest City (6-6) returns home to host Eagle Grove (2-9) on Tuesday, Jan. 8. They then travel to Garner-Hayfield-Ventura (5-6) on Friday, Jan. 11.

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