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Seven North Iowa basketball teams remain undefeated heading into 2020
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Seven North Iowa basketball teams remain undefeated heading into 2020

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As boys and girls high school basketball teams take a break from the action to revamp, recover, reevaluate and re-energize, seven North Iowa teams might want to leave things just the way they are.

Four North Iowa girls teams join only 20 others statewide, while three area boys teams join 31 others that ended play last Friday with victories and an unblemished record.

Here are the teams that are undefeated in North Iowa:

Girls basketball

CLEAR LAKE

The Lions started the season with a dominating 63-27 victory at home against Charles City and have been steamrolling opponents since then.

In its seven straight wins, Clear Lake has outscored its opponents 499-212, defeating teams by an average of 41 points a contest.

The only real close game the Lions have had this season was against Mason City on the road.

In that game, Mason City built a 16-point advantage over Clear Lake midway through the third quarter and was on the verge of putting the Lions away, but a 29-10 run over the final 12 minutes helped the Lions pull out an improbable 67-64 win.

Senior Sara Faber leads the Lions in scoring with 18.4 points per game, followed by junior Darby Dodd at 10.1 ppg.

Junior Kaitlyn Vanderploeg leads Clear Lake with 41 rebounds for a 5.8 per game average, while Faber and Chelsey Holck each have 28 in seven games.

In their first game back after the break, the Lions host Algona on Jan. 3. Other games Clear Lake is circling on its schedule are Jan. 11 at Forest City, Jan. 17 at Hampton-Dumont-CAL, and the last game of the season on Feb. 11 when the Lions host the Bulldogs for a second time.

WEST HANCOCK

With the memory of a 76-52 lost to Newell-Fonda in the 2018-19 state title game still fairly fresh in their minds, the West Hancock girls basketball team started this season with a goal of taking the final step and bringing back a championship to Britt.

That quest has started with the Eagles going 8-0 at the holiday break, with a tough 46-41 win at West Branch to open the season, and then seven games where they completely dominated play.

With an offense that averages just over 71 points a game and a stifling defense that allows a paltry 36 points a game, the Eagles seem to have found the perfect recipe to make it back to the state tournament.

Junior Rachel Leerar leads West Hancock on offense, scoring at a 19.3 points per game clip. She also is second on the team with 34 rebounds in eight games. She’s followed by senior Madison Eisenman (11.9 ppg) and sophomore Kennedy Kelly (10.0 ppg).

Defensively, Amanda Chizek is averaging 9.5 rebounds per game and scoring at a 9.6 points per game clip.

West Hancock will host Newman Catholic on Jan. 3.

HAMPTON-DUMONT-CAL

The Bulldogs haven't blown out their opponents so far this season with two games decided by a total of six points, but still have beaten opponents by an average of 18 points in going 6-0.

Against St. Ansgar, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 25-16 first period lead, then experienced cold shooting the next period to manage just a 32-29 halftime lead. The Bulldogs then had to stave off the Saints for a four-point win.

In its last game, the Bulldogs downed Webster City 58-44 to improve to 7-0.

In its Dec. 17 against Humboldt, the Bulldogs fell behind early and then clawed their way back for a 44-42 victory to remain perfect on the season.

Through six games (no stats were available for the Webster City game), sophomore Lauren Meader leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 14.2 points per game, while sophomore Avery Hanson averages 12.8 ppg and senior Courtney Miller averages 10.8 ppg.

On the boards, Hanson leads the team with 27 rebounds in six games, while senior Briana Grover has 25.

Hampton-Dumont-CAL will host Iowa-Alden on Jan. 3.

BISHOP GARRIGAN

The Golden Bears are 8-0 going into the break, dominating opponents in every game this season by an average of 43 points per game.

Only two games were decided by fewer than 24 points, with the last game at North Union being the closest with a final of 73-57.

Freshman Audi Crooks leads Bishop Garrigan with a 20.4 points a game average and 11.3 rebounds a game.

Freshman Molly Joyce is also having a good season, averaging 19.6 points per game. She also leads the team with 45 steals.

The Golden Bears host North Iowa on Jan. 3.

Boys basketball

OSAGE

The Green Devils started the season with a resounding 73-19 win over Newman Catholic at home and have outscored opponents 414-202 this season, and have kept two teams to under 20 points.

In its last game on Dec. 20, Osage was held well below its season average, but a stifling defense was the key in a 45-29 victory at Nashua-Plainfield.

Leading the way for the Green Devils so far this season is senior Jonah Bluhm with 18.5 points per game. He is followed by senior Jarrett Scharper who is scoring 14.0 points per game. Senior Thor Maakestad rounds out a trio of players who score nearly 10 points a contest. He averages 9.6 points per game.

On the boards, sophomore Nathan Havel leads the Green Devils with 35 rebounds, while Maakestad has 26 and senior Ty Creger 24.

Osage open plays after the break with one of the toughest teams on its schedule, hosting undefeated West Fork on Jan. 3.

WEST FORK

The Warhawks began the season on a high note, defeating a tough Clear Lake team 76-70 in a game that saw the Lions take an early lead only to lose it.

West Fork (7-0) then made quick work out of its next five opponents until hosting St. Ansgar in a 61-57 thrilling win on Dec. 20.

The Warhawks have a trio of players scoring in double figures, led by juniors Kayden Ames with 14.3 points per game and Jakob Washington at 13.4 points per game, followed by senior Brayden Vold at 11.7 points a contest.

Washington leads West Fork on the boards, pulling down 10.0 rebounds per game.

West Fork will be on the road at Osage to meet the undefeated Green Devils on Jan. 3.

ALGONA

The Bulldogs have started the season with six consecutive victories, including a thrilling 50-48 win at Bishop Garrigan on Dec. 14.

In that game, the two undefeated teams played a spirited game that went down to the wire. In the final minute, the game could have gone either way.

After Algona senior Wyatt Wegener tied the game at 48-48 with seconds left to play, two Bishop Garrigan fouls led to two (out of four) made free throws in the waning moments to give the Bulldogs the win.

Algona is led by senior Collin Bleich with 14.4 points per game, Wegener at 11.8 points a contest and junior Noah Nelson with 10.4 points per game.

Wegener leads the Bulldogs with 41 rebounds in six games, followed by seniors Jason Cecil with 31 and James Wartick with 26.

The Bulldogs will come out of the break and take on Clear Lake on the road on Jan. 3.

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