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Cats vs. Dogs: Clear Lake takes on Algona in Game of the Week
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Cats vs. Dogs: Clear Lake takes on Algona in Game of the Week

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Clear Lake girls basketball vs Webster City 12.18 (17).jpg

Sara Faber (#4) drives toward the basket at a home game against Webster City on Dec. 17, 2019. Faber is one of the top scorers for the Lions and was held to just eight points Monday night at Waverly-Shell Rock. 

Shake off your snowy boots and vacuum the pine needles from your carpet, the holiday season is officially over.

Most of the adults are already back at work, but for the kids of North Iowa, school begins anew on Monday. That's when area games get started, too.

The high school basketball season will get back on track Friday night, as two talented area squads face off in Cerro Gordo County. In a game between the Clear Lake and Algona girls basketball teams, there will be plenty of key players for fans to keep an eye on. 

Clear Lake is ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 3A and is led by multi-sport superstar Sara Faber. The senior is currently averaging a career-high 18.4 points per game, and is shooting an impressive 50 percent from the floor. On the other side of the ball, she leads the team with 21 assists, and 27 steals. Faber, who also plays soccer, volleyball, and softball for the Lions, is a person with precious little downtime.

But after a holidays-enforced two-week break, Faber will surely be eager to get back out on the floor and continue the dominant season she and the rest of her teammates have had so far. On the year, the Lions have scored 499 points as a team, fourth among area schools. Clear Lake is a perfect 7-0, their most recent win a dominant 77-18 victory at St. Edmond on Dec. 20. 

In addition to Faber, juniors Darby Dodd and Kaitlyn Vanderploeg have had statistically admirable years. Dodd, a transfer student from Iowa Falls-Alden, is second on the team with 10.1 points per game, and has a team-high 20 3-pointers so far. On defense, the 6-foot-1 inch Vanderploeg has been an intimidating presence, with 41 total rebounds, and 18 of the Lions' 26 blocks. 

All of that talent makes Clear Lake a very tough opponent, but Algona also comes in with plenty of earned confidence. Though the 5-2 Bulldogs recently fell out of the top-15 in the Class 3A rankings, Algona has some threats of its own. 

Abbey Holmes leads the Bulldogs in points, shooting percentage, and 3-pointers, while ranking on the squad in assists and steals. The poetically-named Molly McCauley leads the Bulldogs with 31 rebounds, and also has 10 steals.

Holmes will be the biggest threat offensively for the Bulldogs, but could be in for a tough day against the stout Clear Lake defense, which has allowed just 212 total points on the season. The Lions' 287-point differential is the fourth-best mark in the state, and their 41-point average margin of victory is third-best in Iowa.

Based on their offensive and defensive dominance over the first month of the season, Clear Lake should win this game by a fair margin. The Lions are 67-12 so far in the Sara Faber era, and with plenty of pent-up energy from two weeks away from the hardwood, expect Faber to put up some crooked numbers. 

Score prediction: Clear Lake 72, Algona 55

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