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Clear Lake girls fall to Bishop Heelan in state semifinals
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Clear Lake girls fall to Bishop Heelan in state semifinals

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For most of the first half in Thursday’s Class 3A state semifinal, the Clear Lake girls basketball team was close to unstoppable. At halftime, the Lions and No. 3 seed Bishop Heelan had combined for 14 3-pointers, nine of them coming from Clear Lake. 

Heelan vs Clear Lake state basketball

Clear Lake's Julia Merfeld looks for an outlet while being blocked in by Heelan's Katie Cooke (left) and Amber Aesoph during Heelan vs Clear Lake class 3A semifinal-round action of the Iowa girls basketball championships played March 5 at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

After two quarters, Clear Lake was shooting 54.2 percent from the field, 69.3 percent from 3-point territory, and held a 37-28 lead over the Crusaders. 

In the second half, Bishop Heelan took control. The Crusaders outscored the Lions 33-20 over the final two quarters, as Clear Lake suffered a season-ending 61-57 loss. 

The Lions final field goal came with five minutes left in the game, as senior Sara Faber scored a layup to put the score at 56-51 in the Lions' favor. The Crusaders then scored three straight points to pull within two. Lions’ junior Chelsey Holck went to the free throw line with 2:32 left in the game and made one basket, and at that point, the Lions led 57-54.

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But that would be Clear Lake’s final score of the game, as Bishop Heelan scored seven unanswered points to clinch the win, and a berth in the state title game. 

Six-foot senior Ella Skinner proved to be an offensive force for the Crusaders. She finished the game with 24 points on 9-of-19 shooting, with two 3-pointers, and four free throws. 

For Clear Lake, senior Sara Faber led the team with 21 points in her final high school game. Faber went 7-of-13 from the field, with three 3-pointers and five rebounds. As a team, the Lions shot 45.5 percent from the field in Thursday's game, including 12 3-pointers.  Junior Darby Dodd made four 3-pointers and scored 12 points. 

Faber finished her Clear Lake career with 1,564 points, the most in school history.

The Lions finished the season with a 23-3 record. 

Bishop Heelan will play North Polk on Friday night at 8 p.m. in Des Moines for the Class 3A state title. 

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