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2016-17 CCA girls’ basketball preview: All of the pieces are in place for success

Clear Creek Amana varsity girls’ basketball

North Liberty Leader
TIFFIN– P.J. Sweeney took over the top spot for the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) varsity girls basketball program in 2014 and has exuded optimism throughout his tenure. On the eve of the 2016-2017 season, Sweeney is even more encouraged and optimistic than ever about the Clippers’ prospects.
“With four-and-a-half starters and nine letter-winners returning, we have plenty of experience coming back,” Sweeney said.
But the news only gets better for the Creek Girls.
“Seventy-Four percent of our offense returns, along with the top five out of six scorers,” Sweeney said. With a focus on fundamentals such as limiting turnovers, rebounding and team cohesion, the coach added, “In my mind we have all the pieces in place to have a successful season.”
Erin Navara leads the four returning starters. Navara is a 5-foot-7 senior who started all 22 games last season and averaged 10.2 points per game. She also pulled down 5.2 rebounds and had one steal per game. Navara was ranked 10th in the WaMaC West Division in scoring and earned Second Team All-Conference honors.
Abbi Kinnaird, a 5-foot-10 senior, started in 20 of 22 games and averaged 9.1 points per game with 5.2 rebounds. Kinnaird was 10 in the West Division in rebounds and earned WaMaC Honorable Mention.
Claire Navara, a 5-foot-6 senior, started all 22 games last season, averaged 6.1 points per game, pulled down 3.3 rebounds, made 2.8 assists and had an average of 1.2 steals per game. She was ranked eighth in the division in assists.
Be DeShaw, a 5-foot-3 senior and the reigning Homecoming Queen, is the fourth returning starter. She started 21 of 22 games last season and averaged 3.0 points per game with 1.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals.
Lauren Helle is the half-starter. Helle, a 6-foot-1 senior, missed the first nine games of last season due to illness, but rebounded back throughout the balance of the year with 4.2 points per game, 2.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. Helle was ranked fourth in the WaMaC West in blocks.
Kelsey Lipkea, a 5-foot-6 junior, is back as a returning letter-winner who averaged .3 points per game. Sophomore Jordan Neeley (0.5 points per game) and juniors Andrea Roller (0.4 points per game) and Elizabeth Sweeney are back in the line-up as well. Sophomore Lydia Banwart and freshmen Meagan Harvey and Karsyn Stratton move into the varsity ranks this season, as well.
The Creek Girls finished the 2015-2016 season at 8-14 overall and 6-8 in conference play, good for fourth in the WaMaC.
The season opens Tuesday, Nov. 22, on the road in Solon. After a trip to Epworth to face Western Dubuque on Tuesday, Nov. 29, the Creek Girls take on West Delaware in their home opener in Tiffin on Friday, Dec. 2.

2016 CCA Girls Varsity Basketball Schedule
Tuesday, Nov. 22 AT Solon 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 29 AT Western Dubuque, Epworth 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 2 HOME vs. West Delaware 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 3 HOME vs. Iowa City Regina 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 6 AT Benton Community, Van Horne 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 9 HOME vs. Center Point-Urbana 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 13 AT Vinton-Shellsburg 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 18 HOME vs. South Tama 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 3 HOME vs. Maquoketa 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 6 HOME vs. Williamsburg 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 10 HOME vs. Independence 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 13 AT Marion 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 17 HOME vs. Benton Community 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 20 AT Center Point-Urbana 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 24 HOME vs. Vinton-Shellsburg 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 27 AT South Tama 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 31 AT Williamsburg 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 3 AT Independence 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 4 AT Washington (Iowa) 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 7 HOME Vs. Marion 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 9 AT West Branch 6p.m.