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Creek is rising in Tiffin

TIFFIN— After a dismal 0-6 record as a start to the 2011-2012 season, Steve Ottoson’s Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Clipper boys appear to be on a roll. The squad ended 2011 with a home win against Mid Prairie and carried that momentum into the new year with a pair of back-to-back wins.
The Creek boys pounded Independence on the road Tuesday, Jan. 3, and returned home for a visit from the West Branch Bears on Thursday, Jan. 5. CCA took the 59-47 non-conference win.
“It’s a good win against a very good team,” Coach Ottoson said, basking in the afterglow of victory.
The Bears took an 8-2 lead with a pair of 3-pointers. Nash Stopko put up Creek’s first bucket and alternated with Tyler Schulte to a 10-8 West Branch lead after the first period. Schulte tied the game at 10 to open the second period. Dillon Villhauer, Clay Miller and Justin Keith kept the squad alive and tied at 22 at the halftime break.
In the third, the Bears had a 34-33 lead until Keith sank a 3-point bomb to give Creek a 36-34 advantage going into the final period. Keith scored a pair of back-to-back buckets to stretch the Clipper lead to six points. A Villhauer free throw near the two-minute mark gave the Clippers an eight-point lead, 50-42. Miller, Villhauer and Keith took multiple turns at the foul line to put the game away one free throw at a time. With nine seconds remaining, the Clippers brought the ball to mid-court where Villhauer held the ball as the final seconds ticked down.
Miller led the squad with 18 points, Keith had 17.
“He’s a hard guard,” Coach Ottoson said of Miller. “If he gets by, other guys will get open, he’ll get the ball into them and they’ll make lay-ups.” As for Keith, Ottoson called him “a scorer. He knows how to get to the basket and score from the free throw line. He picked us up in the third quarter.”
Schulte put up 11 points, Villhauer had nine and Stopko posted four points to round-out the scorers. The win improved CCA’s record to 3-6 overall. The Clippers are on the road Friday, Jan. 13, at Van Horne against Benton Community. On Tuesday, Jan. 17, the boys host the Marion Indians.