TIFFIN– The ship is back on an even keel. After a season-opening loss to Center Point-Urbana, the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) varsity girls battled the Mustangs of Independence for a 67-57 win Tuesday, Dec. 3, at home.
The Clippers took an early lead with a Kelsey Hall 3-pointer and led 11-2 before an end-of-the-first period rally by the Mustangs narrowed the gap to 11-8 in favor of CCA.
Emily Wieland opened the second period for CCA by scoring on a rebound, Molly Villhauer added a pair of baskets and Lauren Stopko nailed a 3-pointer. The Clippers enjoyed a 27-22 lead at the half.
Third period highlights included Hall swiping the ball and burying it in the basket for a 31-26 lead and Hannah Mougin hitting a 3-pointer with less than a minute remaining in the period. Mougin nailed two more 3-bombs in the fourth as the Clippers sailed on to victory in a game where they never trailed.
It was far from smooth sailing, however.
“The girls battled through adversity,” coach Matt Haas said, particularly in regards to foul woes. A new emphasis by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) this season to enforce illegal contact led to a plethora of foul calls, and foul trouble for the players.
“We tell ‘em, that’s part of the game, you have to adjust. Let’s not make excuses, let’s just adjust to it and we’ll be fine.” But, “you get two fouls in the first half and you’re sitting on the bench… seven girls sitting on the bench with two fouls. But, I thought overall we did well, especially since we didn’t have anybody foul out.”
In a Nov. 22 memo to coaches and officials, Joel Oswald, assistant director of the IGHSAU stressed, “when contact occurs that affects the rhythm, speed, quickness and balance of the player, illegal contact has occurred. When illegal contact occurs, fouls must be called. Officials must not refrain from calling these types of actions that create an advantage for the opponent. Illegal contact must be called regardless of time and score.” Oswald added, “we must return to allowing a more free flowing game by making defenders play defense with their feet, allowing freedom of movement for cutters, and allowing shooters the opportunity to release the shot free of illegal contact.”
The frequent foul calling drew the ire of some in the stands, who may not have been aware of the changes. Haas took it in stride.
“The officials are doing what they’re taught to do, the players need to adjust,” Haas said. “All they’re doing is calling what they see. As coaches we need to do a better job coaching that, and the players need to do a better job of accepting that’s the way it’s going to be and they need to move their feet.” Haas agreed it will be a period of adjustment, joking, “they’d better figure it out, or there’ll be a lot of girls sitting on the bench (in foul trouble). The game needs to get cleaned up,” Haas said.
As for the Clippers performance, Haas said, “We had some big shots. Hannah Mougin stepped up and had some big shots, Kelsey (Hall) is really growing as a point guard, and I thought overall we did a lot of good things,” but, he added, “it’s still really early in the year, we’ve got things to improve on, but I thought the girls battled well and did a good job.”
The Creek Girls will face Williamsburg at home on Tuesday, Dec. 17, with frosh/soph action starting at 4:30 p.m., junior varsity at 6 p.m. and the varsity taking the court around 7:30 p.m.