By Brett Hart
Clear Lake's girls basketball team kept its unblemished record intact on March 7 when it claimed a sectional title with a 59-31 victory over Northwood in Superior.
The Warriors (26-0) received a big 16-point, six-steal, four-assist and one-blocked shot effort from Maggie Rosen to secure their spot in the 2020 WIAA Division 5 State Tournament - marking just the second ever appearance at the big show for the Warriors.
Maddie Rosen pitched in nine points, five rebounds and three steals as the Warriors went on to rack up more steals than rebounds by a 20-17 margin.
Also scoring for Clear Lake were: Madison Zimmer (eight points, four assists, three steals, two rebounds), Julianna Rosen (seven points, two steals, two rebounds), Lily Hacker (six points), Rayne Vangsness (four points, two steals, two rebounds), Teagen Monson (three points), Lizzie Rosen (two points, two rebounds, two assists) and Brooke Cress (two points).
Northwood finished the season with a 20-6 overall record and a third-place finish in the Lakeland-Central Conference behind the champion Warriors.
Clear Lake enters the state tournament having already defeated Division 5’s eighth-ranked Loyal team as well as the 10-ranked squad from Prairie Farm (twice). The Warriors have also taken down ranked teams in larger divisions including Division 4’s fifth-ranked Colfax Vikings and Division 3’s ninth-ranked St. Croix Falls Saints.
Also making the Division 5 State Tournament are seventh-ranked Newman Catholic (22-4), third-ranked Bangor (25-1) and top-ranked Black Hawk (26-0).
Clear Lake’s only other girls state basketball tournament appearance was in 1997 (Division 4) when it lost in the first round to Gilman, 39-61. Bangor has made the state tournament three previous times including state titles in 1997 and 2018. Black Hawk is the defending state champion and has five previous state tournament appearances in the last 11 years. Newman Catholic has been to state 12 previous times since 2001, winning titles in 2002, 2010 and 2011.