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Clear Lake community celebrates basketball success while dealing with losses off the court

Local hoopsters record history and rally together during the deaths of two well-known community figures.

Posted: Mar. 8, 2019 10:38 PM
Updated: Mar. 9, 2019 8:20 AM

KIMT NEWS 3 SPORTS – “We’ve been through a lot as a team,” said Drew Enke.

Throughout the season, the Clear Lake Lions experienced a rollercoaster of emotions.

The Lions were predicted to finish fourth in the North Central Conference, but they went on to take it much further. Clear Lake defeated Charles City 63-53 to advance to the state tournament for the first time in 40 years.

Little did the team know that the journey would become even sweeter, earning the first-ever state basketball win for the boys or girls on Tuesday, advancing them to the semifinals. That is where things would go awry for the Lions falling in the fourth quarter to Norwalk, placing fourth among Iowa’s best teams. The team would also learn that long-time sports icon, Dave Theiss, had passed away Thursday morning.

“Obviously this is a tough loss for everybody because he just celebrated his 50th year of doing something with Clear Lake football,” said KRIB Sports Director, Bob Fisher. “Whether it’s broadcasting or helping coach….yeah it was a shock.”

While things on the court may have seemed picture perfect for the team on the court, behind the scenes, it never was. They also had to rally around teammate, Nick Danielson, whose father, Jon, lost his battle with cancer in late February. Players and coaches could be seen wearing blue ribbons in his honor.

“He (Jon) was very supportive of us,” said Jeremy Ainley, Clear Lake head coach. “He did a lot for us so it’s just our way to honor him and continue to play for him.”

Through it all, these experiences will make these boys stronger men.

“It’s such a family atmosphere, I’m going to mis playing with them,” added Enke.

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