CLINTON — Coach Joe Shovlain can’t help but like the way his Clinton Community College men’s basketball team is playing as the season nears the end. The losses are just as painful as ever, though — perhaps more so.
The 68-65 loss to Iowa Lakes on Wednesday night that ended Clinton’s two-game winning streak hurt as much as any.
“We played our hearts out,” Shovlain said. “We have a few breaks go our ways and it’s ours.”
However, the breaks went the Lakers’ way.
“It would have been a long ride home if we hadn’t finished like that,” Iowa Lakes coach Troy Larson said.
The breaks turned into heartbreaks for Clinton.
“It’s pretty frustrating when we put everything on the court,” Clinton freshman guard Trevion Gaines said. “We’re playing the best we have all season. We’ve got to correct a couple of things and we’ll be right there.”
After battling from behind the whole second half, the Cougars (3-23, 1-12 Iowa Community College Athletic Conference) found themselves right there when Gaines buried a 3-pointer from the right wing to put Clinton ahead 63-62 with 2 minutes, 56 seconds remaining.
“I had an open three and knocked it down to take the lead,” he said.
The lead lasted 14 seconds. Deondre Parks, who led the Lakers (20-8, 9-4) with 20 points, penetrated and scored. But, 9 seconds later, Clinton was back on top when Onterier Brown (23 points) made a pair of free throws.
After that, neither team could connect, and it appeared Clinton was in good shape when Parks forced up an off-balance shot from the right side with the shot clock about to expire and only 29.9 seconds left on the game clock. Clinton’s BeeJay Caleb and Kimani Stevens battled Iowa Lakes’ Latrell Love for the rebound, and it went out of bounds off the Lakers.