Class 4A State Basketball
North Polk 61, Clear Creek-Amana 30

A sizzling start sent North Polk into another state tournament semifinal.

The second-seeded Comets made 10 of their first 12 shots in bolting to a 24-4 lead less than 7 minutes into the game, then settled in for a 61-30 victory over seventh-seeded Clear Creek Amana in Class 4A play.

North Polk ended the first quarter up 26-8, led 42-16 at halftime and sent a running clock into motion for the rest of the game by hiking its lead to 53-18 with 3:21 left in the third quarter.

MaKayla Boatman keyed the Comets’ opening burst, highlighted by a 17-0 run, with an impressive performance of her own. The 5-foot-9 senior scored 16 points and came up with four steals in the first quarter, making seven of her first eight shots on a succession of layups and 3-pointers mixed in with a short jumper in the lane.

She finished with 21 points, five steals and three assists while playing only 22 minutes. Liza Schaffer also scored 21 for the Comets, shooting 8-for-11 and adding three steals. North Polk shot 78.6 percent in the first quarter (11-for-14), then ran off the first 12 points of the second quarter to open a 38-8 lead with 3:41 still to go in the first half.

Ava Locklear led Clear Creek-Amana with 16 points and eight rebounds and Averie Lower scored nine for the Clippers, who reached the state tournament for just the second time.

North Polk finished with 10 steals in all and forced 17 turnovers, which led to 27 points. The Comets beat the Clippers down the floor for 14 fast break points and amassed a 42-10 edge in points in the paint. North Polk shot 60 percent in the first half and finished at 49 percent as coach Clint Albertsen gave everyone who suited up some playing time.

The Comets improved to 22-2 heading into a semifinal game at 6:45 p.m. Thursday. It’s their fifth time in the semis in six state tournament trips. Clear Creek-Amana, which started three juniors and a freshman, finished 18-5 and will be a contender for a state tournament berth again next season.