ALGONA - The prettiest girl doesn't always end up with the crown.
Smooth, artistic and dominant the sixth-ranked (Class 3A) Webster City boys' basketball team is not, but what the Lynx lack in style they more than make up for in nose-to-the-grindstone fundamentals and a sheer will to win.
And they've won a lot.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City senior Sam Mossman (back) bodies up on Algona’s Dylan Cink out at the top of the key in the second half on Friday. Mossman hit four 3-pointers and scored 12 points in the Lynx 48-40 victory.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Andrew May scores two of his game-high 19 points on Friday in No. 6-ranked Webster City’s 48-40 victory over Algona. He’s averaging 16.7 points per game over the last 11 NCC contests.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
WCHS junior Boone Myers (50) gets Algona defenders Cole Nielsen (40) and Sam Lipps (34) off their feet near the basket in the second half on Friday in Algona.
Webster City (17-2, 17-0 NCC) put its blue-collar mentality on display once again Friday night by fending off Algona, 48-40, to clinch the North Central Conference championship outright for the first time since the 2004-05 season. It's the first league title of any kind for senior veterans Andrew May and Jonny Davis, who scored 19 and eight points, respectively.
"We've worked so hard for this and it just feels great to do this in our senior season," May, who has averaged a team-best 16.7 points per game in 11 conference contests since the calendar rolled over to 2012, said afterwards. "We couldn't be any happier."
Davis also distributed eight assists, crashed the boards for six rebounds - May had six caroms as well - and collected three steals. And he still managed to limit Algona big man Sam Lipps to just 15 points - 12 fewer than he poured in when the two teams met back in December.
Webster City 48, Algona 40
Webster City (17-2, 17-0 NCC) - Jonny Davis 3 2-2 8, Garrett Gourley 1 0-0 2, Sam Mossman 4 0-0 12, Bryan Swon 1 0-1 2, Ben Mossman 0 0-0 0, Andrew May 8 3-3 19, Boone Myers 1 3-4 5. Totals: 18 8-10 48.
Algona (10-10, 7-10 NCC) - Luke Arrowood 0 0-0 0, Dylan Cink 6 0-0 12, Sam Curtis 2 0-0 5, Sawyer Frideres 2 0-0 4, Tyler Franzen 0 0-0 0, Justin Raymond 0 0-0 0, Sam Lipps 5 4-4 15, Cole Nielsen 2 0-0 4. Totals: 17 4-4 40.
Webster City11 13 11 13-48
Algona 4 14 6 16-40
3-point field goals - WC 4 (S. Mossman 4); ALG 2 (Lipps, Curtis). Rebounds - WC 23 (Davis 6, May 6, Myers 5). Steals - WC 6 (Davis 3, May 2). Assists - WC 10 (Davis 8). Team fouls - WC 8, ALG 14. Fouled out - none.
Webster City 44, Fort Dodge 39
Fort Dodge (4-16) - Krunal Thakor 0 0-0 0, Austin Halligan 0 0-0 0, JC Hatcher 4 3-6 12, Jericho Habban 1 1-2 3, Tyler Vaughn 5 6-9 18, Andrew Stover 0 1-2 1, Parker VanZyl 0 0-0 0, Sam Edwards 0 1-2 1, Zach Martinson 1 1-4 4. Totals: 11 13-25 39.
Webster City (18-2) - Jonny Davis 4 5-11 13, Garrett Gourley 0 0-0 0, Sam Mossman 2 4-6 9, Bryan Swon 0 1-2 1, Ben Mossman 0 0-0 0, Andrew May 5 6-8 16, Boone Myers 2 1-2 5. Totals: 13 17-29 44.
Fort Dodge7 5 10 17-39
Webster City8 10 11 15-44
3-point field goals - FD 4 (Hatcher, Vaughn 2, Martinson); WC 1 (S. Mossman). Rebounds - WC 17 (May 6). Steals - WC 4 (Davis 2). Assists - WC 5 (Davis 3). Team fouls - FD 28, WC 18. Fouled out - Stover, Edwards, Gourley, Myers.
"This definitely means a lot and it's good to get a (conference championship) under our belt after all the hard work we've put into this," Davis said.
Friday marked the ninth time this season the Lynx have knocked off a conference opponent by fewer than 10 points. They led by double digits throughout most of the second half, only to watch Algona (10-10, 7-10 NCC) go on a 7-0 run to get within 44-40 with 1:46 remaining in regulation.
But just as they've done all season, the Lynx tightened the noose at the defensive end and blanked Algona on its final three possessions. The visitors also made their final four free throws - two by junior Boone Myers to push the lead to 46-40 with 50 seconds left and two more by Davis to extend the lead to the final margin with 25 ticks remaining.
"That's how we play basketball," WCHS head coach Marty McKinney said. "We're a blue-collar team. We're not pretty enough to just run away from people, but we can play defense, we're mentally tough and we make plays when we need to. So you have to give the guys credit because they've gone out and earned this. I couldn't be any more proud of them."
Senior shooting guard Sam Mossman did his job by knocking down four 3-pointers for his 12 points. His second triple from the left corner just before the horn sounded to end the first half gave the Lynx a 24-18 advantage.
Mossman's third 3 extended the cushion to 29-18 2 minutes into the third quarter, and his fourth gave WCHS its biggest lead of the game, 44-29, with 6 minutes remaining in regulation.
"Sam hit some big shots at opportune times," McKinney said. "He's done that all year for us and he's the guy that we rely on for our outside shooting."
May, who was 8 of 11 from the field, banked in his final field goal with 3:20 to go to put the Lynx in front by 11, 44-33. But Lipps ignited Algona's seven-point surge by burying a 3 - his only make from behind the arc on the night - while being hounded by Davis on the Bulldogs' next possession.
"I don't know what it is about Lipps. He's a big body that you can't push around," Davis said. "Sometimes it feels like he doesn't even look at the hoop, but it still goes in there because he's got a really nice shot."
Algona guard Dylan Cink joined Lipps in double figures with 10 points. Myers posted five for WCHS, while Bryan Swon returned from a one-game absence because of an ankle injury and added a bucket in limited minutes. Garrett Gourley also had two points in the win.
But just because the Lynx have the NCC trophy all to themselves, don't think they'll slack off in their regular-season finale at Humboldt.
"We want to do something special and that's finish 18-0," May said.
"I don't know the last time we've had an undefeated conference team in Webster City, but I'm guessing it's been a long time and we want to be that team," the coach said. "We don't want to be 17-1. We're not going to hold anything back because we want to be 18-0."
Tuesday's showdown will also be a preview of a first-round 3A district game, which will take place next Monday in Jeff Gym in Webster City.
Lynx beat Dodgers for first time in 20 years
WEBSTER CITY - Marty McKinney has been on the Webster City sideline for the last two boys' basketball victories over Fort Dodge Senior High, only this time he got to wear pants.
McKinney was a sophomore player for the Lynx back in 1992 when they last topped the Dodgers, but on Saturday the now coach watched his sixth-ranked (Class 3A) squad end a 20-year dry spell with a 44-39 victory over their rival to the west.
"This is a huge win for us and it's something that's been a goal since the beginning of the year," McKinney said. "We've quietly had this one circled on the schedule, and it was just mental toughness from the kids again. They got down and dirty and got it done."
Andrew May paced WCHS (18-2) with 18 points and six rebounds, and Jonny Davis dropped in 13 to go along with three assists and two steals. Sam Mossman had nine points.
Tyler Vaughn led Fort Dodge (4-16) with 18.
The Lynx led throughout, and they took an 18-12 halftime lead. They owned a 17-13 edge at the free throw line.