WEBSTER CITY - The reminiscing about the perfect 18-0 league record and North Central Conference championship are over. Conversations about the remarkable regular season that led to 19 victories have been left on the curb, too.
Webster City has moved on.
"That's over with. Winning conference was a great accomplishment and we'll celebrate that later on, but right now our focus is this second season because we've got more goals that we want to accomplish," WCHS head coach Marty McKinney said.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City senior point guard Jonny Davis drives to the basket against Eagle Grove earlier this season. He enters tonight’s Class 3A postseason opener against Humboldt averaging 15 points, 5.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game.
The second season begins tonight.
The seventh-ranked Lynx will entertain conference rival Humboldt tonight in a Class 3A District 4 semifinal at 7 p.m. It will be the final varsity contest ever on the hallowed hardwood inside Jefferson Gymnasium, and the winner will advance to Thursday's district championship in Fort Dodge to face either Storm Lake or Algona.
Top-ranked MOC-Floyd Valley and No. 10 LeMars occupy spots in District 3, and the two district champions will square off in the Substate 2 final next week. But McKinney says anyone that thinks his team is looking ahead to Thursday or beyond is crazy.
"We're not looking to Thursday or anything beyond (tonight)," he said. "We're prepping for what we know is going to be a big battle with Humboldt."
McKinney speaks from experience. WCHS beat Humboldt twice during the regular season, including in the regular season finale for both teams last Tuesday, but both games went into overtime. The Wildcats (12-10) two losses to the Lynx were by a combined seven points, so the idea that WCHS will simply steamroll into the next round is far-fetched.
"Humboldt is a good basketball team and this isn't going to be easy," McKinney said. "Last week's game was hard to gauge because I don't think Humboldt showed all their cards, and I think it was very basic on both teams' parts. I don't know how much we really learned other than it's two pretty even teams, so I expect a pretty close game."
The Lynx didn't do themselves any favors by stepping off the accelerator in the previous two encounters. Humboldt outscored them 12-1 in the fourth quarter to force OT the last time it traveled to Jeff Gym on Jan. 17, and the Wildcats went on a 12-5 spurt in the final 8 minutes of regulation last week to draw even.
Finishing is an emphasis, McKinney said, and so is rebounding. And that's why WCHS has gone back to its roots in its practice sessions leading up to this third battle.
"With injuries and playing a lot of games over the last few weeks, we hadn't had a whole lot of time in practice and we tried to keep them really light," McKinney said. "But we've been getting after each other the last few days, similar to what we did early in the season and during the Christmas break.
"We need to keep our foot on the gas and we've got to limit them to one shot on each possession."
The Lynx hang their hat on defense. They've held 15 opponents to fewer than 50 points this season, and they allow just 43.9 points per game. Only second-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock eclipsed 60 points in its 64-61 win over WCHS on Jan. 14, which also was the last time the purple and gold lost.
WCHS enters the postseason riding a 10-game win streak.
"If we guard like we're capable of doing, we should be in fairly good shape," McKinney said.
Senior point guard Jonny Davis leads WCHS in scoring at 15 points per game, and he spearheaded last week's overtime win with 21. Andrew May averages 12.9 a night; he had 24 in the first meeting with Humboldt, but was limited to just four last week.
The Wildcats look to senior forward Charlie Friedl (12.1 ppg), freshman guard Jaxon Heinz (10.3) and junior shooting guard Michael Orness (9.3) for its offensive production.