FORT DODGE - It's all about style.
No, it's not a fashion statement. Which team has the sharper looking uniforms will have no bearing on the outcome of tonight's Class 3A District 4 final between sixth-ranked Webster City (20-2) and Storm Lake (13-8).
It's about style of play. Run and gun versus patience. High scoring versus low scoring.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City senior forward Andrew May tosses up a short jumper over Humboldt’s Charlie Friedl during Monday’s Class 3A district semifinal in Jeff Gym. May averages 12.5 points per game for the sixth-ranked Lynx entering tonight’s District 4 final against Storm Lake in Fort Dodge. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
The team that imposes its style on the other will ultimately have the upper hand.
"The team that can play their style will have the advantage, absolutely," WCHS head coach Marty McKinney said about tonight's tilt from the Fort Dodge Senior High gymnasium that will tip-off at 7 p.m. "Obviously our goal is going to be what it always is; we want to play tough defense."
Storm Lake enters the contest averaging 66.5 points per game - the fifth highest total in 3A. The Tornadoes have been held below 60 points just five times this season and they are 0-5 in those games.
|Webster City Lynx (20-2)|
|Storm Lake Tornadoes (13-8)|
WCHS has allowed the fourth fewest points in the class and teams are putting up, on average, just 43.5 points a night. Only one team - second-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock - has reached 60 points on a Lynx team that has won its last 11 ballgames.
A low scoring game will play right into the Lynx hands. A high scoring affair could mean the end to their dreams of reaching the state tournament for the first time since 2005.
"They want to get up and down the floor and play fast, and they're extremely athletic with kids that can run," McKinney said of the Tornadoes. "If it gets into the 70s we're going to get beat. If it gets into the 60s we're probably going to get beat. If it gets into the 50s we'll have a shot.
"We've got to play our game."
Both teams are coming off district semifinal victories in which its own style won out. Storm Lake jumped on Algona early en route to a 73-65 victory on Monday, while WCHS slowed the tempo down and never trailed Humboldt in a 44-34 triumph.
Senior point guard Jonny Davis scored 24 of the Lynx points in that first postseason outing, but no other player reached double figures.
Davis will take the floor averaging 15.4 points per game, and McKinney says in order for the Lynx to be successful someone else is going to have to step up and shoulder some of the burden.
"It's got to be a team effort," he said. "Jon's our leader and he wants to be the guy that carries us, but we can't rely on him doing it all. And Storm Lake is probably going to set their defense to stop Jon, and that's going to leave some openings for those other guys."
Senior forward Andrew May pours in 12.5 points a night, but he's been limited to just nine total points in the last two games.
Boone Myers (7.4 ppg), Sam Mossman (7.2) and Garrett Gourley (1.2) will round out the Lynx starting five.
Gourley has taken over for injured senior Bryan Swon, who will miss the rest of the season because of an ankle injury. Swon's departure has left a void that McKinney says will be hard to fill.
"Bryan gave us 10 points every night. He wasn't going to score 20, but he also wasn't going to score two," McKinney said. "Garrett has done a great job and he's probably a little better defensively, but we miss Bryan's leadership on the floor."
Davis will get the defensive assignment of trying to shut down Storm Lake's top scoring threat - senior guard Trey O'Brien (16.1 ppg). Senior Pel Deng (12.4) and junior Ethan Kenkel (11.4) also average in double figures for the Tornadoes.
"(O'Brien) isn't very big, but he's real quick and he handles the ball really well," McKinney said. "They're an attack offense; they're going to come right at you, so we don't want to get into a track meet with them. We've got to play good defense and we've got to rebound the ball."
Tonight's winner will advance to Monday's Substate 2 game at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake to face either top-ranked MOC-Floyd Valley (22-0) or LeMars (18-4).