WEBSTER CITY - The ability to play in a real game format without the fear of losing proved to be beneficial to all teams involved in the Iowa Hall of Pride Challenge Saturday evening inside the WCHS gymnasium.
The girls' and boys' teams from Northeast Hamilton and Webster City got the chance to compete prior to the start of their respective regular season openers, and all four coaches walked away pleased with what they saw.
Scores were not kept on the scoreboards, but unofficially the Lynx won the girls game by a point, while WCHS controlled the boys' contest.
DFJ photo by Tracy Runneberg
Webster City’s Cambria Hoffmann (24) gets her shot blocked by Northeast Hamilton’s Leah Meyer (45) as fellow Trojet Jenn Willems (5) races over to help on Saturday inside the WCHS gymnasium. The Lynx and Trojets took part in the Iowa Hall of Pride Challenge.
All funds raised went to Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc.
"We had a real good turnout and I think both schools were well represented, so it was a pretty good deal," WCHS boys' head coach Marty McKinney said. "And I think getting the chance to play a game like this was huge, especially in the new gym and all. We got to go through the routine that we're going to have for home games, and we were able to kind of get those first-game jitters out a little bit. There wasn't as much pressure, but it was a game-like atmosphere as much as it could be."
Even though his team wouldn't have come out ahead had the score been posted, NEH boys' head coach John Seiser felt there were plenty of positives for his somewhat inexperienced group. And the chance to compete in the new facility was a bonus as well, he said.
"It was just a great experience playing in that gym. It's phenomenal," Seiser said. "It was really good for both the kids and also for me being a new coach because we didn't have the pressure of winning or losing and yet I could still get a feel for my team.
"We got everything out of it we wanted."
NEH girls' coach Bret Schutt said it was a little odd at the beginning of the opening tilt considering the players on opposing sides have classes together at Webster City per the sharing agreement. But once it reached the fourth quarter it was just like any other game.
"At the beginning of it the girls were out there talking and it was a little odd," Schutt said. "But it's like I told the girls afterwards, it was as beneficial for the coaches as the girls because we got to learn some of the things we can do and some of the things we can't do. All of the girls played hard and competed hard."
And you can add Schutt to the lengthy list of people who are impressed by the Lynx new facility.
"It's one of the best high school facilities I've ever seen," Schutt said. "I really think it's one of the classiest places in the state."
The Webster City girls' team was coming off a win over Southeast Webster-Grand in the Iowa Central Community College Jamboree on Friday, and new head coach Nicole Muhlenbruch said her bunch showed improvements from one night to the next.
"We had kids making good shot selections, they were hitting their shots, and they were getting up and down the court," she said. "The girls and I are happy about the progress and other people see the girls progressing, too."
The NEH girls will open their regular season tonight in Gowrie against Prairie Valley at approximately 6:45 p.m., following a two-quarter junior varsity contest that starts at 6 p.m.
The WCHS girls will kick-off the season on Saturday at Boone. The freshman/junior varsity/varsity tripleheader will begin at 2 p.m.