WEBSTER CITY - Is there such a thing as frequent bus miles? The Webster City basketball teams may want to look into it.
The bumpy and winding roads in the dark of night have and will continue to be home for the Lynx during the pre-Christmas portion of the schedule, including tonight's road trip east to take on Iowa Falls-Alden. The girls' game will tip-off at 6:15 p.m., followed by the boys' clash at 7:45 p.m.
The WCHS girls will play seven of their nine games away from home prior to the New Year, while the boys will hit the road six times in eight outings.
DFJ file photo by Troy Banning
WCHS boys’ head coach Marty McKinney (right) talks with then senior Bryan Swon during a game last season. McKinney will take his Lynx to Iowa Falls tonight to tackle the Cadets. Tip-off is set for 7:45 p.m.
Is it ideal? Absolutely not. It simply is what it is.
"Sure, if I could choose I'd rather have it the other way around because playing at home is an advantage, but we prep for every game the same," WCHS boys' head coach Marty McKinney said. "We're not making it a distraction."
Lynx girls' coach Nicole Muhlenbruch followed the company line, but she admitted her players are looking forward to stepping onto their own floor for the first time.
"I don't see being on the road as a problem because it's just another day on the basketball court," she said. "But the girls are counting down the days to when they can play on their home court."
McKinney's bunch could be stepping into the eye of a hurricane tonight against a Cadets' team that surely remembers two slobberknockers from a season ago, both won by the Lynx (52-45 and 44-38) on their way to a perfect 18-0 North Central Conference record. WCHS also derailed Iowa Falls-Alden's potential blemish-free league mark two years ago when it won the title.
"I'm sure they remember and I'm sure they've had this one circled all summer," McKinney said. "This is a heck of a rivalry and I'm sure they're going to come out pretty jacked up."
IF-A (1-0, 1-0 NCC) possesses the league's top talent in 6-foot-8 junior swingman Casey Schlatter, a first-team all-conference performer who has already drawn college interest from a host of Missouri Valley Conference schools. Schlatter lived up to the hype in a 67-58 win over Clear Lake on Tuesday with 41 points on 14 of 20 shooting from the field. He canned 4 of 6 3-pointers and 9 of 14 shots from the free throw line.
WCHS (0-1, 0-0 NCC) held Schlatter to nine and eight points, respectively, in two games last winter, but McKinney knows that was an awfully long time ago.
"I've watched the tape of the Clear Lake game and he's definitely improved," McKinney said of Schlatter. "He's matured, he's stronger and he's added stuff to his game. He's playing in the post a little bit more and he's really active off the dribble, so he's going to be a handful."
The Lynx will throw a slew of defenders at Schlatter. McKinney doesn't expect to shut him down completely, but he also concedes that a second straight monstrous night will be disastrous.
"If he scores 40 we get beat," he said. "We've just got to make him work for everything he gets and we can't get frustrated, but he's going to get his points."
Senior center Boone Myers scored 10 points - he shot 4 of 4 from the floor and hit both of his free throw attempts - to lead WCHS in its 59-47 loss to Fort Dodge on Monday. The 6-foot-5 veteran will continue to see his chances to score increase, McKinney says.
"We're definitely going to make it more of a priority to get Boone the ball," McKinney said. "But we also know that teams are going to focus on him, so we're going to get open looks for other guys."
Nick Olmstead notched eight points in the Lynx season-opening loss, while Mason Myers connected for seven in his first varsity game. Austin Myers chipped in six.
The Lynx girls' team (0-2, 0-1 NCC) has struggled offensively in back-to-back losses to Boone and Algona. They're averaging just 21.5 points per game, while shooting 23.3 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from the charity stripe.
Senior forward Rachel Kauffman leads WCHS in scoring at 6.5 points per game. She also hauls down 5.0 rebounds.
They'll face an IF-A (1-0, 1-0 NCC) squad coming off a 50-44 win over Clear Lake. Jamie Peterson (18) and Lindsay Barnhart (14) both scored in double figures.
The Cadets were stifling on defense, particularly in the first half, when they held the Lions to 4 of 26 shooting en route to a 25-12 cushion.
WCHS will make one of its two December home appearances on Tuesday against Clear Lake. Eagle Grove will also visit the new gymnasium on Friday, Dec. 14.