CLARION - There were a lot of firsts for the Webster City girls' basketball team here Friday night, just not the most important one.
The Lynx had their first halftime lead, they made their first significant rally and they had their first realistic chance to pull off a victory.
But it wasn't meant to be.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
WCHS sophomore Mikaleh McCoy (23) lunges for a long rebound as Clarion-Goldfield’s Katie Hinkle makes the same play on the ball on Friday in Clarion. The Cowgirls won the NCC contest, 45-35.
Down 18-17 at intermission, Clarion-Goldfield scored the first 10 points of the third quarter to move in front to stay in a 45-35 North Central Conference victory over the Lynx. The Cowgirls (1-4, 1-4 NCC) broke a season-long slump and kept Webster City (0-5, 0-4 NCC) searching for answers.
"We had that period in the third quarter where we didn't score and that was big," first-year WCHS head coach Nicole Muhlenbruch said. "You can't go that long without scoring, so we've got to continue to try to get our offense going."
Stephanie Steiner single-handedly put Clarion-Goldfield in charge with a mid-range jumper and a pair of 3-point baskets during the initial 2 minutes of the third quarter. She knocked down four triples in the game and scored a game-high 16 points.
Clarion-Goldfield 45, Webster City 35
Webster City (0-5, 0-4 NCC) - Emily Elm 1 0-0 3, Kelsey Lindmark 0 1-2 1, Hannah Myers 1 2-2 4, Mikaleh McCoy 2 0-0 4, Cambria Hoffmann 4 2-3 11, Alex Dinsdale 1 0-2 2, Rachel Kauffman 4 0-0 8, Emma White 1 0-0 2. Totals: 14 5-9 35.
Clarion-Goldfield (1-4, 1-4 NCC) - Stephanie Steiner 5 2-4 16, Brook Boyd 0 0-0 0, Jacey Anderson 1 0-0 2, Megan Hoing 0 0-0 0, Jossie Sann 1 11-16 13, Jenalee Hinkle 1 4-6 6, Hope Polzin 0 0-0 0, Katie Hinkle 4 1-3 8, Celeste Swanson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 17-27 45.
Quarter scores - C-G led 9-6, WC led 18-17, C-G led 29-21. 3-point field goals - WC 2 (Elm, Hoffmann); C-G 4 (Steiner 4). Rebounds - WC 39 (Myers 10, Kauffman 10, Dinsdale 6, Hoffmann 5). Steals - WC 12 (Lindmark 5, Elm 4). Assists - WC 4 (Lindmark 3). Team fouls - WC 25, C-G 17. Fouled out - McCoy, Kauffman, Anderson.
WCHS went nearly 7 minutes without a bucket in the third period until Cambria Hoffmann canned a triple from the top of the key to cut the Cowgirls' advantage to 27-21. Hoffmann paced the Lynx with 11 points, and she also grabbed five rebounds.
The Cowgirls extended their cushion to 33-21 with 6 minutes left in regulation, and that's when WCHS caught fire.
Back-to-back jumpers from Rachel Kauffman, followed by a 3-pointer from Emily Elm and an offensive rebound and put back by Alex Dinsdale brought the Lynx to within 35-30 with 3:45 remaining.
WCHS cut the deficit to three on two occasions, but that was as close as it could get. Clarion-Goldfield made enough free throws down the stretch and went on a 9-2 spurt over the final 2:30 to win going away.
The Cowgirls went to the charity stripe 18 more times than the Lynx (27-9) and held a 17-5 scoring advantage.
"That was the difference in the game," Muhlenbruch said. "Their free throws just killed us."
Jossie Sann, Clarion-Goldfield's leading scorer entering the contest, had just one field goal, but finished with 13 points on the strength of an 11 of 16 night at the line.
Kauffman turned in eight points and 10 rebounds in the loss. Hannah Myers and Mikaleh McCoy both had four points, and Myers joined Kauffman with 10 boards. Dinsdale gave the Lynx solid minutes in the second half and had a bucket and six caroms.