WEBSTER CITY - Ten days earlier the tears flowed in the Webster City girls' basketball team's locker room after a humiliating 52-13 loss to Clear Lake.
Beaten down, both mentally and physically, the Lynx could have easily gone over the edge of the cliff and mailed in the remainder of the season.
Instead, they've gone the other way. And now those tears have been replaced with smiles.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City senior forward Rachel Kauffman (42) gets slapped across the wrist by Eagle Grove’s Beth Mork as she takes a shot from close range on Friday in the WCHS gymnasium. The Lynx won their second straight game, 57-53.
That loss to Clear Lake has vanished from the psyches of both the coaches and players now that WCHS finds itself on a two-game winning streak following Friday's 57-53 victory over North Central Conference rival Eagle Grove inside the Lynx home gym.
"Our coach, Ms. (Nicole) Muhlenbruch, is an awesome motivator, and so are the assistants, Mr. (Emmitt) Cooney, Mr. (Craig) Signorin and Mr. (Kevin) Bahrenfuss. Our coaches never give up on us and they said it was their fault after the Clear Lake game, and that just made me want to try harder for them," Lynx sophomore forward Mikaleh McCoy said after scoring a game-high 14 points and collecting seven rebounds in Friday's win. "We didn't come out very well in the first couple of games, but winning is addictive; the more you win the more you boost your confidence."
McCoy scored 11 of her points in the second half, as the Lynx (2-5, 2-4 NCC) broke a 26-all halftime tie on its first possession of the third quarter and they never trailed over the final 16 minutes.
Webster City 57, Eagle Grove 53
Eagle Grove (1-7, 1-6 NCC) - Sam Kruckenberg 0 2-6 2, Kylee Almond 3 4-5 11, Megan Crail 4 4-5 14, Lexie Miller 1 2-4 4, Josie Robertson 3 0-0 9, Sam Helmke 0 0-0 0, Leslie Cooper 1 4-4 6, Katie Spellmeyer 0 0-0 0, Beth Mork 2 3-7 7. Totals: 14 19-31 57.
Webster City (2-5, 2-4 NCC) - Emily Elm 3 0-0 8, Kelsey Lindmark 3 2-2 8, Hannah Myers 1 5-10 7, Mikaleh McCoy 6 2-4 14, Cambria Hoffmann 0 2-2 2, Erin Anderson 1 1-2 4, Alex Dinsdale 0 0-0 0, Rachel Kauffman 1 0-0 2, Emma White 6 0-2 12, Mikala Harrill 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 12-22 57.
Quarter scores - WC led 11-8, tied 26-26, WC led 41-35. 3-point field goals - EG 6 (Robertson 3, Crail 2, Almond); WC 3 (Elm 2, Anderson). Rebounds - WC 30 (McCoy 7, White 7, Myers 6). Steals - WC 11 (Elm 2, Lindmark 2, McCoy 2, Kauffman 2). Assists - WC 9 (Elm 4, McCoy 3). Team fouls - EG 20, WC 23. Fouled out - Miller, McCoy.
They shot 38 percent from the field (21 of 56) after entering the game connecting on just 25 percent of their attempts.
WCHS more than doubled its scoring average of 27.7 points an outing.
"I'm just so proud to be their coach because (after the Clear Lake game) we were in the locker room and it was very emotional," Muhlenbruch said. "There were tears, but you've got to take some of those hard knocks, and those hard knocks are what got us here."
Emma White gave WCHS another solid scorer on the interior with 12 points, Emily Elm and Kelsey Lindmark both had eight, and Hannah Myers returned from a one-game absence because of an ankle injury to score seven.
A short jumper from White, followed by a transition 3-pointer from Elm during the first minute of the third quarter pushed the Lynx lead to 31-26. They led by as many as nine over the 8-minute stanza.
Eagle Grove (1-7, 1-6 NCC) - losers of five straight - went outside the arc to climb back into contention. Back-to-back 3s from Megan Crail and Josie Robertson pulled the Eagles to within three, 46-43, with 5:20 remaining.
It was all knotted up at 48 when Lynx senior Rachel Kauffman scored her only bucket of the game - a short jumper from the right block - and Elm dialed it up from long distance moments later to extend the Lynx advantage back to five.
Eagle Grove pulled back within a bucket, 55-53, with 29 ticks to go, but Myers put the game on ice with a pair of free throws.
White joined McCoy with seven caroms, and Myers yanked down six. Elm (four) and McCoy (three) combined for seven of the Lynx nine assists.
Eagle Grove canned six 3-point baskets in all, three coming from Robertson. Crail banged in two en route to 14 points, and Kylee Almond added 11.
The Eagles outscored WCHS 19-12 at the free throw line.
The Lynx opened the game with four consecutive baskets - two by Lindmark - to jump ahead 8-0 before Eagle Grove found its footing.
The Eagles led only twice all night - first at 17-16 following a Robertson 3 midway through the second quarter, and again at 26-25 in the closing seconds of the stanza. Myers was fouled as time expired and knocked in 1 of 2 free throws to draw the Lynx even.
The game began with a bizarre twist, as the two teams spent the game's first 3 minutes shooting at what was supposed to be the opponent's basket. The referees eventually realized the mistake and made the switch during a dead ball.
WCHS will attempt to make it three straight wins on Tuesday when it travels to Fort Dodge to face defending league champion St. Edmond.
"Hopefully we can keep it going at St. Edmond, but we know it's going to be tough," McCoy said. "I guess we'll see."