FORT DODGE - Forcing Webster City to make free throws is not exactly the way to beat the Lynx.
Fort Dodge St. Edmond knows that now.
Already the best free-throw shooting team in the North Central Conference at 72.5 percent entering last night's rivalry game inside the Gael Gym, WCHS shot a blistering 89.4 percent at the charity stripe (17 of 19) and was perfect down the stretch to fend off St. Edmond, 57-48.
It was the third straight win for the Lynx (8-8, 8-6 NCC), who continued to grow late in the season under veteran head coach Marty McKinney. It was also their third victory in four years inside St. Edmond's gymnasium - a feat very few teams have been able to match over the years.
"I've got to give credit to the kids because they prepared well," McKinney said. "We obviously have respect for what St. Edmond has done over the years, but at the same time we went over there expecting to compete. We wanted to build off our last two wins and play really good basketball at this point in the season."
Junior Mason Myers scored a team-high 22 points for WCHS, all of them coming over the first three quarters to help his team build a 40-36 lead. Alec Fuhs was a solid wingman with 13 points and he was blemish-free at the line in seven opportunities.
WEBSTER CITY 57, ST. EDMOND 48
Tuesday at Fort Dodge
Webster City (8-8, 8-6 NCC) - Mason Myers 9 1-2 22, Alec Fuhs 3 7-7 13, Doug Stoakes 0 0-0 0, Ben Mossman 0 5-6 5, Avery Fuhs 2 0-0 5, Logan Yates 0 2-2 2, Landon Daniels 0 0-0 0, Sean Vogelbacher 1 0-0 2, Colt Richardson 3 2-2 8. Totals: 19 17-19 57.
St. Edmond (12-6, 11-5 NCC) - Matthew Bocken 2 0-0 6, Robert Flattery 0 0-0 0, Tate O'Tool 0 0-0 0, Landon Peed 3 0-0 6, Harrison Mayer 0 0-0 0, Konrad Laufersweiler 1 0-0 3, Robby Burke 14 5-5 33. Totals: 20 5-6 48.
Webster City14 11 15 17-57
St. Edmond10 16 9 13-48
3-point goals - WCHS 4 (Myers 3, Av. Fuhs); SE 3 (Bocken 2, Laufersweiler). Rebounds - WCHS 28 (Myers 9, Richardson 6). Steals - WCHS 3. Assists - WCHS 8 (Al. Fuhs 3). Team fouls - WCHS 9, SE 16. Fouled out - none.
Logan Yates (2 of 2) and Colt Richardson (2 of 2) were also perfect at the line and Ben Mossman (5 of 6) missed just once.
"Our guys shoot free throws well," McKinney said. "I don't think we missed a free throw in the last three minutes of the game and if you want to win close games you've got to be able to do that."
St. Edmond (12-6, 11-5 NCC) relied on 6-foot-6 senior center Robby Burke for the majority of its offense. He drained 14 of 17 shots from the field and piled up a game-high 33 points. He scored 23 in the opening half.
"Burke hurt us ... he's a great player and he was tough to stop," McKinney said. "But we went to a diamond-and-one (defense) in the second half and the kids did it well."
A big key was on the glass where WCHS owned a 32-25 advantage. St. Edmond out-rebounded the Lynx by 16 when it won, 61-50, in Webster City on Dec. 17.
"Rebounding was absolutely the key," McKinney said. "We held them to one shot a lot of the time and that's what you have to do to win."
Richardson finished with eight points and six rebounds in the win. Myers added nine boards to his strong night scoring.
Burke was the only Gael to score more than six. Matthew Bocken canned a pair of 3s, but second-leading scorer Konrad Laufersweiler managed just three points.
WCHS will look to continue its late-season surge in Friday's home showdown with Humboldt.