WEBSTER CITY - A slow start and even slower finish cost the Webster City girls' basketball team a chance to pull off a North Central Conference upset Tuesday night inside the WCHS gymnasium.
The Lynx outscored 13th-ranked (Class 3A) Hampton-Dumont 25-20 in the second and third quarters, but the Bulldogs opened the contest on a 20-10 surge and ended it with a 13-4 spurt to head home with a 53-39 victory.
A 14-point loss wasn't what WCHS was looking for, but considering Hampton-Dumont drubbed the Lynx by 40 points, 69-29, when the two teams met on Jan. 3 in Hampton, head coach Nicole Muhlenbruch said a considerable amount of progress was made.
"I was very pleased with how we played," she said. "We made them turn the ball over, we made them uncomfortable and we played pretty good defense."
WCHS (3-17, 3-14 NCC) collected a season-high 20 steals, a big reason why it closed to within 40-35 after three quarters. Hannah Myers and Allie Flaws both came up with four thefts and Kenzie Garvey collected three.
WCHS also limited the effectiveness of all-conference guard Jessica Speake, who managed to score just six points. She entered the contest third in the NCC in scoring at 15.2 points per game.
HAMPTON-DUMONT 53, WEBSTER CITY 39
Tuesday at Webster City
Hampton-Dumont (15-5, 12-5 NCC) - Lexi Sorenson 4 0-0 9, Jessica Speake 2 1-2 6, Shelby Tidman 1 1-2 3, Jordan Prantner 3 9-11 16, Paige Wragge 1 0-0 2, Katie Brolsma 0 2-3 2, Kennedy Wohlford 6 1-3 13. Totals: 17 14-24 53.
Webster City (3-17, 3-14 NCC) - Lynne Chalfant 3 2-3 11, Hannah Myers 3 0-0 6, Cassidy Bultena 3 2-2 9, Allie Flaws 5 0-0 11, Kenzie Garvey 1 0-0 2, Gabbi Hoversten 0 0-0 0, Alex Dinsdale 0 0-0 0, Mikala Harrill 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 4-5 39.
Hampton-Dumont20 12 8 13-53
Webster City10 11 14 4-39
3-point goals - H-D 3 (Speake, Sorenson, Prantner); WCHS 5 (Chalfant 3, Bultena, Flaws). Rebounds - WCHS 20 (Myers 8). Steals - WCHS 20 (Myers 4, Flaws 4, Garvey 3). Assists - WCHS 8 (Bultena 3). Team fouls - H-D 11, WCHS 19. Fouled out - Chalfant.
Jordan Prantner and Kennedy Wohlford picked up the scoring slack for the Bulldogs (15-5, 12-5 NCC) with 16 and 13 points, respectively. Lexi Sorenson added nine.
Hampton-Dumont owned a 14-4 scoring edge at the free throw line. The Bulldogs went to the line 24 times, compared to just five for the Lynx.
"The free throws were basically the game," Muhlenbruch said. "It seemed like every time we fouled them it was on a shot."
Backcourt mates Lynne Chalfant and Flaws were the offensive catalysts for the Lynx with 11 points apiece. Chalfant drained three 3-pointers, while Flaws and Cassidy Bultena each knocked down one.
Bultena finished with nine points and three assists. Myers turned in a solid all-around game with six points and eight rebounds.
WCHS will close out the regular season tonight at Iowa Falls-Alden and will then have six days before facing Saydel in a Class 4A regional contest next Wednesday in Saydel's home gym on the north side of Des Moines.
Iowa Falls-Alden rallied to beat the Lynx, 41-37, in Webster City back on Dec. 6. Muhlenbruch is confident her team has improved enough to return the favor.
"We gave up 15 to 20 points on our press (in the first meeting), so we're definitely adjusting it. I think with that the table will turn," she said. "There are a few other things that will definitely benefit us and give us the boost we need heading into next week."