WCHS boys steam by IF-A with 25-2 closing run

IOWA FALLS – Mason Myers was pretty beat up as he exited the locker room and headed for the bus late Tuesday night.

There was the elbow to the nose that made the Webster City senior’s eyes water in the first half. A little later he took a hip check on a drive that sent him crashing into the mat under the basket. And finally there were the oohs and aahs that resonated around the gymnasium following his back-first crash to the hardwood while going for a rebound in the fourth quarter.

Still, the pain was worth it. After 39 days without any success, Myers gladly accepted the bumps and bruises that came with a victory.

“I’m a little sore, but I’ll be alright,” Myers said after pouring in a game-high 19 points to go along with six rebounds and four steals in the Lynx 65-39 rout of Iowa Falls-Alden in North Central Conference play. “We were just looking for anything … we needed this win for sure.”

WCHS head coach Marty McKinney didn’t argue with that assessment. Losers of six straight entering the contest, the Lynx would have gladly accepted a nail-biter and for a majority of the game it looked like that may happen.

“It’s nice to get the monkey off our back,” McKinney, whose teams had only lost as many as five in a row in his six-plus seasons at the helm before the recent drought, said. “Hopefully the kids can relax a little bit now and quit worrying about how many in a row we’ve lost, and hopefully we can put a streak together the other way.”

On the wrong end of a 76-39 blowout in the first meeting on Dec. 5, IF-A (1-10, 0-6 NCC) hung around in the first half and cut the Lynx lead to 31-28 at the break with back-to-back buckets in the final 30 seconds.

A short jumper by the Cadets’ Joey Riley made it a three-point game again, 40-37, with under four minutes to go in the third quarter.

And then WCHS (6-6, 3-4 NCC) took control.

Complete control.

A steal and layup by Alec Fuhs in the waning seconds of the third capped an 8-0 flurry to push the Lynx lead to 48-37, but they were far from finished.

A pair of thefts and layups by Myers helped extend the spurt to 18-0 and essentially closed the book on the Cadets.

IF-A went 7 minutes, 36 seconds between baskets and Weston Meyer’s banker from close range with 4:04 remaining accounted for all of the Cadets’ points over the final 11:40 – a period in which WCHS outscored the home team 25-2.

What suddenly changed? McKinney says his team started to execute at both ends of the floor.

“There was nothing fancy as far as Xs and Os,” he said. “It was just the kids going out and executing what we needed to do defensively. It was just an overall much better defensive effort in the second half.”

Myers played a key role with three of his four steals, all coming near midcourt, in the third and fourth quarters.

“We definitely got into that defensive mindset and came up with a lot of deflections and turnovers,” Myers said. “We really felt like we could come out and execute our game plan and we did that.”

Seth Crouthamel and Avery Fuhs pitched in 14 and 10 points, respectively, in the win. Alec Fuhs finished with eight points and five assists.

Crouthamel got his second straight start and again flourished as an undersized forward in the paint. His hustle at both ends of the floor didn’t go unnoticed and he scored a game-high 12 points in the opening half.

“Seth has done a great job and that’s why he’s starting,” McKinney said. “He carried us early offensively … he’s in the right spots and he does the right things. He’s just all out effort.”

Jacob Sundholm notched 10 points for the Cadets. Jace Ites added nine and Jagger Olson finished with eight.

WCHS will be on a two-game home stand Friday and Saturday with games against Clarion-Goldfield-Dows and ninth-ranked (Class 3A) Gilbert. The welcomed relief of Tuesday’s success notwithstanding, McKinney says his club still has work to do.

“This is obviously a great win and we’re going to enjoy it because we haven’t had any in a long time, but at the same time we’ve still got to get better,” he said. “Clarion won’t be an easy game and Gilbert is going to be tough.”