It’s heartache for Lynx in NCC opener

IF-A?ends game on 9-0 run to steal contest; Nerland sets WCHS single-game rebounding record

WCHS senior Cassidy Nerland (50) controls the opening tip against Iowa Falls-Alden on Friday. She had a school-record 19 rebounds in the game. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

IOWA FALLS — Is there a proven remedy for heartache? If so, Webster City girls’ basketball head coach Nicole Muhlenbruch and her players are interested.

The Lynx left everything on the floor here Friday night, but were forced to trudge home with lumps in their throats after Iowa Falls-Alden rallied from a seven-point deficit with 3:19 remaining to steal the North Central Conference opener, 50-48.

IF-A (3-1, 1-0) scored the game’s final nine points.

“The hardest part was looking those kids in the eyes in the locker room (after the game) because everybody was on the verge of tears,” Muhlenbruch said. “It hurt the girls to lose that ballgame and it broke your heart to look at them.”

This one will sting for a while.

Webster City senior guard Haley Flaws drives the baseline during Friday’s NCC opener at Iowa Falls-Alden. She scored 15 points in a 50-48 loss to the Cadets. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

WCHS led almost the entire way and had a chance to win in the final few seconds, but a drive to the bucket by Taylor McKinney missed its mark as did the second and third chance.

Muhlenbruch rattled off stat after stat as to why the Lynx (1-2, 0-1) should have come out victorious. They out rebounded IF-A 44-32 and got a monster effort from Cassidy Nerland with a single-game school record 19 rebounds. Halle Mason yanked down 13 more and McKinney collected eight.

WCHS had just eight turnovers and got to the free throw line 24 times compared to just nine trips for the Cadets. But the Lynx failed to capitalize and made just 11 of their shots at the charity stripe.

“That killed us,” Muhlenbruch said. “You shoot that many (free throws), if you shoot 80 percent then you win. We did everything else right, but we’ve got to capitalize at the line.”

Trailing 26-19 at the break, IF-A turned to Katie Meyer to mount the comeback and she obliged. She scored all 17 of her points after the break. Grace Renaud poured in 16 and Darby Dodd canned three 3-pointers.

“We had them on the run in the first half because they were in foul trouble,” Muhlenbruch said. “The Meyer girl sat for a lot of the first half.”

Haley Flaws buried three 3s as well and notched a game-high 15 points for the Lynx. Mason (13 points) and Nerland (12) gave WCHS three players in double figures. McKinney chipped in eight points, as well as five assists and three steals.

WCHS shot 36 percent from the field (20 of 55).

The Lynx will face another non-conference challenge on Tuesday when they travel to Rockwell City to face unbeaten South Central Calhoun (4-0). Muhlenbruch isn’t fond of her team’s record, but says the effort has been outstanding.

“The kids are giving me everything they have,” she said. “You can see it on their faces how badly they want to do well … I don’t know how much more I can ask of them.”

IF-Alden 50, Webster City 48

Friday at Iowa Falls

Webster City (1-2, 0-1 NCC) — Haley Flaws 5 2-5 15, Taylor McKinney 2 3-4 8, Halle Mason 4 4-7 13, Sarah Vogelbacher 0 0-0 0, Zoey Woodle 0 0-0 0, Grace Hoversten 0 0-0 0, Cassidy Nerland 5 2-8 12. Totals: 16 11-24 48.

Iowa Falls-Alden (3-1, 1-0 NCC) — Abby Redmond 0 0-0 0, Madalyn Juhl 1 0-1 2, Grace Juhl 0 0-2 0, Lauren Juhl 0 0-0 0, Taylor Vanatter 3 0-0 6, Katie Meyer 8 0-0 17, Grace Renaud 5 5-6 16, Jenny Wibholm 0 0-0 0, Darby Dodd 3 0-0 9. Totals: 20 5-9 50.

Webster City 9 17 13 9 — 48

IF-Alden 7 12 19 12 — 50

3-point field goals — WC 5 (Flaws 3, McKinney, Mason); IF-A 5 (Dodd 3, Meyer, Renaud). Rebounds — WC 44 (Nerland 19, Mason 12, McKinney 8). Steals — WC 6 (McKinney 3). Assists — WC 9 (McKinney 5). Turnovers — WC 8. Team fouls — WC 13, IF-A 18. Fouled out — none.