Moen catches fire, lifts Lynx past Decorah in substate opener

Webster City senior Cameron Moen buries a 3-pointer from the wing over Decorah’s Jonah Johnson during the second half on Monday in Charles City. Moen scored 16 second-half points and hit the game-winner with 18 seconds remaining in the Lynx 50-49 victory in a Class 3A Substate 2 quarterfinal. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

CHARLES CITY — The life of a shooter can be exhilarating and demoralizing, oftentimes both in the same game.

Cameron Moen knows those feelings well. He’s hit game-winners and bricked shots when his Webster City boys’ basketball team needed them to fall. But through it all, he’s held firm to one basketball credo: shooters shoot.

With the season and his career on the line Monday night, he continued to fire away. And this time he came up big.

Moen torched Decorah for 16 of his 20 points in the second half, including 11 during a crucial 17-4 Lynx run after the Vikings had seized the momentum. It was only fitting that he buried the game-winner as well — a tough stop and pop over three defenders from the right wing with 18 seconds remaining to give WCHS a 50-49 victory in a Class 3A Substate 2 quarterfinal.

“I’ve been in a slump for the last couple of games, but I realized this could possibly be the last basketball we play,” Moen said after he guided WCHS (14-8) into Thursday’s substate semifinal against Charles City (17-4) back on the Comets’ home floor at 7 p.m. “I’ve been putting in some time at Fuller Hall just shooting and (Monday night) they went in.”

Tyler Bultena (facing) embraces teammate Jordan Tanner (14) after Webster City survived against Decorah, 50-49, Monday night. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Well, in the second half they did anyway.

Entering the postseason on a three-game slide, WCHS went 0 for 9 from behind the 3-point arc in the first half — a 16-minute stretch that saw Decorah (11-11) take a 21-18 lead into the intermission.

The Vikings, winners of five straight contests to close out the regular season, quickly reeled off a 6-2 run over the initial 1:10 of the third quarter to take a 27-20 lead. WCHS head coach Marty McKinney could feel it start to slip away, which is why he called on his seniors to take charge during a timeout.

Moen gladly accepted.

He buried a 3 from the left corner coming out of the timeout and it ignited the 13-point surge that brought life into the Lynx.

Dylan Steen (32) drives towards the basket as Decorah’s Andrew Kephart (20) defends on Monday during a Class 3A Substate 2 quarterfinal. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“That was huge because coach said we needed a bucket to get ourselves back in the game and we just started rallying from there,” Moen said.

Jordan Tanner, the Lynx starting point guard who poured in 14 points, was also in Moen’s ear throughout the game.

“Cameron’s a great shooter and we’ve just been telling him to keep shooting the ball because it’s going to fall,” Tanner said. “I’m just super proud of him.”

Another Moen triple, this time from the wing, gave WCHS a 32-29 lead and at the 1:03 mark of the third he added three more to make it 37-31.

Decorah scored the final five points of the third period to close to within 37-36 and neither team led by more than three points over the final eight minutes.

Henry Hoversten (40) and Tyler Bultena (24) defend during the first half against Decorah on Monday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

A bomb from the Vikings’ Nick Bockman from behind the arc pushed the Vikings in front 46-43 with four minutes remaining, but WCHS answered with back-to-back buckets, the second a Henry Hoversten short baseline jumper, to take the lead back, 47-46, with 2:18 on the clock.

Tanner made one free throw to make it a two-point game with 34 seconds to go, but Decorah pushed the ball down the floor and got a bucket from Bockman and a foul. He buried the free throw to give the Vikings the 49-48 edge with 29.9 to go.

And then Moen pulled off his third game-winning shot of the season.

“He beat his guy off the dribble and did exactly what he should do,” WCHS head coach Marty McKinney said of Moen’s off-balance shot through the arms of three defenders. “When the help came I thought he was going to kick to a shooter, but at that point he took it upon himself. I thought he got fouled, but he really scored through contact.”

For Moen, it was relief when he saw the ball go through the hoop.

Jordan Tanner scores two of his 14 points on a baseline drive during Webster City’s 50-49 win over Decorah in a Class 3A Substate 2 quarterfinal. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“I didn’t realize there were three guys there at the time, but I just chucked it up there and it went in,” he said.

Decorah still had one final chance to steal the contest and set up a play for forward Jerod Redenius during a timeout with 9.9 seconds remaining. But Redenius, who scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half, was cut off by Henry Hoversten on the baseline and was forced it kick it out. The ball eventually got to Patrick Bockman at the top of the key and he put up a wild shot with Moen right in his grill as the clock hit 2 seconds. It wasn’t close and the Vikings never got another shot.

“We wanted to play fundamental defense … guard and don’t give them an easy look,” Tanner, who blanketed the Vikings’ second option Nick Bockman on the final play, said. “When they inbounded to (Redenius), we told Henry to guard up and then Cameron got in the shooter’s grill.”

It was exactly what McKinney wanted to see.

“Fundamental defense is what we pride our program on,” he said. “We kept the ball out of (Nick Bockman’s) hands and they had a desperation shot. You couldn’t draw it up any better.”

Webster City head coach Marty McKinney (center) discusses his team’s defensive strategy with his players during a timeout with 9.9 seconds remaining against Decorah in Monday’s Class 3A Substate 2 quarterfinal in Charles City. The Lynx thwarted the Vikings’ final possession and escaped with a 50-49 victory. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Hoversten had a big game at both ends of the floor with nine points and 13 rebounds. Dylan Steen came off the bench to provide five points and four boards.

Moen finished 7 of 13 from the floor and canned all three of the Lynx triples.

Nick Bockman led Decorah with 20 points; he also had 16 in the second half.

WCHS will fall into the role of underdog against Charles City, the top seed in the substate, Thursday evening. But with four senior starters, the Lynx aren’t about to phone it in.

“Us seniors, we’ve talked all year about how we want to make a run at the state tournament,” Tanner said. “We didn’t end the (regular) season the way we wanted to, but we want to keep our season alive.”

Charles City raced by Iowa Falls-Alden, 67-56, behind 32 points from Jack Molstead in Monday’s other substate quarterfinal. The Cadets received 34 points from talented freshman Karson Sharar.

Webster City 50, Decorah 49

Class 3A Substate 2 Quarterfinals

Monday at Charles City

Decorah (11-11) — Patrick Bockman 4 1-2 10, Jonah Johnson 1 0-0 3, Austin Myli 0 0-0 0, Andrew Kephart 0 0-0 0, Nick Bockman 8 3-3 20, Tynan Nelson 0 0-0 0, Clay Johansen 1 0-0 2, Jerod Redenius 7 0-0 14. Totals: 21 4-5 49.

Webster City (14-8) — Noah McKinney 0 0-0 0, Cameron Moen 7 3-3 20, Jordan Tanner 5 4-6 14, Tyler Olson 0 0-0 0, Tyler Bultena 1 0-0 2, Dylan Steen 2 1-2 5, Henry Hoversten 4 1-2 9. Totals: 19 9-13 50.

Decorah 14 7 15 13 — 49

Webster City 13 5 19 13 — 50

3-point field goals — DEC 3 (P. Bockman, Johnson, N. Bockman); WC 3 (Moen 3). Rebounds — WC 23 (Hoversten 13, Steen 4). Steals — WC 3 (Bultena 2). Assists — WC 10 (Tanner 3). Team fouls — DEC 12, WC 11. Fouled out — none.