Slow third quarter costs Lynx against Comets

Webster City point guard Jordan Tanner (center) passes out of a double team as Charles City’s Noah Schlader (24) lands on his back during the second half last night in Charles City. A 21-9 third-quarter surge lifted the Comets into the lead and they won the Class 3A Substate 2 semifinal, 65-58. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

CHARLES CITY — Putting together a solid 32 minutes has been the problem all season for the Webster City boys’ basketball team.

Twenty-four minutes, that’s been no sweat. But, for whatever reason, it’s been one quarter that stymied the Lynx from reaching their full potential.

And that quarter was the third last night.

Ahead 27-23 at the half and executing well, WCHS allowed Charles City to rattle off a quick 10-0 run and the Comets outscored the Lynx 21-9 to take the lead for good in a 65-58 victory in a Class 3A Substate 2 semifinal.

Charles City (18-4) advanced to Monday night’s substate final in Denver, while WCHS (14-9) took the slow walk into the offseason with a few regrets.

Charles City guard Jack Molstead (right) wins the battle for a loose ball with Webster City’s Noah McKinney during the third quarter last night in a Class 3A Substate 2 semifinal. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“That (third quarter) was the difference,” WCHS head coach Marty McKinney said. “We played a great first half and did what we wanted to do. But we just came out in that third quarter and couldn’t get baskets and couldn’t get stops.”

It took WCHS 4 minutes and 49 seconds before it connected on its first shot of the second half, but by that time the Comets had already jumped in front by five points.

Aggressive defensively, Charles City forced several turnovers that led to run-out buckets during the early stages of the third and that momentum never shifted back to the Lynx.

“They ran some good sets to get buckets and we had a couple turnovers,” McKinney said. “But give them credit; they’re athletic, they’ve got length and they’ve got guys that can do a lot of things.”

After being held in check during the first half, Comets’ point guard Jack Molstead got loose for five quick points in the third. He scored 13 of his game-high 20 over the final 16 minutes.

Webster City head coach Marty McKinney (standing) disagrees with a call from a referee on a first-half foul against the Lynx during last night’s Class 3A Substate 2 semifinal against Charles City. The Comets sent the Lynx into the offseason with a 65-58 victory. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Mike Cranshaw added 17 points for Charles City and Noah Schlader dropped in 11.

Trailing by as many as nine points in the second half, the Lynx never waved the white flag. They closed to within 55-50 on a Noah McKinney 3-pointer with 2:01 remaining, but could get no closer.

With its array of ball handlers, Charles City spread the floor with more than three minutes remaining and turned the game into a free throw contest. The Comets connected on 12 of 18 foul shots over that closing stretch and owned a 20-9 scoring advantage at the charity stripe in the contest.

WCHS forced Charles City to keep knocking down freebies though, as Jordan Tanner, Tyler Bultena and Noah McKinney all cashed in on triples in the final minutes. Nine of the Lynx 20 field goals in the game came from behind the arc.

“I thought we handled that last couple of minutes pretty well and the kids didn’t quit,” Marty McKinney said. “We fought until the end.”

Henry Hoversten (40) yanks a rebound away from Charles City’s Noah Schlader during the third quarter last night. Hoversten snagged 17 boards in Webster City’s 65-58 loss to the Comets. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WCHS had two possessions to pull to within three, but a turnover and a 3 from Noah McKinney that was halfway down before popping out allowed Charles City enough breathing room.

Cameron Moen canned five 3s and led WCHS with 15 points. Henry Hoversten was a beast in the paint, particularly as a rim protector on defense, and produced 14 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. Noah McKinney added 10 points and Bultena finished with seven.

Charles City limited Tanner to just six points. The Lynx senior had the task of guarding Molstead throughout the contest.

Moen drained 4 of 6 3-point attempts in the first half, including his first three in succession to push WCHS out to an early 16-9 lead. Charles City answered with a 7-0 spurt to knot it at 16 after one period.

The Lynx said goodbye to five seniors that helped the team win a North Central Conference title a season ago.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“They had 29 wins in two years and there wasn’t a lot expected of them last year,” Marty McKinney said. “They really stepped up, and it’s been a privilege and pleasure to coach them.”

Charles City 65, Webster City 58

Class 3A Substate 2 Semifinal

Thursday at Charles City

Webster City (14-9) — Noah McKinney 3 2-2 10, Cameron Moen 5 0-0 15, Jordan Tanner 2 1-2 6, Tyler Olson 0 0-0 0, Tyler Bultena 2 2-2 7, Dylan Steen 3 0-0 6, Henry Hoversten 5 4-5 14. Totals: 20 9-11 58.

Charles City (18-4) — Jack Molstead 6 7-11 20, Marcus Cranshaw 0 1-2 1, Mike Cranshaw 6 5-8 17, Colton Slinger 1 0-0 2, Bradley Andrews 3 2-2 9, Noah Schlader 3 4-6 11, Cade Hemesath 2 1-4 5. Totals: 21 20-33 65.

Webster City 16 11 9 22 — 58

Charles City 16 7 21 21 — 65

3-point field goals — WC 9 (Moen 5, McKinney 2, Tanner, Bultena); CC 3 (Molstead, Andrews, Schlader). Rebounds — WC 31 (Hoversten 17). Steals — WC 3. Assists — WC 13 (Tanner 5, Bultena 4). Team fouls — WC 23, CC 12. Fouled out — none.