IT’S RAINING 3’s
T is money! McKinney buries 11 triples, scores 37 in Lynx win over Poky
POCAHONTAS — In the house that Elle Ruffridge built, Taylor McKinney gave her best imitation of the state’s all-time scoring leader Tuesday night.
And do you know what? She was spot on.
The Pocahontas Area High School gymnasium has seen plenty of magical shooting performances over the years, most of them courtesy of Ruffridge, who left the prep scene two years ago with 2,951 career points and a truckload of other records.
McKinney added to that list on the Indians’ court and nearly took down one of Ruffridge’s records in the process.
The Webster City junior rained in 11 3-pointers — the wing, the corner, the top of the key, it didn’t matter, she was straight fire — and matched her own single-game school record of 37 points in the Lynx 60-47 win over Pocahontas Area. The single-game state record for 3’s is 12, held by Ruffridge and Deb Remmerde, the Rock Valley great who was the state’s all-time scoring queen until Ruffridge hit the scene.
“That was my game right there,” McKinney, who went 11 of 19 from long range, said afterwards. “I felt it from the start when I hit a couple 3’s and I knew right away that this was the game I was going to be on point.”
McKinney had 10 triples by the end of the third quarter and cashed in on No. 11 just 35 seconds into the fourth. But she took just two more the rest of the way as WCHS (1-1) gradually pulled away.
Instead of looking for her openings, McKinney opted to back off and burn clock. Had she known how close she was to the state record, would she have kept firing away?
“I don’t really want to force up any 3’s, but it would have been pretty cool to have the state record or to tie it,” she said. “But I’m just happy that we got the win because that’s what we need right now.”
The game-long heat check came as no surprise to McKinney’s teammates or her head coach Nicole Muhlenbruch. They see it on a daily basis in practice and know it can happen on any given night.
“If you would see her in practice, that’s what she does,” Muhlenbruch said. “To her credit, it’s nothing that I’ve done. She’s worked in the offseason and she’s put in the time.”
McKinney, already the program’s all-time leader from behind the arc, had five 3’s and 19 points in the first half to help stake WCHS to a 28-25 lead. She buried five more in the third period, highlighted by an NBA triple from the top of the key at the buzzer to extend the advantage to nine, 46-37.
“In that third quarter, I wasn’t even sure how all of those were going in,” McKinney, who scored 29 of the Lynx 34 points in the second and third quarters, said. “Especially the deep one at the end … I was pumped. There must be something in (that gym) that just happens for 3-point shooters.”
Even with McKinney’s exploits, it wasn’t until Grace Hoversten put her stamp on the contest in the fourth quarter that WCHS was able to pull away. The junior forward went off for eight of her 14 points over the final eight minutes, a stretch in which WCHS built the margin to as big as 17 points.
“During halftime, my mom (Muhlenbruch) and (assistant coach Craig) Signorin told me to get with it,” Hoversten said. “They just told me to keep shooting.”
Hoversten responded to the challenge with a 3 of her own from straight on in the opening minute of the third. And then McKinney exploded, coming off screen after screen and hitting one step back 3 after another while Pocahontas Area defenders tried in vain to limit her open looks.
“Taylor wouldn’t have gotten all of those shots without those great screens,” Muhlenbruch said. “It’s like I told the girls afterwards, it takes five (players), or seven, or 10, or however many.”
Adalie Schwandt added eight points in the win. Atlanta Hopp and Jenna Miller distributed three assists each.
Hoversten plucked eight rebounds and three steals. McKinney pulled down five boards and came up with a pair of thefts.
Leah Aljets (12 points) and Delaney Ehn (10) led Pocahontas Area (0-2).
WCHS will open up North Central Conference play at home on Friday against seventh-ranked (Class 3A) Algona.
Webster City 60, Pocahontas Area 47
Tuesday at Pocahontas
Webster City (1-1) — Tatum Goings 0 0-0 0, Taylor McKinney 12 2-2 37, Atlanta Hopp 0 0-0 0, Zoey Woodle 0 1-2 1, Jenna Miller 0 0-0 0, Kelly Stoakes 0 0-0 0, Grace Hoversten 5 3-4 14, Adalie Schwandt 3 2-4 8. Totals: 20 8-12 60.
Pocahontas Area (0-2) — Annika Duitscher 0 1-2 1, Jordan Saunders 2 2-4 8, Sarah Powers 3 2-2 9, Jadyn Peterson 0 0-0 0, Leah Aljets 5 1-2 12, Delaney Ehn 4 1-2 10, Kaylee Shivers 3 0-0 7. Totals: 17 7-12 47.
Webster City 12 16 18 14 — 60
Poca Area 17 8 12 10 — 47
3-point field goals — WC 12 (McKinney 11, Hoversten); PAC 6 (Saunders 2, Powers, Aljets, Ehn, Shivers). Rebounds — WC 26 (Hoversten 8, McKinney 5, Woodle 4). Steals — WC 7 (Hoversten 3, McKinney 2). Assists — WC 14 (Hopp 3, Miller 3). Turnovers — WC 12, PAC 9. Team fouls — WC 13, PAC 11. Fouled out — none.