Lynx withstand late run to beat Cadets
Hoversten pours in 14 points, Neuroth adds 13 in first career start
WEBSTER CITY — Henry Hoversten deadpanned that it was his Christmas present. Marty McKinney quickly quipped that he had given his center the green light.
It’s easier for player and coach to joke around when they fall on the winning side of a nail-biter.
Hoversten, a 6-foot-6 senior, put up the first 3-point attempt of his career and buried it in the first quarter, as he scored a team-high 14 points in Webster City’s 54-50 North Central Conference victory over Iowa Falls-Alden Friday night.
Hoversten may have tested his coach’s patience in the second half when he lofted up another triple. It clanged off the front of the rim.
“That’s the first time I’ve done that in a high school game,” Hoversten, who also collected eight rebounds, said. “If I’m open like that, I’ll shoot it.”
WCHS (4-3, 4-1 NCC) drained seven 3s in all and won its third consecutive game while moving over .500 for the first time this season. It was at the defensive end, particularly during the initial three quarters, that the Lynx asserted their will. They limited IF-A (3-5, 1-4 NCC) to single-digit point totals in the first and third periods and allowed just 28 points through 24 minutes of play.
Hoversten was equal-parts happy and relieved with the Lynx defensive efforts considering the amount of time spent working at that end of the floor over the holiday rest.
“About the only thing we did over the break was work on defense,” he said. “It paid off a lot.”
Carter Neuroth stepped up and provided 13 points for the Lynx in the win. The junior point guard made the first start of his career and the bump gave him a newfound confidence at both ends of the floor. He connected on three triples and scored 11 of his points in the second half.
“It was definitely a confidence boost,” Neuroth said of earning the start.
Dylan Steen added 10 points and five rebounds, Tyler Olson registered seven points and three steals, and Tavis Eklund filled the role of sixth man with five points.
IF-A’s Logan Aldinger led all scorers with 22 points and played the leading man in a fourth-quarter rally that saw the Cadets trim a 12-point deficit to just three in the final minute. Luke Haverkamp chipped in 12 points.
The Cadets are still without talented sophomore Karson Sharar, a Division I prospect who has been sidelined with a broken finger since the opening game of the season. Sharar averaged 20.8 points per game as a rookie.
Neuroth’s third 3, followed by back-to-back buckets by Hoversten and Steen gave WCHS its biggest lead of the contest, 49-37, with 2:34 remaining. But IF-A responded with an 11-2 run, keyed by a Aldinger 3 and steal and layup by Blake Janssen in a span of nine seconds, to get within 51-48 with 52 seconds to go.
WCHS didn’t do itself any favors by missing the front end of a one-and-one twice, and it also turned the ball over twice against the Cadets pressure defense.
“It’s not a situation we’ve been in very often and we obviously didn’t handle it well,” McKinney, the Lynx head coach, said of the late-game problems. “Up 12 with a couple of minutes left, if you don’t turn the ball over and you knock down some free throws, you make life easier. But give (the Cadets) credit because they didn’t quit.”
It was 53-50 with 3.1 ticks left when Steen stepped to the free throw line looking to make it a two-possession game. The senior missed two shots, but a lane violation on his second attempt gave him a third and he buried it for a four-point cushion.
IF-A popped off for 22 fourth-quarter points, but earned every one of them by making tough shots. Aldinger rained in five 3s in the contest, most of them with a hand in his face.
“We played pretty good defense, but they earned their shots,” Neuroth said.
WCHS sits all alone in second place in the NCC behind fifth-ranked (Class 3A) Clear Lake, a welcome perch for a team that opened the season with back-to-back double-digit losses.
“We’ve progressed a lot,” Neuroth said. “We could barely hang on to the ball (in a 67-56 season-opening loss to Pocahontas Area), but now we’re taking care of the ball and we have good chemistry.”
Webster City 54, IF-Alden 50
Friday at Webster City
Iowa Falls-Alden (3-5, 1-4 NCC) — Blake Janssen 3 1-4 5, Brody Steinfeldt 0 0-0 0, Sam Off 1 0-0 2, Nolan Frohwein 1 0-0 3, Luke Haverkamp 4 2-3 12, Logan Aldinger 7 3-3 22, Garret Renaud 0 0-0 0, Tim Long 2 2-4 6. Totals: 17 8-14 50.
Webster City (4-3, 4-1 NCC) — Dylan Steen 3 3-6 10, Drake Doering 1 0-0 3, Nathan Ferrell 1 0-0 2, Tavis Eklund 2 1-2 5, Tyler Olson 2 2-2 7, Carter Neuroth 4 2-3 13, Henry Hoversten 6 1-2 14. Totals: 19 9-15 54.
IF-Alden 9 12 7 22 — 50
Webster City 13 9 15 17 — 54
3-point field goals — IF-A 8 (Aldinger 5, Haverkamp 2, Frohwein); WC 7 (Neuroth 3, Steen, Doering, Olson, Hoversten). Rebounds — WC 20 (Hoversten 8, Steen 5). Steals — WC 11 (Olson 3). Assists — WC 4 (Doering 2). Turnovers — WC 14. Team fouls — IF-A 14, WC 8. Fouled out — none.