WEBSTER CITY - Rock bottom came a week ago after a frustrating 58-37 non-conference loss to Gilbert - the team's fifth setback in a row and 14th in 15 outings.
But the good thing about rock bottom is there's only one place to go from there; Webster City girls' basketball team, say hello to up.
Sick and tired of disappointment, the Lynx set a course for respectability with an upset victory over Algona Bishop Garrigan in overtime, 55-53, last Tuesday and continued the upwards trend Friday night with maybe their finest showing of the season in a 63-45 spanking of Eagle Grove inside the WCHS gymnasium.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
WCHS junior Hannah Myers (20) battles Eagle Grove’s Desira Shivers (left) and Kylee Almond for a rebound during the first half of the Lynx 63-45 win on Friday.
What's the secret behind the dramatic change? Junior forward Hannah Myers didn't use the word - pride - but, yeah, that has a lot to do with it.
"We were really frustrated and after that (loss to Gilbert) we decided that things had to change," Myers, who sprinkled her talents all over the stat sheet with seven points and eight rebounds against the Eagles, said. "We finally decided that we were tired of losing. Everyone just wanted to step up and show that we're better than that."
WCHS (3-14, 3-11 NCC) suffocated Eagle Grove (2-16, 1-15) with its pressing defense and put up a season-high 71 shot attempts. Sure, the Lynx shot just 32 percent, but they collected 18 steals that translated into numerous easy buckets and sucked the life out of the Eagles in the second half.
WEBSTER CITY 63, WEBSTER CITY 45
Friday at Webster City
Eagle Grove (2-16, 1-15 NCC) - Allison Purcell 0 1-2 1, Kylee Almond 5 4-4 18, Leslie Cooper 1 2-2 4, Megan Crail 5 5-8 15, Desira Shivers 0 4-4 4, Stephanie Martin 0 1-2 1, Samantha Helmke 1 0-0 2, Katie Blasi 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 17-22 45.
Webster City (3-14, 3-11 NCC) - Lynne Chalfant 4 2-2 11, Gabbi Hoversten 0 2-4 2, Hannah Myers 3 1-2 7, Cassidy Bultena 7 2-3 19, Allie Flaws 4 3-3 12, Alex Dinsdale 3 0-0 6, Mikala Harrill 0 2-2 2, Kenzie Garvey 2 0-0 4. Totals: 23 12-18 63.
Eagle Grove14 10 14 7-45
Webster City15 15 25 8-63
3-point goals - EG 4 (Almond 4); WCHS 5 (Bultena 3, Chalfant, Flaws). Rebounds - WCHS 30 (Myers 9, Bultena 8, Garvey 6). Steals - WCHS 18 (Flaws 5, Bultena 4). Assists - WCHS 10 (Garvey 4, Flaws 3). Team fouls - EG 12, WCHS 17. Fouled out - none.
Sophomore Cassidy Bultena buried a 3-pointer from the right wing on her first shot of the game and it was a sign of things to come. She rattled in three triples and scored a game-high 19 points to go along with eight boards and four steals. Classmate Allie Flaws utilized her sprinter's speed to harass the Eagles out top; she came up with five thefts and notched 12 points. Junior Lynne Chalfant wasn't shabby either with 11 points.
Bultena matched her season-high offensive output and she's reached double figures three times since the team returned from the Christmas break.
"She's done really well shooting the 3s and getting the rebounds and putting it back up for us," Myers said of Bultena. "The little things matter too because she gets fouled and makes free throws."
WCHS held a 30-24 halftime lead and then kicked it into another gear in the third quarter, primarily thanks to Flaws' aggressive defense. She collected three of her steals and scored 10 points during the stretch in which the Lynx outscored Eagle Grove 25-14 to up the advantage to 17 points, 55-38.
Flaws and Bultena drained back-to-back 3s at the start of the third, part of an 8-2 run that put the Eagles back on their heels.
"(Flaws') speed is probably one of the greatest things about our defense," Myers said. "She's such a huge asset because she can get down the court so much quicker than any of us."
Eagle Grove - facing WCHS for the final time as a member of the North Central Conference before it departs for the North Iowa Conference in July - would have been run completely out of the gym in the third period had it not been for the 3-point shooting exploits of Kylee Almond. She rained in three of her four triples - all from the left wing - for the Eagles' only field goals of the quarter. Almond finished with 18 points and Megan Crail chipped in 15 for the Eagles.
Alex Dinsdale added six first-half points for WCHS and Kenzie Garvey finished with four and four assists.
The Lynx distributed 18 assists - Flaws had three of them - and committed just 15 turnovers.
WCHS will take its two-game win streak into deep waters on Tuesday when it visits fifth-ranked (Class 2A) Fort Dodge St. Edmond. The Gaels now share the top spot in the league standings after they knocked off No. 2 (3A) Clear Lake, 58-53, on Friday.
Still, don't expect the Lynx to be intimidated.
"We're excited to go to St. Edmond and show them what we've got," Myers said.