Champs again! Lynx rip ’Dogs, clinch NCC title

Webster City guard Nick Wallen (12) puts up a shot in a crowd during Friday’s 64-28 rout of Hampton-Dumont in Hampton. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

HAMPTON — Winning a North Central Conference championship is always a grind. But it usually takes experienced players and first-hand knowledge of the highs and lows to be able to navigate the battles to the top of the heap.

Webster City has now broken that mold.

Five new starters this season hasn’t slowed the Lynx down yet and their reward is a second straight conference title.

Well, a share of it anyway. But one more victory and they will have it all to themselves.

WCHS shot 63 percent from the floor (22 of 35) in a 64-28 beating of Hampton-Dumont Friday night. Still up two games in the loss column on Clear Lake, the Lions need to win out and have the Lynx drop their last two contests to grab a piece of the hardware.

WCHS forward Tyler Bultena (24) has his shot deflected from behind by Hampton-Dumont’s Joe Vondra (back) on Friday. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

WCHS (14-3, 11-1 NCC) is no doubt thrilled to take up occupancy on the throne once again, but there is some unfinished business to attend to.

“Right now the guys have earned themselves a share, but they’re not done yet,” WCHS head coach Marty McKinney, who has directed the Lynx to three NCC crowns in the last six years, said. “We win one more and it’s outright, but it’s not going to be easy.”

Still, McKinney recognizes the accomplishment. This WCHS team was loaded with questions back in November, but night after night it has proven to be the league’s most consistent club.

“You have to give the guys a lot of credit,” McKinney said. “It’s never easy to win a conference championship. These guys stepped in and had big shoes to fill this year … we knew we had talent, but we just didn’t know how long it would take to put it all together.”

McKinney was able to substitute liberally against Hampton-Dumont (0-18, 0-12 NCC), which remained winless on the season. WCHS went on a 25-7 second-quarter run to build a 39-14 halftime lead and coasted the remainder of the way. Eleven different players got into the scoring column.

DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

“In the second quarter we really took control and that’s exactly what we needed,” McKinney said. “Our bench played very well and we went to them fairly early.”

Jordan Tanner led the way with 15 points and six rebounds, and Noah McKinney buried four 3-pointers on his way to 14 points. Cameron Moen drained a pair of triples; he finished with eight points and four assists.

Marty McKinney was particularly pleased with the production out of senior reserve James Van Diest, who scored seven points.

“James came in and played really well,” he said. “He gave us some great minutes early.”

Connor Shannon — the lone Lynx player with considerable varsity experience when the season began — deferred to his teammates at the offensive end. The 6-foot-6 forward still provided five points and nine rebounds.

Justin Kent and Joe Vondra both scored nine points for the Bulldogs.

WCHS will attempt to end any late-season drama where the league title is concerned on Tuesday when it entertains Clear Lake. The Lynx will then close out their NCC schedule on Saturday at home against Iowa Falls-Alden.

“Clear Lake won’t be easy … it’s a big game,” Marty McKinney said. “We’re still playing for a seed in the (Class 3A) district tournament, so we’ve got to be ready to play.”

Webster City 64, Hampton-Dumont 28

Friday at Hampton

Webster City (14-3, 11-1 NCC) — Noah McKinney 5 0-0 14, James Van Diest 1 5-5 7, Nick Wallen 1 0-0 2, Jordan Tanner 4 5-5 13, Romel Martinez 0 0-0 0, Logan Duff 0 0-0 0, Tyler Bultena 1 0-0 2, Cameron Moen 3 0-0 8, Connor Shannon 1 3-4 5, Henry Hoversten 2 0-0 4, Dylan Steen 1 0-0 2, Tyler Anderson 2 1-2 5, Ty Eklund 1 0-0 2, Devin Cornish 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 14-16 64.

Hampton-Dumont (0-18, 0-12 NCC) — Cesar Damas 1 0-0 2, Brandon Ho 0 0-0 0, Jacob VanHorn 0 0-0 0, Justin Kent 2 4-7 9, Wyatt Sutter 0 0-0 0, Riley Flint 1 0-0 2, Ethan Spurgeon 0 0-0 0, Max Aalbers 0 0-2 0, Dakota Harm 1 1-2 4, Joe Vondra 4 1-2 9, Samuel Wragge 1 0-0 2, Brady Ringleb 0 0-0 0. Totals: 10 6-13 28.

Webster City 14 25 17 8 — 64

Ham-Dumont 7 7 4 10 — 28

3-point field goals — WC 6 (McKinney 4, Moen 2); H-D 2 (Kent, Harm). Rebounds — WC 29 (Shannon 9, Tanner 6). Steals — WC 6 (Shannon 2). Assists — WC 13 (Moen 4). Team fouls — WC 14, H-D 16. Fouled out — none.