WCHS girls have case of 4th-quarter blues

Unbeaten Titans end on 17-2 run to rally past Lynx; McKinney goes off for 24 points

Taylor McKinney (4) takes a pull-up jumper on Tuesday. She scored 24 points in a 48-40 loss to South Central Calhoun. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

ROCKWELL CITY — They’re called the fourth-quarter blues, and the Webster City girls’ basketball team is finding out they’re like a virus — debilitating and a pain in the rump to shake.

What is the remedy? Head coach Nicole Muhlenbruch would love to know the answer.

For the second time in five days, Webster City was in complete control into the fourth quarter Tuesday night, but an offensive dry spell at precisely the wrong time proved costly. Unbeaten South Central Calhoun rallied from a seven-point deficit by outscoring the Lynx 17-2 over the final five minutes and change to win the contest, 48-40.

The last WCHS field goal came on a Taylor McKinney baseline floater with 6:29 remaining.

It was eerily similar to last Friday’s 50-48 loss to Iowa Falls-Alden. The Cadets went on a 9-0 run over the final 3:19 to take the contest away from the Lynx.

Cassidy Nerland has her shot contested by South Central Calhoun’s Brielle Korleski. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“We know how to get the lead, now we just need to hold onto the lead,” a clearly frustrated Muhlenbruch said afterwards. “We’re just not used to being in that position with the lead, but I know we can do it.”

WCHS (1-3) led 38-31 when South Central Calhoun (6-0) came to life. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Emma McKinney and Maddie Jones ignited a 15-0 spurt that forced the Lynx into catch-up mode, but nothing was falling at the offensive end.

A pair of free throws by Cassidy Nerland with 38 seconds left mercifully ended the run, but by then it was too late.

The final 51⁄2 minutes spoiled what had otherwise been a solid performance by the Lynx, who trailed for only one possession in the first half and led by as many as eight points on three occasions in the third quarter.

Taylor McKinney was a one-girl offensive show for much of the game, particularly in the first half. She scored the Lynx first 17 points and would have accounted for all of the team’s points over the first 16 minutes were it not for a Cassidy Nerland bucket from the right block with two seconds remaining in the second quarter.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

McKinney, who finished with a game-high 24 points, scored nine first-quarter points and buried three 3-pointers in the opening half to help WCHS head into the intermission in front, 19-15.

Nerland followed up her late second-quarter basket with four consecutive points early in the third quarter to extend the Lynx lead to 23-15.

Nerland put up eight points to go along with 10 rebounds. But no other WCHS player scored more than two points, and McKinney and Nerland accounted for 10 of the team’s 12 field goals.

A more balanced offense is what Muhlenbruch said her team needs.

“I just want everybody to look to score,” she said. “I want everybody to be an offensive threat.”

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

South Central Calhoun went on a late 7-0 run in the third quarter and cut the Lynx advantage to 31-28 entering the final eight minutes.

And then Maddie Jones got hot.

Jones, the Titans’ leading scorer at better than 20 points per game, went off for 12 of her team-high 23 in the final quarter. She rained in two triples during that span and knocked down 5 of 7 free throws. Her driving bucket that turned into a three-point play gave SCC a 41-38 lead, its first since 13-11 early in the second quarter, and it never looked back.

WCHS was forced to play a large chunk of the second half without Nerland, who was dealing with foul trouble. She picked up her third with 5:25 to go in the third quarter and didn’t return until the start of the fourth period. She was whistled again on Jones’ three-point play and was again relegated to the bench for several minutes.

Emma McKinney finished with eight points for SCC.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Haley Flaws, Halle Mason, Zoey Woodle and Grace Hoversten all had two points for the Lynx. Mason also had eight rebounds and Hoversten grabbed six.

SC Calhoun 48, Webster City 40

Tuesday at Rockwell City

Webster City (1-3) — Haley Flaws 0 2-2 2, Taylor McKinney 8 4-4 24, Halle Mason 0 2-2 2, Zoey Woodle 1 0-0 2, Grace Hoversten 1 0-0 2, Cassidy Nerland 2 4-4 8. Totals: 12 12-12 40.

South Central Calhoun (6-0) — Maddie Jones 7 8-11 23, Jessica Hicks 1 0-0 2, Brielle Korleski 0 1-2 1, Haley Stauter 1 0-0 2, Emma McKinney 2 2-2 8, Hannah Seil 1 2-2 4, Serena Smith 0 0-0 0, Anna McChesney 0 0-0 0, Heidi Hammen 3 0-0 6. Totals: 16 13-17 48.

Webster City 9 10 12 9 — 40

SC Calhoun 6 9 13 20 — 48

3-point field goals — WC 4 (T. McKinney 4); SCC 3 (E. McKinney 2, Jones). Rebounds — 27 (Nerland 10, Mason 8, Hoversten 6). Steals — 4 (McKinney 2). Assists — WC 4 (McKinney 2). Turnovers — WC 16, SCC 14. Team fouls — WC 16, SCC 14. Fouled out — none.