Flaws bucket late carries Lynx past Ballard in regional qtrs

McKinney, Nerland combine for 29 points

Halle Mason (10) scores from close range as Ballard’s Juliana Vier defends last night. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

WEBSTER CITY — Haley Flaws wasn’t ready to see her basketball career come to an end. And after a quick hop into the lane, a bucket, foul and 3-point play, she’ll get the chance to put on the uniform at least one more time.

Flaws’ craftiness around the basket with under 30 seconds remaining was just what the Webster City girls’ basketball team needed to get by Ballard, 47-45, in a Class 2A Region 2 quarterfinal inside the WCHS gymnasium last night.

Ballard (12-10), which entered the postseason on a five-game winning streak, had one last possession to either force overtime or potentially win, but Flaws was there to come up with a steal to preserve the victory and send the Lynx on to Saturday’s regional semifinal against seventh-ranked Mason City (12-9) on the Mohawks’ home floor.

“Both teams played really hard,” WCHS head coach Nicole Muhlenbruch said, “but you could just tell in how they played defense and how they carried themselves on the court, my girls were there to win the game.”

Last night’s effort was a nice way to bounce back following a blowout loss to fifth-ranked (3A) Clear Lake in the Lynx regular season finale and they did it by spreading the wealth. Sophomore point guard Taylor McKinney found her shooting stroke and went off for 16 points, and Cassidy Nerland provided plenty of support in the paint with 13 points. Flaws connected for eight points and Halle Mason pitched in six more.

WCHS senior Cassidy Nerland (facing) puts up a shot over Ballard’s Juliana Vier last night. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

Mason and Nerland were strong on the boards as well. Both pulled down six rebounds.

McKinney added five steals and Flaws dished out four assists.

Down 30-23 at the intermission, the Bombers were forced to play catch-up throughout the second half and finally took the lead in the final minute.

And that’s when Flaws took command.

WCHS (11-10) opened up a 16-14 lead after one quarter and then outscored Ballard 14-9 in the eight minutes leading up to halftime.

The Bombers closed to within 38-37 after three.

Molly Ihle poured in 13 points and Josie Fleischmann contributed 11 for Ballard in the loss. Fleischmann rained in three 3-point baskets.

Muhlenbruch is quite aware of the fact that WCHS will be a decided underdog on Saturday, but that also means the Lynx have nothing to lose.

“Maybe it will be our night. You never know,” she said.

Webster City 47, Ballard 45

Class 4A Region 2 Quarterfinal

Ballard (12-10) — Aby Catus 1 0-0 2, Tara Sanders 2 1-2 6, Cassidy Thompson 0 0-0 0, Maggie Larson 2 0-0 4, Charity Ransom 1 0-0 2, Rachel Wohlgemuth 0 0-0 0, Sydni Thrailkill 1 0-0 3, Molly Ihle 3 7-8 13, Josie Fleischmann 3 2-5 11, Karlee Ahrenholtz 0 0-0 0, Juliana Vier 2 0-2 4. Totals: 15 10-17 45.

Webster City (11-10) — Haley Flaws 3 2-3 8, Taylor McKinney 5 4-5 16, Halle Mason 2 2-2 6, Sarah Vogelbacher 0 2-2 2, Zoey Woodle 0 0-0 0, Grace Hoversten 1 0-0 2, Cassidy Nerland 5 3-6 13. Totals: 16 13-18 47.

Ballard 14 9 14 8 — 45

Webster City 16 14 8 9 — 47

3-point field goals — BAL 5 (Fleischmann 3, Thrailkill, Sanders); WC 2 (McKinney 3). Rebounds — WC 22 (Mason 6, Nerland 6). Steals — WC 10 (McKinney 5). Assists — WC 10 (Flaws 4). Team fouls — WC 13, BAL 15. Fouled out — none.