Sleepy early, Lynx late rally not enough

Stoakes’ 3-point barrage brings WCHS?back vs. CGD, freshman scores career-high 16 points

CGD’s Quinn Hansch (left) and Webster City’s Leah Kasch dive to try to save the ball before it goes out of bounds during the fourth quarter Tuesday night in Clarion. The Lynx staged a second-half rally, but fell short, 45-42. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

CLARION — Freshmen rarely have an easy time jumping straight onto the varsity floor and finding immediate comfort. It takes time to find a role and confidence.

Webster City rookie Kelly Stoakes found her comfort zone midway through the third quarter Tuesday night and over the final 12 minutes of the contest she proved one thing: she belongs.

Stoakes’ shooting prowess from the perimeter broke Webster City out of an offensive malaise and gave the team an energy it lacked as it fell behind by as many 15 points.

Clarion-Goldfield-Dows was able to hang on for a 45-42 North Central Conference victory over the Lynx, but a third straight loss entering the holiday break could have been much worse had Stoakes not stepped into the spotlight.

“It was very good to see,” WCHS head coach Nicole Muhlenbruch said of Stoakes, who tossed in five 3-point baskets in the second half and scored a career-high 16 points. “I thought she played with a lot of confidence and she didn’t hesitate to knock down those shots. It’s pretty apparent where she sits on the team.”

WCHS freshman Kelly Stoakes (left) cashes in on her fifth 3-pointer of the game during the fourth quarter against CGD on Tuesday in Clarion. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Nothing went the way of WCHS (2-6, 1-4 NCC) prior to Stoakes’ taking over. The Lynx scored just one first-quarter point, didn’t record a field goal until the 6:16 mark of the second quarter and had just two shots go down in the first half as it fell behind 17-7.

Five straight points by CGD’s Raven Kinnetz to open the third quarter gave the Cowgirls (3-5, 2-3 NCC) a 22-7 advantage and they appeared to be well on their way to a rout.

But WCHS responded, particularly when Stoakes got going. She ripped off four triples — from the left corner, the left wing and two from the right wing — in a span of 2 minutes, 25 seconds to close the gap to eight, and a steal and layup by Taylor McKinney pulled the Lynx within 35-29 after three quarters.

Seven points over the opening 16 minutes, followed by 22 points over the next eight minutes; Muhlenbruch says her team can build off that going forward.

“That was the team I was seeing the first few games of the season,” Muhlenbruch said of the third-quarter performance. “Now we just have to get all the way back.”

WCHS junior Taylor McKinney (4) is unable to stop a transition bucket by CGD’s Raven Kinnetz early in the third quarter on Tuesday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Stoakes’ fifth 3, following by another McKinney steal and bucket, trimmed CGD’s advantage down to two, 40-38, with four minutes left on the clock.

The Cowgirls were able to build their lead back to four until reserve Leah Kasch rained in a 3 from the right wing with just 10 seconds remaining. Kasch provided quality minutes off the bench, particularly with her energy and defensive intensity, in the second half.

“I knew Leah could do that because that’s her role in practice,” Muhlenbruch said. “She’s that little spitfire that comes in and gives us that little boost.”

CGD built the lead back to three on a pair of free throws by Kinnetz with 9.9 seconds showing on the clock. The Lynx had one last chance to tie the game, but were unable to get a shot off against the Cowgirls’ extended zone defense as time expired.

Zoey Woodle pitched in seven second-half points for WCHS. CGD limited McKinney to just six points, but the junior guard led the Lynx in rebounds (five), steals (four) and assists (five). Grace Hoversten scored all five of her points in the opening half and she also corralled five boards.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Kinnetz paced CGD with 16 points and Megan Askelsen finished with 11.

CGD 45, Webster City 42

Tuesday at Clarion

Webster City (2-6, 1-4 NCC) — Tatum Goings 1 0-0 2, Taylor McKinney 2 2-2 6, Atlanta Hopp 0 0-0 0, Zoey Woodle 3 1-3 7, Jenna Miller 0 0-0 0, Leah Kasch 1 1-2 4, Kelly Stoakes 5 1-2 16, Grace Hoversten 2 1-2 5, Adalie Schwandt 0 2-2 2. Totals: 14 8-13 42.

CGD (3-5, 2-3 NCC) — Jadyn Jondle 1 0-0 2, Raven Kinnetz 5 4-7 16, Quinn Hansch 0 0-0 0, Megan Askelsen 5 1-2 11, Vanessa Kolb 2 0-0 4, Morgan Middleton 4 0-0 8, Emily Kapka 2 0-0 4. Totals: 19 5-9 45.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Webster City 1 6 22 13 — 42

CGD 8 9 18 10 — 45

3-point field goals — WC 6 (Stoakes 5, Kasch); CGD 2 (Kinnetz 2). Rebounds — WC 21 (McKinney 5, Hoversten 5). Steals — WC 10 (McKinney 4, Woodle 3). Assists — WC 12 (McKinney 5). Team fouls — WC 11, CGD 10. Fouled out — CGD: Kolb.