Lynx success built at the defensive end of floor
WCHS shackles H-D for 3 quarters, rolls to easy NCC?victory
HAMPTON — Everybody wants to score points, that’s human nature. But to play for Marty McKinney, you better be able to guard.
Not some of the time. All of the time.
Defense has been Webster City’s calling card for years and that was no different on Friday during a 53-29 road rout of North Central Conference rival Hampton-Dumont.
WCHS (9-5, 6-3 NCC) limited the Bulldogs to just two first-quarter points and five in the first half. Hampton-Dumont only had nine points after three quarters; it finally reached double digits at the 7:42 mark of the fourth.
“We weren’t great offensively, but our defense was enough to carry us,” McKinney said. “Our goal most nights is we want to hold teams under 10 (points) a quarter if we can and that’s a pretty stiff goal, but (Friday night) the kids played well.”
The Lynx weren’t great at the defensive end just one month ago. Prior to the Christmas break they allowed 55.8 points per game, but since returning that number has dipped to 46.9. And you better believe it’s made a difference.
“Since the start of the year the team has really bought in,” WCHS senior Dylan Steen, who registered 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals in the win over H-D, said. “A lot of it is just effort, that’s a huge part of what we do. Whatever you do on offense cannot affect your defense. Even if shots don’t fall, you’ve got to get down and guard.”
The defensive focus is nothing new for McKinney-coached teams. Over the past 10 years, including this season, WCHS has allowed just 50.3 points a night. Over that stretch, the Lynx have never allowed an average of 60 points per game in a season and only once have they surrendered more than 53.6.
Want more? Try this: Over its last 216 games, opponents have scored 70 or more points just eight times compared to 37 contests where WCHS held its foes to fewer than 40 points.
This current Lynx group is now on par with past teams, but that doesn’t mean it’s satisfied.
“Absolutely not,” Steen said. “We can always get better and we’ve got to keep getting better. We feel like we should keep teams in the low 50s or high 40s every game and we’re just going to keep working on it.”
Against H-D (3-12, 2-8 NCC), the Lynx scored the game’s initial eight points, led 11-2 after one quarter and 23-5 at halftime. The Bulldogs mustered just two field goals over the opening 16 minutes.
“A good, fast start was a big deal,” McKinney said. “Getting in a few baskets and getting a few early stops got our confidence up and got them a little frustrated. That was kind of the telling part of the game.”
Tyler Olson and Drake Doering both rained in 3-pointers in the third period, as WCHS extended its cushion to 35-9. McKinney eventually called off the wolves midway through the fourth.
Olson, a sophomore guard, poured in 11 of his game- and career-high 16 points in the second half. Four of his points came off two steals and breakaway buckets, but he also scored on slashes to the basket and on pull-up jumpers from the lane.
“Tyler has got a lot of abilities and sometimes we forget he’s still a sophomore,” McKinney said. “At times I’ve challenged him pretty good, especially this week about being locked in and begin aggressive offensively. When he’s really focused, he’s a really good basketball player. Now the challenge for him is every night to have that focus because he’s got the athletic ability.”
Olson finished with three steals and secured six rebounds.
Henry Hoversten gave WCHS a third scorer in double figures with 13, nine of which came in the first half. Lincoln LaSourd came off the bench in the fourth and notched five points, while Tavis Eklund and Jack Van Diest added three each.
The Lynx shot 49 percent from the field (22 of 45) and limited H-D to 34 percent (13 of 38).
Wyatt Sutter led the Bulldogs with six points.
WCHS will be back at home on Tuesday to host Clarion-Goldfield-Dows at 7:45 p.m.
Webster City 53, Ham-Dumont 29
Friday at Hampton
Webster City (9-5, 6-3 NCC) — Dylan Steen 5 0-0 10, Drake Doering 1 0-0 3, Nathan Ferrell 0 0-0 0, Tavis Eklund 1 0-0 3, Tyler Olson 7 1-2 16, Carter Neuroth 0 0-0 0, Lincoln LaSourd 2 0-0 5, Jack Van Diest 1 1-2 3, Henry Hoversten 5 3-5 13, Trey Lyons 0 0-0 0, Elijah Killian 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 5-9 53.
Hampton-Dumont (3-12, 2-8 NCC) — Mark Schunk 0 0-0 0, Cade Klein 1 0-2 2, Matt Waddingham 0 1-2 1, Alex Thompson 0 0-0 0, Dustin Miller 2 0-0 4, Riley Flint 0 0-0 0, Elijah Horton 2 0-0 4, Wyatt Sutter 3 0-0 6, Drew Uhlenhopp 1 0-0 2, Carson Miller 1 1-2 3, Kian Gibson 2 1-4 5, Mason Johnson 1 0-0 2, Jordan Severs 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 3-10 29.
Webster City 11 12 12 18 — 53
H-Dumont 2 3 4 20 — 29
3-point field goals — WC 4 (Doering, Eklund, Olson, LaSourd). Rebounds — WC 27 (Steen 7, Olson 6). Steals — WC 5 (Olson 3, Steen 2). Assists — WC 12 (Steen 3). Team fouls — WC 13, H-D 14. Fouled out — none.