WCHS boys stay hot, pick up key league road win

Neuroth, Steen, Doering and Hoversten all in double figures against Humboldt

WCHS guard Drake Doering (10) attempts to score over Humboldt’s Jack Arndt on a drive to the basket Friday night. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

HUMBOLDT — Don’t look now, but as the season approaches the midpoint the Webster City boys’ basketball team has put itself in prime position to contend for a North Central Conference title over the final month.

Just don’t expect Lynx head coach Marty McKinney to be impressed. Not yet anyway.

WCHS pushed its win streak to five and remained just one game behind league leader and second-ranked (Class 3A) Clear Lake by starting fast and staying composed late in a 57-54 road win over Humboldt Friday night.

Balanced scoring — four players reached double figures — and just six turnovers were instrumental in the win. But connecting on 14 of 15 free throws may have been what put WCHS (6-3, 5-1 NCC) over the top.

“It was a closely called game, but when we got (to the free throw line) we knocked them down,” McKinney said. “And when you turn the ball over only six times, that’s a recipe for success.”

Webster City senior Dylan Steen (4) attempts to drive around Humboldt’s Hudson Gargano on Friday. Steen was one of four Lynx to score in double figures in a 57-54 victory. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

Carter Neuroth led the Lynx with 13 points and was 5 of 5 at the charity stripe. He was particularly key down the stretch when Humboldt (5-6, 3-3 NCC) cut a seven-point deficit down to a one-possession game in the closing moments.

“Carter stepped up big time and had a huge game for us,” McKinney said. “He got in the lane a lot, he scored and he found open teammates.”

Dylan Steen pitched in 11 points and five rebounds, Drake Doering pumped in 10 points, and Henry Hoversten registered 10 points and nine rebounds.

With Steen and Hoversten as the lone varsity holdovers from a season ago, they were expected to have to supply the majority of the scoring this season. But the emergence of other players — Tavis Eklund finished just two points shy of double figures on Friday — has given the Lynx a spark during the current streak.

“It’s maybe a little bit of a surprise, but we’re better when the scoring is spread out,” McKinney said. “It really makes us a lot harder to defend if you can’t focus on one or two guys.”

DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

WCHS jumped out to an 18-10 lead after one quarter and extended the margin to 35-26 at the break.

Steen and Hoversten found themselves in foul trouble in the first half and Hoversten picked up a quick foul in the third and was forced to sit again. Without the 6-foot-6 senior, the Lynx simply turned to other options.

“We were ready to play and I give the kids a ton of credit for that,” McKinney said. “When Dylan and Henry were on the bench, the rest of the guys did a great job of battling through it.”

Humboldt’s Calvin Carlson led all scorers with 17 points and Jacob Thrum added 11 for the Wildcats.

The two teams combined to make 13 3-pointers, seven of them by WCHS.

McKinney says the path will only get harder and that starts on Tuesday when the Lynx make the long trek to Algona. Yes, he likes where his team is currently, but he knows there’s a long way to go in the chase for conference gold.

“We’re pleased with the progress we’ve made, but we’re nowhere close to where we need to be,” he said. “So we’re not thinking about the conference, we’re just worried about the next one. Every game in the conference, especially for us, is a battle.”

Webster City 57, Humboldt 54

Friday at Humboldt

Webster City (6-3, 5-1 NCC) — Dylan Steen 4 1-2 11, Drake Doering 3 2-2 10, Nathan Ferrell 0 0-0 0, Tavis Eklund 3 0-0 8, Tyler Olson 2 0-0 5, Carter Neuroth 4 5-5 13, Jack Van Diest 0 0-0 0, Henry Hoversten 2 6-6 10. Totals: 18 14-15 57.

Humboldt (5-6, 3-3 NCC) — Austin Brant 0 0-0 0, Jamison Heinz 3 1-2 7, Calvin Carlson 6 3-3 17, Hudson Gargano 1 0-0 2, Jacob Thurm 4 0-0 11, Jack Arndt 0 0-0 0, Gabe Gidel 1 1-1 3, Owen Terwilliger 1 1-2 3, Matt Miller 1 0-0 3, Sam Fischer 4 0-0 8. Totals: 21 6-11 54.

Webster City 18 17 9 13 — 57

Humboldt 10 16 15 13 — 54

3-point field goals — WC 7 (Steen 2, Doering 2, Eklund 2, Olson); HUM 6 (Thurm 3, Carlson 2, Miller). Rebounds — WC 24 (Hoversten 9, Steen 5). Steals — WC 2. Assists — WC 9 (Neuroth 3, Olson 3). Turnovers — WC 6. Team fouls — WC 13, HUM 18. Fouled out — none.