No. 2 Lions scorch nets early, add Lynx to list of victims
McKinney carries offense with five 3s, 17 points
CLEAR LAKE — Nicole Muhlenbruch was in a glass-half-full type of mood Tuesday evening after her Webster City girls’ basketball team suffered the same fate that others have — and that others surely well — against second-ranked (Class 3A) Clear Lake.
The Lions are good, there’s no doubt about that. But Muhlenbruch, the Lynx head coach, saw plenty of positives from her team despite the lopsided score — 60-28 in Clear Lake’s favor.
“Our girls gave four quarters,” Muhlenbruch said. “They never quit. They could have said ‘forget this’ after those first five minutes, but they didn’t. They kept working, they kept fighting.”
Clear Lake (6-0, 3-0 NCC) has done this throughout the early portion of the season. The Lions have now outscored their opponents by an average of 38 points per game, and they do it by pressing full-court — even up by 30 midway through the fourth quarter — and forcing foes to play at their pace.
WCHS (3-4, 1-2 NCC) committed 18 turnovers, but only five in the second half. For the most part, the Lynx handled the pressure in the backcourt, but were unable to get enough good looks at the basket to stay in the contest.
“We worked so hard at beating the press, but when we got in the halfcourt (offense) we weren’t as aggressive as we were at breaking the press,” Muhlenbruch said.
Lions’ all-state guard Sara Faber led all scorers with 21 points, 13 of those coming in the first quarter. Chelsey Holck dropped in 13 more.
Taylor McKinney was responsible for six of the Lynx 10 field goals, as she scored 17 points. She rained in five 3-pointers; WCHS had more 3s (six) than two-point field goals (four).
Leah Kasch came off the bench to supply WCHS with five points.
Clear Lake was unconscious at the offensive end early on with five first-quarter 3-point baskets, three of them by Faber. The Lions raced out to a 23-3 lead after the initial eight minutes and never looked back.
On its opening seven possessions of the game, WCHS committed four turnovers and had three shots blocked by Lions’ 6-foot center Kaitlyn VanderPloeg. The Lynx didn’t get a shot to the rim until McKinney buried a 3 from the left wing in transition with 3:19 remaining in the first period, but by that time Clear Lake already had a double-digit lead.
VanderPloeg was a defensive nemesis inside all night, which is why the Lynx were forced to live on the perimeter.
“For crying out loud, her arms were like 10 feet long,” Muhlenbruch joked. “But (VanderPloeg) took Grace (Hoversten) and Adalie (Schwandt) out of the game. I think she put a chip in their confidence.”
WCHS played Clear Lake to a 6-5 second-quarter, however, and the second half wasn’t the blowout that the final score indicated either.
But there was nothing the Lynx could do to make up for the first quarter.
“We were really proud of the way we played defensively,” Muhlenbruch said. “If we can put the offense with it and we can get some more people scoring … it’s combining all of those things.”
Clear Lake owned a monstrous 35-12 edge on the glass. Hoversten, who entered the game ranked fourth in 4A at 11.7 rebounds per game, again led the Lynx with four to go along with two points. Kelly Stoakes and Tatum Goings came up with four and three steals, respectively, and Stoakes also had two points.
WCHS will close out the pre-Christmas portion of its schedule on Friday with a road game against Hampton-Dumont in Hampton at 6:15 p.m.
Clear Lake 60, Webster City 28
Tuesday at Clear Lake
Webster City (3-4, 1-2 NCC) — Tatum Goings 0 0-0 0, Taylor McKinney 6 0-0 17, Kelly Stoakes 1 0-2 2, Leah Kasch 2 0-0 5, Morgan Gallentine 0 0-0 0, Grace Hoversten 1 0-0 2, Jenna Miller 0 1-2 1, Adalie Schwandt 0 1-2 1. Totals: 10 2-4 28.
Clear Lake (6-0, 3-0 NCC) — Sara Faber 9 0-2 21, Julia Merfeld 2 0-0 7, Darby Dodd 1 1-2 4, Ali Maulsby 0 0-0 0, Lexi Fasbender 0 0-0 0, Chelsey Holck 4 4-4 13, Jaden Ainley 3 0-0 6, Emily Theiss 0 2-2 2, Kaitlyn VanderPloeg 1 0-0 2, Zoe Fasbender 2 0-0 5. Totals: 23 7-10 60.
Web. City 3 5 8 12 — 28
Cl. Lake 23 6 12 19 — 60
3-point field goals — WC 6 (McKinney 5, Kasch); CL 7 (Faber 3, Merfeld, Dodd, Holck, Z. Fasbender). Rebounds — WC 12 (Hoversten 4). Steals — WC 8 (Stoakes 4, Goings 3). Assists — WC 1. Turnovers — WC 18. Team fouls — WC 7, CL 10. Fouled out — none.