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THUNDER THIEF

Kasch the hero against Boone as McKinney reaches 1,000 points

A smiling Leah Kasch (20) walks off the court with her Webster City teammates only moments after she beat the buzzer with a shot from the lane to stun 15th-ranked (Class 4A) Boone inside the WCHS gymnasium on Saturday. Kasch’s basket gave the Lynx a 47-45 upset victory. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — What could possibly be better than a buzzer beater? Try two buzzer beaters on for size.

That’s what Leah Kasch accomplished inside the WCHS gymnasium Saturday evening, and just how happy was she with her improbable feat? Astronauts standing on the moon would have been able to look to Earth and find her smile.

The Webster City junior reserve guard rained in a deep 3-pointer from the left wing as the horn blared to end the third quarter, and eight minutes later she sealed 15th-ranked (Class 4A) Boone’s fate with a bucket from the lane at the buzzer to give the Lynx an upset 47-45 victory.

Taylor McKinney jumped into Kasch’s arms. Teammates swarmed her. Lynx head coach Nichole Muhlenbruch put her in a bear hug that quite possibly constricted her breathing.

And she loved every moment.

Taylor McKinney jumps into the arms of Leah Kasch in celebration following Kasch’s game-winning bucket at the buzzer that gave Webster City a 47-45 win over 15th-ranked (Class 4A) Boone on Saturday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“When it went in, I was more in shock than anything else,” Kasch, who finished with seven points and four rebounds, said. “I did not think it was going in because I was off-balance, but it did.”

It was the Lynx first win over Boone in almost 10 years — 61-48 on Jan. 30, 2010, to be exact. The Toreadors had won nine consecutive contests in the series.

Kasch attempted to hit the game-winner with 5.6 seconds remaining on a drive towards the lane. But her pull-up jumper from eight feet bounced off the rim and into the arms of Boone’s Emma Dighton, who turned and attempted to rush the ball up the court. But WCHS forward Adalie Schwandt knocked it away from her — OK, she might have kicked it away but, hey, it’s only a violation if it’s called — and Kasch was there to scoop it up and toss it towards the bucket. It left her hands with 1.6 seconds remaining, hit the back iron and fell through.

Buzzer. Ballgame.

“What a confidence builder that is (for Kasch),” Muhlenbruch said. “The energy she brings to the court gives energy to everyone else.”

With 1.6 seconds on the clock, the ball leaves the hands of Leah Kasch (20) Saturday night inside the WCHS gymnasium. Her shot that was contested by Boone’s Lillian Lyons (44) found the bottom of the net at the buzzer to give Webster City a 47-45 win over the 15th-ranked Class (4A) Toreadors. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Kasch’s heroics stole the thunder from McKinney, who in the second quarter became the first WCHS 5-on-5 player to reach 1,000 career points. But the program’s all-time scoring leader was more than happy to share the spotlight.

“I’ve never been more hyped to see a ball go in (the basket) in my life,” McKinney, who scored a game-high 21 points, said of Kasch’s final bucket. “This is a huge, huge win for us.”

And Kasch was thrilled she was able to make McKinney’s milestone night even more memorable.

“She’s such a good player and I love her,” Kasch said of McKinney. “She deserves it.”

Kelly Stoakes added six points, three rebounds and two steals for the Lynx. Grace Hoversten finished with five points and eight boards.

WCHS guard Tatum Goings (2) drives in amongst the trees and puts up a shot against Boone on Saturday in Webster City. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Dighton played sparingly in the first half due to a knee injury sustained in the preseason, but Boone’s leader took over after the break. She scored 16 of the Toreadors’ 21 second-half points and finished with 18. Emily Ades chipped in 10.

McKinney scored 14 first-half points to help WCHS (1-1) build a 26-24 advantage. But Boone slapped a box-and-1 defense on the senior guard in the second half and held her without a third-quarter shot, as the Toreadors reclaimed the lead, 37-35.

Boone (1-1) owned a 40-35 edge when McKinney said enough is enough. She came off a screen and buried her third 3-pointer from the right wing — her first shot of the second half with 4:25 to go — to ignite a 10-0 Lynx run. She had seven points in the flurry and Stoakes scored the other three to give WCHS a 45-40 lead with 1:31 remaining.

A three-point play by Dighton trimmed the Lynx lead to two. WCHS had two opportunities to make it a two-possession game, but it missed a shot from point-blank range on the low block and then two free throws.

Cue Dighton once again. She beat a double team, scored and was fouled from close range to knot the game at 45 with 23 seconds left on the clock. But her free throw clanged off the left side of the rim, setting the stage for Kasch in the closing moments.

Lynx forward Grace Hoversten (34) battles Boone’s Katie Winter (22) for one of her team-high eight rebounds during the first half on Saturday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“This is just great for the ladies,” Muhlenbruch said. “It’s fun to play in front of your home crowd and it’s fun to win in front of your home crowd.”

WCHS shot 34 percent from the floor (14 of 41) and outscored Boone 13-9 at the charity stripe. Muhlenbruch was particularly pleased with her team’s turnover total of 15, which was less than half of what it piled up in a season-opening 49-42 loss to Carroll five days earlier, a game in which Kasch watched from the end of the bench due to injury.

“That tells me that the Carroll game was just nerves,” she said. “We had a lot of young kids out there (on Saturday) and they kept their composure.”

Schwandt, Morgan Gallentine and Jenna Miller combined for only six points, but their defensive contributions were significant. They worked together to limit Boone’s Lillian Lyons, a 6-foot-3 junior center, to six points.

“They had a tough assignment down low and I thought they all did a real good job,” Muhlenbruch said.

WCHS missed its initial six shots and fell behind 8-2 early on. The Lynx responded with a 7-1 run over the final 41⁄2 minutes of the first quarter to draw even at 9 and then went ahead in the second quarter.

Webster City 47, Boone 45

Saturday at Webster City

Boone (1-1) — Emily Ades 3 2-2 10, Ashley Behrendt 1 0-0 2, Emma Lewis 0 0-0 0, Katie Winter 1 0-2 2, Zoey Hightshoe 1 2-4 4, Emma Dighton 6 5-6 18, Morgan Kathman 1 0-0 3, Lillian Lyons 3 0-0 6. Totals: 16 9-14 45.

Webster City (1-1) — Tatum Goings 1 0-0 2, Taylor McKinney 4 10-12 21, Kelly Stoakes 2 2-6 6, Leah Kasch 3 0-0 7, Morgan Gallentine 1 0-0 3, Grace Hoversten 2 0-2 5, Jenna Miller 1 0-0 2, Adalie Schwandt 0 1-2 1. Totals: 14 13-22 47.

Boone 9 15 13 8 — 45

Webster City 9 17 9 12 — 47

3-point field goals — Boone 4 (Danner 2, Dighton, Kathman; WC 6 (McKinney 3, Kasch, Hoversten, Gallentine). Rebounds — WC 22 (Hoversten 8, Kasch 4, Stoakes 3). Steals — WC 8 (McKinney 2, Stoakes 2). Assists — WC 3. Turnovers — Boone 13, WC 15. Team fouls — Boone 19, WC 13. Fouled out — Boone: Behrendt; WC: Hoversten.

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