Inconsistency cripples Lynx in loss to Algona
BULLDOGS LEAD WIRE TO WIRE; EKLUND’S 11 POINTS LEADS WCHS
WEBSTER CITY — Perfection, or close to it, was what the Webster City boys’ basketball team needed Tuesday night as it attempted to take down an Algona squad that climbed as high as No. 3 (Class 3A) in statewide polls prior to back-to-back losses last week.
The Lynx showed flashes — one- to two-minute stretches where they were competitive — but inconsistencies at both ends of the floor stuck out like a pimple in the middle of the forehead in a 62-42 loss to the Bulldogs inside the WCHS gymnasium.
WCHS head coach Marty McKinney was forced to ride the roller coaster of emotions throughout the 32-minute contest in which his team never led. At times he stood and applauded the effort and execution. And at other times he stared at the ceiling in frustration.
It was simply one of those nights.
“We had stretches where we played pretty well, but then we get to that point where, after we claw back, we give up a couple easy baskets,” McKinney said. “It’s just disappointing. I didn’t have us ready to go (Tuesday night).”
Lanky and athletic, Algona (9-2, 5-1 NCC) took control from the opening tip and was never in serious danger of losing the momentum. The Bulldogs raced out to a 15-5 lead and then put together an 18-5 spurt over the final six minutes of the second quarter to take a 16-point edge, 35-19, into the intermission.
WCHS (7-3, 4-3 NCC) had no answer for Collin Bleich on moves to the basket or Jason Cecil inside the paint. Bleich scored a game-high 20 points and Cecil went off for 18 more. Versatile guard Wyatt Wegener added 13 more.
Baskets came too easy for Algona, particularly in the first half, McKinney said.
“I use the word urgency a lot and I didn’t see a whole lot of urgency at the defensive end,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to guard and we’ve got to be able to keep people out of the paint.”
WCHS was forced to play small for large portions of the contest. Starting forward Will Tasler, the team’s only true inside presence available, was limited by early foul trouble. Sophomore forward Jamin Stuhr missed his second consecutive game with an ankle injury sustained in a win over Manson-Northwest Webster early last week.
Algona pushed its advantage to 21 points by the midpoint of the third quarter, but WCHS responded with a quick 10-0 spurt, keyed by back-to-back buckets by Tavis Eklund that closed the gap to 43-32 with 1:05 left in the period.
The margin was 12, 45-33, entering the fourth quarter and McKinney felt his team was still in contention. And then the inconsistent play returned.
Turnovers — two on carless passes — on three straight possessions early in the fourth quarter spelled the end for the Lynx.
“That’s the third game in a row that we’ve had three or four turnovers in a row in a stretch in the second half,” McKinney said. ‘When you play a team like Algona, you’re just not going to get away with that.”
Drake Doering connected on a 3-pointer from the wing to close the gap to 14 at the 6:10 mark, and Eklund knocked down a free throw to again pull WCHS within 14 with 3:46 remaining, but the Lynx were never able to pull any closer.
Eklund was the lone WCHS player to score in double figures. He had 11 points to go along with six rebounds. Carter Neuroth added nine points and two assists. Doering finished with eight points, Ty McKinney came off the bench to pitch in five, and Tyler Olson finished with three points, five rebounds and two assists.
McKinney felt his bench provided solid contributions. Ty McKinney, Lincoln LaSourd and Elijah Killian all provided solid minutes in reserve roles.
“Our bench gave us a lift,” Marty McKinney said. “When we made that run, those guys were on the floor.”
WCHS will head to Fort Dodge on Friday to take on St. Edmond. On Saturday, the Lynx will travel to Gilbert to face Martensdale-St. Marys.
Algona 62, Webster City 42
Tuesday at Webster City
Algona (9-2, 5-1 NCC) — Wyatt Wegener 6 0-1 13, Collin Bleich 9 0-1 20, Caleb Helmers 0 0-0 0, Elliot Berkland 1 0-0 3, Nick Brown 0 0-0 0, Noah Nelson 3 2-2 8, Tyler Manske 0 0-0 0, Quelub Heidelberg 0 0-0 0, Jason Cecil 8 2-4 18, James Wartick 0 0-0 0. Totals: 27 4-8 62.
Webster City (7-3, 4-3 NCC) — Ty McKinney 2 0-2 5, Drake Doering 3 0-0 8, Trey Lyons 0 0-0 0, Tavis Eklund 4 3-4 11, Tyler Olson 1 0-2 3, Carter Neuroth 3 1-2 9, Elijah Killian 0 0-0 0, Lincoln LaSourd 1 0-0 3, Casey Kolbeck 0 0-0 0, Will Tasler 0 3-4 3. Totals: 14 7-14 42.
Algona 17 18 10 17 — 62
Web City 10 9 14 9 — 42
3-point field goals — Algona 4 (Bleich 2, Wegener, Berkland); WC 7 (Doering 2, Neuroth 2, McKinney, Olson, LaSourd). Rebounds — WC 22 (Eklund 6, Olson 5). Steals — WC 3. Assists — WC 8 (Neuroth 2, Olson 2). Turnovers — WC 12. Team fouls — Algona 15, WC 13. Fouled out — none.