Big first half helps Lynx end 4-game slide

Large WCHS senior class able to smile after win over IF-A

Taylor McKinney receives a hug from Leah Kasch as McKinney’s mom, Lynn, looks on during Senior Night festivities on Friday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — It wasn’t a masterpiece or an instant classic, but when a team is riding a four-game losing streak, neither of those are of the utmost importance.

That’s why Webster City girls’ basketball coach Nicole Muhlenbruch wasn’t too concerned minutes after leaving the floor inside the WCHS gymnasium Friday night.

Her Lynx team wasn’t perfect, far from it in fact, but a strong first half was enough to keep WCHS in control in a 45-37 victory over one-win Iowa Falls-Alden.

“A win is a win and it gives us momentum going into our next game (Tuesday at Humboldt),” Muhlenbruch said. “I thought we played a really good first half and that was enough.”

IF-A (1-18, 1-12 NCC) outscored WCHS (9-10, 6-7 NCC) 27-19 in the second half, but the Cadets were never able to get closer than five points down the stretch.

WCHS sophomore Kelly Stoakes (10) is hacked by Iowa Falls-Alden’s Alexis Hill on a drive to the basket on Friday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

The Lynx never trailed in the contest. They raced out to a 9-0 lead five minutes into the game, led 14-6 after one quarter and then outscored IF-A 12-4 in the second period to take a 16-point cushion, 26-10, into the intermission.

And they needed that comfortable cushion too.

The Cadets focused much of their defense on Taylor McKinney and other WCHS players took advantage. Tatum Goings scored four first-half points, Jenna Miller buried a pair of 3-pointers in the opening 16 minutes, and Kelly Stoakes added another triple.

Miller and Stoakes buried bombs, and Adalie Schwandt drained a baseline jumper during an 8-0 WCHS spurt midway through the second quarter, and the Lynx closed the half on a 12-2 run.

IF-A limited McKinney to just four first-half points, but it didn’t matter.

Adalie Schwandt (44) scores on a jumper in the lane against Iowa Falls-Alden on Friday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“That’s what you need to be successful, you need other girls stepping up,” Muhlenbruch said.

But WCHS grew complacent at both ends of the floor in the second half and the Cadets slowly crept back into contention.

A three-point play by Alexis Hill at the 2:03 mark of the third quarter trimmed the Lynx lead to single digits and IF-A climbed to within eight, 36-28, heading into the fourth.

A jumper from the paint by Hailey Bridgewater, followed by a Hill bank shot, got IF-A within five, 37-32, with five minutes to go.

“I thought we got kind of complacent in the second half and were less likely to attack the basket and less likely to challenge them defensively,” Muhlenbruch said. “We rushed a lot of things on offense too. We didn’t run the offense long enough to get those good shots.”

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Morgan Gallentine, one of eight WCHS players to be recognized on Senior Night, silenced the Cadets though when she took a feed from Stoakes and scored from the left block to push the Lynx lead back to seven with 1:48 remaining.

McKinney and Stoakes rattled in four free throws in the final minute to put the Cadets away for good.

Despite an off night shooting, McKinney still managed to scored 10 points to lead the Lynx. Stoakes dropped in eight, while Miller and Leah Kasch had seven each.

Grace Hoversten was held without a field goal and had just one point. She collected four rebounds, which leaves her 12 shy of 500 in her career. McKinney also yanked down four boards, while Goings came up with two steals.

Bridgewater led all scorers with 13 points. Jenny Wibholm had 11 for the Cadets.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Webster City 45, IF-Alden 37

Friday at Webster City

Iowa Falls-Alden (1-18, 1-12 NCC) — Jenny Wibholm 4 2-2 11, Marlee Lancaster 1 0-0 2, Hailey Bridgewater 5 2-2 13, Cailin Reimer 1 0-0 2, Kate Hutchinson 1 0-0 2, Abby Ites 0 0-0 0, Alexis Hill 2 1-1 5, Emma Harding 1 0-0 2. Totals: 15 5-5 37.

Webster City (9-10, 6-7 NCC) — Tatum Goings 1 2-2 4, Taylor McKinney 3 4-5 10, Kelly Stoakes 1 5-6 8, Leah Kasch 3 1-2 7, Morgan Gallentine 2 0-0 4, Grace Hoversten 0 1-2 1, Jenna Miller 2 1-2 7, Adalie Schwandt 2 0-0 4. Totals: 14 12-17 45.

IF-Alden 6 4 18 9 — 37

Web. City 14 12 10 9 — 45

3-point field goals — IF-A 2 (Wibholm, Bridgewater); WC 3 (Miller 2, Stoakes). Rebounds — WC 18 (McKinney 4, Hoversten 4). Steals — WC 5 (Goings 2). Assists — WC 8 (Hoversten 4). Turnovers — WC 8. Team fouls — IF-A 16, WC 11. Fouled out — none.