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Wanted: Defense

Lynx struggle to get stops in loss to Wildcats

WCHS guard Drake Doering (10) buries a 3-pointer over Humboldt’s Jamison Heinz (12) during the fourth quarter Tuesday night in Humboldt. Doering drained four 3-pointers in the final period and five in the game on his way to 19 points in the Lynx 74-69 loss to the Wildcats. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

HUMBOLDT — The formula for success inside the Webster City boys’ basketball program has been set in stone for more than a decade.

Defend. Defend. And defend.

And when the Lynx struggle to guard? Results like Tuesday’s 74-69 loss to North Central Conference rival Humboldt show up with frequency.

WCHS has ranked inside the top 20 (Class 3A) in defense in each of the past five seasons, with a high of No. 4 during the 2015-16 campaign when it produced a 20-3 record. But this winter the Lynx rank 42nd, their lowest spot on the totem pole since a No. 44 standing in 2013-14, which is also the last time the team finished with a losing record.

“(Defense) is what we’ve prided our program on since I’ve been the head coach, so it’s frustrating to know that we’re scoring this many points and not being successful because of our lack of stops at the defensive end,” WCHS head coach Marty McKinney said following Tuesday’s loss to Humboldt. “It’s disappointing that we can score 69 points and get beat.”

WCHS freshman Ty McKinney (4) pressures Humboldt’s Jamison Heinz in the backcourt on Tuesday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Humboldt (12-6, 8-5 NCC) buried eight 3-pointers, owned the glass and had four players score in double figures to reverse a 63-53 loss to WCHS a month ago.

The Wildcats put up more than 20 points in the second and fourth quarters and led by as many as 12 in the final period before a Drake Doering outburst from long range made things interesting down the stretch.

Scoring wasn’t a problem for WCHS (10-8, 7-6 NCC) and it hasn’t been all season. But every time the Lynx closed the gap, Humboldt was able to break down the defense and pull away once again.

“We got in a shootout and I’ve said many, many times that when we get in shootouts, we’re not going to win them,” McKinney said. “We’ve got to have some urgency on the defensive end.”

Humboldt outscored WCHS 22-12 in the second quarter, including 12-2 over the final 31⁄2 minutes, to take a 36-28 lead into the break.

WCHS guard Tyler Olson (20) buries a turnaround jumper from just outside the lane during the first quarter against Humboldt on Tuesday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WCHS committed just 10 turnovers in the game, but three came during a four-possession stretch of the second quarter that Humboldt exploited for six points.

“We only had six turnovers in the first half, but they came in bunches,” McKinney said. “All three of those (in the second quarter) led to baskets at the other end, and when that happens that’s a huge sway the other way.”

The Wildcats rattled off nine consecutive points in the third to take a 50-38 advantage. WCHS responded with its own 7-0 spurt and the Lynx trailed by just six, 53-47, heading into the final eight minutes.

Doering’s shooting kept WCHS in play late. He canned two 3-pointers from the left wing to get WCHS within seven with 2:10 remaining. Another triple, this time from the left corner, made it 66-63 with 1:05 left, and he added his fourth 3 of the quarter and fifth of the game from the wing with 31 ticks remaining.

But Humboldt did its job at the free throw line. It knocked down seven consecutive free throws and 8 of 10 over the final minute to keep the Lynx at arm’s length.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Doering led WCHS with 19 points, and Carter Neuroth blended an attacking offensive game with a pair of 3s to score 17 points. Tyler Olson, Will Tasler and Jamin Stuhr added eight points each. Tasler and Stuhr also combined for nine rebounds, while Doering dished out a team-high four assists.

Sam Fischer led Humboldt with 18 points, the majority of them coming from inside the paint. Gabe Gidel (13 points), Caden Matson (13) and Jamison Heinz (10) added to the Wildcats’ balanced attack.

The loss likely dropped WCHS to a No. 6 seed in the 3A substate bracket, which will be released in the coming days.

The Lynx will head back out on the road to face Algona on Friday.

Humboldt 74, Webster City 69

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Tuesday at Humboldt

Webster City (10-8, 7-6 NCC) — Ty McKinney 1 1-3 3, Drake Doering 7 0-0 19, Tavis Eklund 2 0-0 6, Tyler Olson 4 0-0 8, Carter Neuroth 6 3-4 17, Lincoln LaSourd 0 0-0 0, Jamin Stuhr 4 0-0 8, Will Tasler 4 0-0 8. Totals: 28 4-7 69.

Humboldt (12-6, 8-5 NCC) — Gabe Gidel 5 0-0 13, Jamison Heinz 4 1-2 10, Caden Matson 4 3-3 13, Jacob Thurm 3 1-2 8, Matt Miller 1 0-0 3, Sam Fischer 6 6-6 18, Ben Kuehnast 4 1-2 9. Totals: 27 12-15 74.

Web. City 16 12 19 22 — 69

Humboldt 14 22 17 21 — 74

3-point field goals — WC 9 (Doering 5, Eklund 2, Neuroth 2); HUM 8 (Gidel 3, Matson 2, Heinz, Thurm, Miller). Rebounds — WC 19 (Stuhr 5, Tasler 4). Steals — WC 5. Assists — WC 11 (Doering 4, Olson 3). Turnovers — WC 10. Team fouls — WC 14, HUM 14. Fouled out — none.

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