Lynx rally from 10-point deficit, but Carroll hits winning shot in final 10 seconds

WCHS senior Leah Kasch (20) receives instructions from head coach Nicole Muhlenbruch during a break in play against Carroll on Monday. Kasch led a second-half comeback and scored 13 points, but the Tigers responded late to pull out a 43-41 victory over the Lynx. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — Have you ever been disappointed and excited at the same time? It’s a rare occurrence, but it can happen, and Webster City head girls’ basketball coach Nicole Muhlenbruch experienced it Monday night.

Losing for the second time in as many outings, and in the final 10 seconds to boot, wasn’t what Muhlenbruch had hoped for and yet she couldn’t shake the feeling that her young club was close to turning the corner.

“I’m so proud of my girls because they just fight,” she said following the Lynx 43-41 close call setback against Carroll inside the WCHS gymnasium. “They never give up. They never look like they’re down. They want to be coached and they want to learn.”

Down seven points in the game’s opening two minutes, by 10 at the end of the first quarter and by nine late in the third period, WCHS (0-2) mounted a furious comeback and took the lead midway through the fourth. The Lynx were up by four, 40-36, with 1:56 remaining, but couldn’t sustain the momentum down the stretch.

Alley Odland canned a free throw with 20 seconds remaining to draw WCHS even at 41. Following a timeout, Carroll (1-0) put its fate in the hands of senior forward Ella Collison and she delivered. Collison drove the baseline and knocked down a shot from the right block as the clock ticked under 10 seconds for the game winner. The Lynx had one last gasp as Leah Kasch raced the ball down the floor, but she was trapped in the left corner and could only throw the ball toward the basket — it was way wide right — as time expired.

WCHS junior point guard Kelly Stoakes draws a blocking foul on a drive to the basket in the second half against Carroll on Monday. Stoakes scored a game-high 14 points. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“Collison is a good player,” Muhlenbruch said of the Tigers’ leading scorer, who finished with 12 points. “We just didn’t rotate defensively (on the game’s final basket).”

Kasch keyed a Lynx 13-0 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters to give WCHS its first lead, 34-32, with 4:30 remaining. She buried a 3-pointer from the left wing, a pull-up jumper from the left elbow, and then pushed the edge to four points with another 3 from the other side of the floor with under two minutes remaining.

“She got her rhythm,” Muhlenbruch said of Kasch, who scored 13 points and collected two steals. “She’s a spark out there and if she’s hitting shots, it motivates everyone else.”

Laura Sweeney righted the ship for Carroll with a triple from the top of the key to slice the Lynx lead to 40-39 with 1:30 left, and Collison followed with a bucket in the paint to put the Tigers back in front, 41-40.

Carroll had the ball with the lead as the clock ticked under 30 seconds, but Odland stepped in front of a pass for the steal and was hip-checked to the ground. She missed the first of two free throws, but calmly knocked down the second to knot the contest at 41.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WCHS junior Kelly Stoakes led all scorers with 14 points. She kept the Lynx in the game early with seven of the team’s nine first-quarter points and nine in all in the first half. WCHS outscored Carroll 10-4 in the second to pull within four, 23-19, at the break.

“She just works her butt off. She didn’t come out for one minute,” Muhlenbruch said of Stoakes, who also hounded Carroll’s guards on defense throughout. “She’s not cocky, she’s not arrogant, she’s just calm and confident.”

Buckets by Livia Kasch and Stoakes ignited the Lynx 13-0 run after Carroll had pushed its advantage to 32-23 on a Gabi Hammer 3 from the left corner. Livia Kasch checked in with seven points and seven rebounds. Jenna Miller added four points and a team-high eight boards. Stoakes joined Leah Kasch with a pair of steals, and Odland dished out two assists.

WCHS shot 35 percent from the floor (15 of 43) and committed 16 turnovers, but only five of the miscues came in the second half. The Lynx turned the ball over four times in the game’s opening two minutes and seven times in the first quarter, leading to the 10-point deficit.

Kennedy Lein and Laura Sweeney both had 10 points for Carroll. The Tigers were hobbled before the game began, as starting forward Addison Klocke injured her ankle in warm-ups and was scratched from the contest.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

When the Lynx will play again is unknown. WCHS is scheduled to begin an all-virtual learning program on Monday that will run through at least Friday, Dec. 11, and sports will be suspended during that time.

If WCHS does return to the classroom on Monday, Dec. 14, then the Lynx could conceivably face 14th-ranked (Class 3A) Hampton-Dumont/CAL on Tuesday, Dec. 15. They will be forced to either postpone or cancel games against Pocahontas Area, Humboldt, St. Edmond, fourth-ranked (2A) South Central Calhoun and 15th-ranked (3A) Clarion-Goldfield-Dows during the school shutdown.

Carroll 43, Webster City 41

Monday at Webster City

Carroll (1-0) — Kelsie Reicks 1 0-0 2, Laura Sweeney 4 0-0 10, Camryn Schable 3 0-0 6, Shayne Aschinger 0 0-0 0, Kennedy Lein 5 0-0 10, Ella Collison 4 2-4 12, Hannah Jorgensen 0 -0 0, Gabi Hammer 1 0-0 3. Totals: 19 2-4 43.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Webster City (0-2) — Kelly Stoakes 4 6-8 14, Alley Odland 0 1-4 1, Leah Kasch 5 1-2 13, Shelby Queen 1 -2 2, Livia Kasch 3 1-2 7, Jenna Miller 2 0-1 4, Trinity Griffith 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 9-18 41.

Carroll 19 4 9 11 — 43

Web City 9 10 8 14 — 41

3-point field goals — Carroll 3 (Sweeney 2, Hammer); WC 2 (Le. Kasch 2). Rebounds — WC 22 (Miller 8, Li. Kasch 7). Steals — WC 6 (Stoakes 2, Le. Kasch 2). Assists — WC 3 (Odland 2). Turnovers — WC 16. Team fouls — Carroll 21, WC 11. Fouled out — Carroll: Sweeney.


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