A STEP FORWARD
Improved Lynx push NCC leader, come up short
WEBSTER CITY — It was an unusual feeling for Webster City head boys’ basketball coach Marty McKinney as he attempted to digest his team’s first loss of the season Friday night. Usually following a setback he can pinpoint a number of things that went wrong, but that just wasn’t the case as he sat in an empty and quiet WCHS gymnasium.
The truth was he was pretty pleased with how the Lynx performed.
“From where we were a week ago to where we were (last) Tuesday to where we were (on Friday), the improvement is just huge,” he said following the 61-56 disappointment against Algona. “We are really disappointed we didn’t win that game and nobody is satisfied, but if we keep the attitude and mindset we had in this game, there are a lot of good things ahead for us.”
Unbeaten in North Central Conference play, Algona (4-2, 3-0 NCC) went ahead to stay, 53-52, on a Noah Nelson 3-pointer from the right wing with 2:25 remaining. It was Nelson’s second triple of the quarter and fourth of the game, as he led the Bulldogs with 16 points. Algona knocked down eight straight free throws over the final 48 seconds to keep the Lynx at bay.
Trailing 59-56 as the clock ticked under 20 seconds, WCHS (1-1, 1-1 NCC) got the shot it wanted to try to force overtime, but Tavis Eklund’s open look from behind the 3-point arc on the left wing was off the mark and Nelson slammed the door shut with two more free throws with 5 seconds to go.
“That was a really good high school basketball game and I’ve been impressed with Algona,” McKinney said.
Ty McKinney erupted for a career-high 21 points to go along with six rebounds, and Tyler Olson went off for 19 points, eight assists and two steals in the loss. Olson’s passing was stellar and it was infectious, as WCHS assisted on 17 of its 24 made field goals. The drive and dish was the Lynx best friend, particularly during a 16-0 flurry that spanned the second and third quarters.
Ty McKinney had a few highlight reel dimes, as did Trey Lyons and it was all encouraging for the head coach.
“This is a very unselfish team,” Marty McKinney said. “They want to score, but at the same time they’re willing to do the little things that it takes to win and be successful.”
Olson says it all starts with the chemistry the players have on and off the court.
“There’s no enemies on the team, we just play together,” Olson said. “I don’t care if I score 20 points or someone else gets 20 points. We’re just looking for the win.”
Jamin Stuhr added six points and seven rebounds on the interior for the Lynx, who led 28-25 at the break and 44-39 after three quarters.
The back-and-forth battle was littered with spurts. Algona opened the second period on a 13-2 run before WCHS answered with the final 14 points of the half. Algona retaliated with a 8-0 flurry early in the third, only to see the Lynx score 10 straight over the last 3:10 of the stanza.
Ty McKinney and Olson gave Algona problems throughout the contest. McKinney rained in all three of the Lynx triples, as they combined for 16 first-half points and 24 over the final 16 minutes.
“Ty was really good and he’s been looking forward to this for a long time,” Marty McKinney said of his sophomore son. “With Tyler, you know you’re going to get stretches were he’s just unbelievable. He just takes over the game at times and makes it look so easy. What we need to do is get it in his head that he can do that the whole game and we’re going to ride him.”
Tyler Manske (15 points) and Garrett Goche (14 points) also scored in double figures for Algona.
WCHS will return to the court at home against St. Edmond on Monday, Jan. 4.
Algona 61, Webster City 56
Friday at Webster City
Algona (4-2, 3-0 NCC) — Noah Nelson 5 2-4 16, Kyle Simpson 2 3-3 7, Tyler Manske 5 4-4 15, James Warrick 2 0-0 4, Garrett Goche 4 4-5 14, Nick Brown 1 0-0 2, Aaron Weringa 1 0-0 3. Totals: 20 13-17 61.
Webster City (1-1, 1-1 NCC) — Tyler Olson 9 1-2 19, Jayce Neuroth 0 0-0 0, Devon Stoakes 0 0-0 0, Ty McKinney 9 0-0 21, Trey Lyons 0 2-2 2, Tavis Eklund 1 0-0 2, Jamin Stuhr 3 0-2 6, Beau Klaver 2 2-2 6. Totals: 24 5-8 56.
Algona 12 13 14 22 — 61
Web City 12 16 16 12 — 56
3-point field goals — Algona 8 (Nelson 4, Goche 2, Manske, Weringa); WC 3 (McKinney 3). Rebounds — WC 23 (Stuhr 7, McKinney 6). Steals — WC 3 (Olson 2). Assists — WC 17 (Olson 8, Lyons 3). Turnovers — WC 9. Team fouls — Algona 11, WC 16. Fouled out — none.