ROUGH START TO 2021
McKinney and Olson forced to carry offensive burden, it’s not enough
WEBSTER CITY — The Big Three was trimmed by one on Monday and it was felt.
Webster City all-conference guard Tavis Eklund — one of the premier 3-point shooters in the North Central Conference — could only watch from the bench while nursing an injured ankle and his absence was noticeable, particularly at the offensive end, as the Lynx dropped a winnable game to St. Edmond, 52-49, inside the WCHS gymnasium.
Without Eklund’s offense, the burden was heaped on the shoulders of running mates Ty McKinney and Tyler Olson. They did all they could, combining for 38 points, but in the end it wasn’t enough to fend of St. Edmond’s more balanced attack, which included at least six points from five different players.
“Without Tavis we’re trying to find the right mix offensively,” WCHS head coach Marty McKinney said, noting Eklund’s timetable to return is currently unknown. “Give Ty and Tyler credit for stepping up. With Tavis out, they know they’ve got to carry that load, but they can’t carry the whole thing. We have to get some other guys to be offensive and right now they’re not seen as a threat and so (opponents) don’t have to guard them.”
Olson and McKinney both popped off for 19 points. They scored all 12 of the Lynx first-half points, an inconsistent and lethargic stretch in which WCHS (1-2, 1-2 NCC) raced out to a 7-0 lead five minutes into the game and then scored just three more points over the final 11 minutes as the Gaels (3-5, 3-2 NCC) rallied to take a 15-12 lead into the break.
Sure, Eklund’s absence was a factor, but was it the determining factor? Marty McKinney says there were plenty of other problems and the blame falls on his shoulders.
“We were inconsistent and that’s on me,” he said. “The guys play hard, but at times it seems like we get in a rut. Sometimes it’s offense and sometimes it’s defense, and that’s on me. There’s no excuse for that coming off the (holiday) break.”
St. Edmond seized on the Lynx woes to build an eight-point lead early in the third quarter before Trey Lyons steadied things with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. It kicked off a 9-0 run that vaulted WCHS into the lead briefly.
And that was the problem. In spurts, the Lynx had their way with the Gaels. They jumped in the passing lanes, created steals and turned the defense into instant offense. But just as quickly, the spigot was turned off and St. Edmond was able to reassert its control.
The back-and-fourth final period saw both teams lead on multiple occasions. But each time WCHS jumped in front, St. Edmond seemingly answered with a 3-pointer. The Gaels cashed in on four triples over the final eight minutes and made six of their seven 3s in the second half.
“Defensively, that’s one of the things we’ve got to work on,” Marty McKinney said. “High school kids can shoot the 3. As soon as they can walk, it seems like they’re out at the 3-point line. But give (St. Edmond) credit, they had guys step up and make big shots.”
A four-point burst by Ty McKinney — a bucket, quick steal and lay-in — in a span of five seconds gave WCHS a 46-45 lead with 3:20 to go. But St. Edmond’s Jackson Palmer had the answer — a trey from straight on to put the Gaels back in front.
It was knotted at 48 with 1:24 remaining when the Gaels’ Drew Schaeffer hit a tough fadeaway jumper from the left baseline to put his team in front to stay. The lead was extended to four on two free throws by Quinten McCarville.
Olson made one free throw to close the gap to three with 19 seconds remaining. His second attempt fell off the rim, but WCHS managed to corral the offensive rebound and call timeout with 10 seconds to go. The Lynx got a pair of looks from long range to try to force overtime in the closing moments, but neither shot came close to going down.
Schaeffer led St. Edmond with 17 points and Palmer poured in 11. Hayden Mayer chipped in nine more.
Jamin Stuhr registered four points and eight rebounds for WCHS. Olson had seven boards, three steals and two assists. Ty McKinney pitched in six more caroms, as well as two steals.
WCHS was at Greene County last night and will travel to Clear Lake to take on the three-time defending NCC champion Lions on Friday.
St. Edmond 52, Webster City 49
Monday at Webster City
St. Edmond (3-5, 3-2 NCC) — Anthony Lacina 2 0-0 6, Noah Simpson 1 0-0 3, Quinten McCarville 2 2-3 6, Jackson Palmer 5 0-0 11, Drew Schaeffer 7 0-0 17, Hayden Mayer 4 1-2 9, Caleb Schaeffer 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 3-5 52.
Webster City (1-2, 1-2 NCC) — Tyler Olson 7 4-6 19, Jayce Neuroth 0 0-0 0, Devon Stoakes 0 0-0 0, Ty McKinney 6 5-6 19, Trey Lyons 2 0-0 5, Jaime Grossoehme 0 0-0 0, Jamin Stuhr 2 0-0 4, Beau Klaver 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 9-14 49.
St. Edmond 7 8 17 20 — 52
Web City 9 3 19 18 — 49
3-point field goals — SE 7 (D. Schaeffer 3, Lacina 2, Simpson, Palmer); WC 4 (McKinney 2, Olson, Lyons). Rebounds — WC 26 (Stuhr 8, Olson 7, McKinney 6). Assists — WC 8 (Stoakes 3, Olson 2). Steals — WC 9 (Olson 3, McKinney 2, Neuroth 2). Turnovers — WC 10. Team fouls — SE 14, WC 13. Fouled out — none.