NOT THIS TIME, ALGONA
Determined Lynx return favor, chop down Bulldogs in double-OT
This was one Webster City wanted, maybe even needed to exorcise some demons that had lurked in the shadows since a 65-63 overtime loss to Algona on Dec. 6, a game in which the Lynx let a 14-point second-half lead slip through their fingers.
And it looked like it would happen again Tuesday night. Could fate be so cruel a second time?
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been more proud of a team,” WCHS head coach Nicole Muhlenbruch said after her squad came out on the right side of a 75-68, double-overtime decision over Algona inside the WCHS gymnasium. “The hardest thing as a coach was to watch those kids in the locker room up at Algona and it just ripped your heart out. The only thing we were thinking was we weren’t going to let it happen again.”
WCHS (7-6, 4-4 NCC) extended its winning streak to four games — the longest run of prosperity for the program in the past 15 seasons.
The return match-up on Tuesday had an eerie sense of déjà vu. WCHS led by 13 points, 50-37, following a Taylor McKinney 3-ball from the wing with 5:15 remaining in regulation.
But here came Algona (7-5, 4-3 NCC).
Led by sharpshooter Abbey Holmes and her team-high 25 points, the Bulldogs buried four triples over the final five minutes, the last coming from Kam Etherington that knotted the game at 58 with just under one minute remaining.
WCHS attempted to work for the final shot, but Molly McCauley stepped in front of a pass near mid-court as the clock raced under 10 seconds. McCauley had an unobstructed path to the basket for the attempted game-winner, but Lynx forward Adalie Schwandt tracked her down from behind and blocked the layup to force overtime.
“She saved the game right there for us with that hustle,” Muhlenbruch said of Schwandt.
Holmes’ sixth 3 of the game early in the first OT gave Algona its first lead since the second quarter, but the game eventually worked its way to 64-all and a second extra period.
And that’s when WCHS seized command for good.
A Leah Kasch bucket from the left block, followed by two Grace Hoversten free throws pushed the Lynx in front 68-64.
Hoversten provided the dagger with 1:23 remaining, as she took a feed from McKinney on the right wing and canned a 3-pointer for a 73-68 advantage.
“I was wide open, so I shot it,” Hoversten said. “Taylor told me I had that and I guess I did.”
Kelly Stoakes put the game on ice with two free throws that upped the lead to seven with 30 seconds remaining.
WCHS, which led by six at the half and 10 after three quarters, had four players score in double figures. McKinney led all scorers with 26 points to go along with four assists and three steals. Hoversten had a double-double — 15 points and 14 rebounds — and Kasch was huge in a reserve role with 13 points. Stoakes finished with 12.
“This is the biggest win of the season by far,” McKinney said. “During the overtimes, we just kept saying that we can’t let this slip away like last time. We fought so hard for however many minutes we played and we had to get this win.”
McKinney, who shredded the Bulldog defense by relentlessly attacking the rim, has now scored 26 or more points in each of the last three games. WCHS is 10-1 all-time when McKinney goes off for 25 or more points.
Kasch made an immediate impact, as she scored six first-half points to help the Lynx take control. She also won the prize for the biggest smile as the Lynx raced off the floor following the win.
“When we were up at the end, I was like, ‘Thank goodness this is done.’ I can finally breathe a little bit,” Kasch said. “We all wanted this one really bad.”
Schwandt added four points and six rebounds. Jenna Miller rained in a first-half 3-pointer and Morgan Gallentine chipped in a bucket.
Algona drained nine 3-pointers, with Holmes doing the majority of the damage.
“It’s hard to get out on Abbey,” Muhlenbruch said. “My gosh, she can just shoot like no other.”
McCauley finished with 15 points and Aliyah Buscher had 14 more for the Bulldogs.
WCHS will look to keep the good times rolling on Friday when it makes the short trek to Fort Dodge to take on St. Edmond at 6:15 p.m.
Webster City 75, Algona 68 (2-OT)
Tuesday at Webster City
Algona (7-5, 4-3 NCC) — Ashlin Young 0 2-2 2, Abbey Holmes 9 1-3 25, Alexa Chase 0 0-0 0, Lillian Etherington 2 0-2 4, Kam Etherington 2 3-5 8, Molly McCauley 7 1-3 15, Aliyah Buscher 5 2-2 14. Totals: 25 9-17 68.
Webster City (7-6, 4-4 NCC) — Tatum Goings 0 0-2 0, Taylor McKinney 10 5-7 26, Kelly Stoakes 3 5-6 12, Leah Kasch 6 1-2 13, Morgan Gallentine 1 0-0 2, Grace Hoversten 5 3-4 15, Jenna Miller 1 0-0 3, Adalie Schwandt 1 2-4 4. Totals: 27 16-25 75.
ALG 16 12 9 21 6 4 — 68
WC 15 19 13 11 6 11 — 75
3-point field goals — Algona 9 (Holmes 6, Buscher 2, K. Etherington); WC 5 (Hoversten 2, Stoakes, McKinney, Miller). Rebounds — WC 32 (Hoversten 14, Schwandt 6). Steals — WC 3 (McKinney 2). Assists — WC 13 (McKinney 4, Hoversten 3). Turnovers — WC 12. Team fouls — Algona 18, WC 16. Fouled out — Algona: McCauley. WC: McKinney.