In The Nick Of Time
WEBSTER CITY – Nick Olmstead is Webster City’s version of a ratty old pair of slippers.
Flashy he is not. But Mr. Reliable, well, that’s right up his ally.
The senior guard quietly went about his job of steady production at both ends of the floor for 31 minutes against Algona Friday night inside the WCHS gymnasium, and in that 32nd and final minute he went the extra mile.
Truthfully, he won the Lynx the game.
Olmstead – a first-year starter – buried a difficult 16-foot jumper over two defenders from the top of the key with 40 seconds remaining to put WCHS ahead to stay, and in the closing seconds he provided suffocating defense that prevented the Bulldogs from getting off a clean look at the basket in the Lynx nail-biting 42-41 North Central Conference victory.
“Nick plays his heart out, that’s for sure,” WCHS head coach Marty McKinney said after he exhaled. “He’s been steady all year and he comes to play every night. When we needed him he stepped up big time.”
Down 40-39 as the clock ticked under a minute, WCHS (4-6, 4-5 NCC) appeared to be out of kilter as the ball was passed around the perimeter. But Olmstead quickly took charge, as he took two dribbles, stopped just inside the 3-point arc and floated up a shot over a pair of defenders in his path.
It hit nothing but net.
“I was just trying to make something happen at that point,” Olmstead, who finished with seven points, four assists and two steals, said. “I saw we were down one and I saw a slight opening, so I just decided to go for it.”
McKinney admitted he wasn’t thrilled with the shot – right up until the moment it went through the net.
“I don’t know if it was the highest percentage shot, but to Nick’s credit he knocked it down,” McKinney said. “It was a tight situation and he wanted the ball in his hands.”
Algona (4-7, 4-6 NCC) missed a potential go-ahead shot from close range on its next possession, but got one more chance to pull out the win following a missed free throw by the Lynx.
With 10 seconds remaining, the Bulldogs put the ball in the hands of guard Luke TerHark, but he was unable to get away from Olmstead on the left wing and was forced to toss up an off-balance 3-point shot at the buzzer; it fell short.
“(TerHark) is a great shooter and all week I practiced face guarding just for that situation,” Olmstead said. “McKinney told me not to let him take any three uncontested, so that’s what I did.”
The fact that the game even came down to a possible buzzer beater is what had McKinney perplexed though. WCHS had the game in control following an 11-2 run over the final 4:20 of the third quarter that gave it a 35-26 lead.
Eric Coleman’s third 3-pointer of the night – this one from the corner – kept the Lynx in front by nine, 38-29, with 6:05 remaining, but Algona proceeded to score the next 11 points to seize a 40-38 lead.
Mason Myers ended the spurt with 4 minutes left with his final basket from close range; the Lynx sophomore led the team with 10 points, and he also had two steals.
Cole Nielsen paced Algona with 10 points. Justin Raymond chipped in eight and Trevor Loeschen had seven.
Coleman’s nine points proved to be crucial for the Lynx.
“Eric has had some big moments for us this year and he did again (Friday night),” McKinney said.
Coleman’s outside touch was needed, as Algona packed in a zone and cut off the Lynx ability to feed Boone Myers in the post. The 6-foot-5 senior center was limited to a single point in the first half and finished with just two field goals and five points.
Boone Myers missed significant minutes in the second half because of foul problems.
“Boone has got to realize that he’s going to get a lot of attention,” McKinney said. “There are going to be nights where it’s going to be a struggle to score points.”
Ben Mossman chipped in five points and six rebounds in the win. Austin Myers also had six boards to go along with four points.
Up next for WCHS is a trip to Clear Lake to take on the Lions Tuesday night.
Lynx boys drop 63-41 contest to Go-Hawks
WAVERLY – A lack of momentum handcuffed the Webster City boys’ basketball team here Saturday evening, as the Lynx fell behind early and were never able to make a serious run in a 63-41 non-conference loss to Waverly-Shell Rock.
WCHS (4-7) dug itself a 10-2 hole after the initial quarter. The Go-Hawks (7-4) increased their advantage to 11 (24-13) at the half, and then widened the gap to 16 (45-29) after three quarters.
“We were just never able to get it to where it was manageable,” WCHS head coach Marty McKinney said. “Every time we would get close enough, they would make a big play.”
Jake Velky cashed in on four 3-pointers and scored 18 points for W-SR, and University of Northern Iowa recruit Klinton Karlson chipped in 14.
Nick Olmstead produced 10 points and five assists for the Lynx. Ben Mossman and Mason Myers both contributed six points.