THIRD STRIKE: Cadets have Lynx number again, season ends

IOWA FALLS – Casey Schlatter played a serviceable first half of basketball here last night, but when his team needed him to step on the gas in the second half he left Webster City choking on his exhaust fumes.

Iowa Falls-Alden’s 6-foot-8 junior all-state forward erupted for 25 of the Cadets’ 35 points over the final 16 minutes of play and that was good enough to send his team into the Class 3A District 4 final following a 57-46 semifinal triumph over the Lynx.

Schlatter – the leading scorer in 3A at 25.5 points per game entering the postseason – had just five in the opening half. He streaked by that in the opening 2 minutes of the third quarter on his way to a game-high 30.

“Give (Schlatter) credit … he’s 6-8 and he’s long, and he does a good job of attacking people,” WCHS head coach Marty McKinney said after his club lost to the Cadets for the third time and wrapped up its season at 10-12.

Schlatter knocked down 9 of 16 shots from the field and 11 of 13 free throws. He was also a force at the defensive end where he yanked down seven of his eight rebounds and he also swatted seven shots.

The blocks irked McKinney, who said his team did a poor job of attacking.

“It was very frustrating because we really focused the last two days on attacking him and getting into his body, but then we came out in the game and didn’t do it,” he said. “We just didn’t have enough guys that would go after him and get him in foul trouble.”

Brayden McDaniel added nine points for the Cadets (19-3), who will now face Waverly-Shell Rock (18-4) in Thursday’s district final in Cedar Falls. Jake Campbell buried a pair of first-half 3-point baskets for six points; Nick Jensen finished with six as well.

Sharpshooter Mason Myers led WCHS with 18 points, 15 coming in the second half to keep the Lynx afloat. He drilled back-to-back 3s and then tossed in a teardrop in the lane in the third quarter after IF-A build its biggest lead of 12.

Colby Larson created a steal and then rewarded himself with an inside bucket with 15 seconds left in the third to pull WCHS within 37-33, but Schlatter answered with a short baseline jumper just before the buzzer to extend the Cadets’ edge back to six.

It was 49-41 IF-A with 2 minutes remaining when a critical call went against the Lynx and ended any chance they had at a comeback. Mason Myers split a pair of defenders on the left block and threw up a tough shot that went in as he fell to the ground. But instead of a basket and potential 3-point play to cut the margin to five, Myers was whistled for a charging foul. McKinney was tagged with a technical foul for arguing the call moments later and Schlatter drained both free throws to up the Cadets’ cushion to 51-41.

“At that point I just felt like I needed to fight for our guys and that’s what I did,” McKinney said.

Neither team lit it up early and that may have ultimately been the Lynx demise. They missed their first seven shots from the floor until Austin Myers finally broke a scoreless tie with a runner in the lane 4 minutes into the contest.

WCHS flustered the Cadets with a diamond-and-one defense early on; IF-A began the game 0-8 from the field and didn’t record its first field goal until the 1:20 mark of the period.

It was tied at 6 after 8 minutes.

“We knew (the diamond-and-one) defense was going to be something we couldn’t stick with the whole game, so we really wanted to disrupt them for a little bit and jump on them, but we just couldn’t score points,” McKinney said. “We could not get key baskets at key times.”

IF-A went on a 10-0 spurt in the second quarter to build an 18-9 lead. Nick Olmstead led a Lynx comeback and brought them within 22-18 at the half. He scored all nine of his points during the opening half.

Larson and Colt Richardson gave WCHS valuable minutes off the bench. Larson finished with four points, five rebounds and three steals. Richardson, just a freshman, put up seven points and five boards.

“Colt’s really stepped up big for us the last few games,” McKinney said. “He definitely has a bright future.”