Short-Sided: Boone towers over inexperienced Lynx girls

WEBSTER CITY – Venturing into the land of the trees left the Webster City girls’ basketball team with plenty of abrasions Saturday evening inside the WCHS gymnasium.

Buoyed by 6-foot-2 center Mariah McPartland, fellow 6-footer Taylor Johnson and two other players 5-10 or taller, Boone utilized its towering height advantage to mop up on the glass and the scoreboard in a 55-30 victory over Webster City.

The Toreadors (2-0) owned an eye-popping 49-16 rebounding edge and a slew of their points came on second-, third- and even fourth-chance shots.

Just how noticeable was the rebounding discrepancy? Boone collected five offensive rebounds on one second-quarter possession before McPartland finally banked in a shot from the right block. WCHS (0-1) managed just six total rebounds in the first half.

“We knew they would have a huge height advantage and the rebounding really hurt us,” WCHS head coach Nicole Muhlenbruch said. “They shuffled those three low-post girls in and just kept hammering us down there and I would have done the same thing if I was their coach.”

McPartland poured in a game-high 16 points, 12 during a first half that saw Boone reel off 19 unanswered points and build a 29-9 cushion. She did her damage against a Lynx front line that had no one taller than 5-9 Hannah Myers on the floor for much of the game.

WCHS junior center Mikaleh McCoy saw the court only briefly in the first quarter before limping off with an injured right foot. Mikala Harrill, the Lynx other junior presence in the paint, watched in street clothes from the bench; a knee injury will likely keep her in a spectator’s role for several more weeks.

“We do need (McCoy and Harrill) badly, but I don’t want them rushing to come back,” Muhlenbruch said. “I want them back healed and healthy, and we’ll just deal with the height discrepancy in other ways.”

McPartland’s double-double outing included 17 rebounds, 10 on the offensive glass.

Boone hoarded 19 offensive caroms in all.

Muhlenbruch went with a starting lineup that featured four sophomores – Allie Flaws, Chelsey Wagoner, Cassidy Bultena and Gabbi Hoversten – seeing their first varsity action. Junior Alex Dinsdale filled the other starting slot.

Flaws utilized her quickness for a pair of end-to-end lay-ups that put WCHS up 4-2 just 2:10 into the game and she finished with a team-high seven points.

But it took more than 9 minutes for WCHS to score again and by that time Boone had lapped the Lynx three times for a 21-6 lead.

The Lynx shot just 17 percent in the first half and 24 percent in the game. Their first bucket outside of the lane didn’t come until the 5:04 mark of the third period on a 3-pointer from Flaws.

“I think that nerves played a part and they were rushing their shots,” Muhlenbruch said. “They’re all wanting to do so well that I think they’re either hesitant or rushing it, or they doubt themselves every once in a while.

“I hate losing and I’m not ever going to get used to it, but I also have to be realistic with the girls’ ages and inexperience. When you’re playing that many (new varsity players) out on the court, they’re only going to get better.”

A full-court trap – keyed by quickness up top – helped WCHS reel off six straight points early in the third quarter, and the Lynx outscored Boone 15-9 during the period to climb to within 38-24.

WCHS finished with 12 steals; Flaws and Bultena both had three. It was that ball-hawking mentality that allowed Muhlenbruch and her players to walk off the floor with a bit of positivity.

“We told the girls that they should be exhausted with how they played,” Muhlenbruch said. “There were a lot of girls that gave us good, solid minutes and we never really dropped off. There was consistent hustling and consistent doing what they were supposed to do out there.”

Boone quickly put to rest any thought of a Lynx fourth-quarter comeback by opening the final stanza on a 9-0 spurt.

Dianna Slight chipped in seven points for the Toreadors, five coming in the final 16 seconds of the second quarter. She rained in a triple from the top of the key, then came up with a steal and lay-in just before the buzzer.

Carrie Overland and Bridget Biersner both had six points for the winning team.

Dinsdale also finished with six points. Wagoner, Bultena and Kenzie Garvey all had four for the Lynx.

Hoversten ripped down a team-high five rebounds.

WCHS will begin North Central Conference play Tuesday night at home against Algona. The girls’ junior varsity/varsity doubleheader will get underway at 6:15 p.m.