Lynx priority: Guard the arc

WEBSTER CITY – Webster City’s basketball season will either live to fight again or die a slow and most likely frustrating death at the 3-point arc when it opens up Class 3A postseason play tonight inside the WCHS gymnasium.

And it has nothing to do with the Lynx ability to shoot the ball.

Gilbert will come to town this evening for a District 4 semifinal as the most prolific 3-point shooting team in the class and the Tigers are sure to chuck it up from long distance plenty once the ball is put into play at 8 p.m.

“They’re a run and gun team and they want to score points,” WCHS head coach Marty McKinney said of the Tigers. “We definitely have to defend their shooters.”

Gilbert (12-9) – winners of four straight games and five of its last six – has taken a 3A-high 512 3-point shots this season, which is nearly 47 percent of all of its field goal attempts. The Tigers share the 3A lead for most makes (172) with Clear Lake.

For some perspective: Webster City (10-10) – 5-2 over its last seven contests – has hoisted up just 273 shots from outside the arc.

Leading scorer Wesley Greder (14.9 points per game) isn’t afraid to put it up from anywhere, proven by his 131 3-point shots taken. Jared Gescheidler (12.8 ppg), Dax Hatfield (9.3) and Ryan Blum (8.2) have all put up between 71 and 98 triples.

“They run a dribble-drive offense where they’re going to try to drive into the lane and kick to shooters,” McKinney said. “We’ve got to be really good (defensively) on the ball. We can’t allow penetration where we have to help on everybody because that’s going to leave guys wide open outside.”

Gilbert’s late-season surge has been helped by the emergence of freshman Jack Hoiberg, who went off for a career-high 27 points in a 77-73 win over Bondurant-Farrar at the end of the regular season. The son of Iowa State men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg, Jack is averaging 10.9 points in 11 varsity outings.

“They looked really good against a good Bondurant-Farrar team,” McKinney said. “(Hoiberg) is only 5-7, but can get to the rim and finish, and he’s also a great shooter.”

McKinney has plenty of confidence in his own offense, which is keyed by junior shooting guard Mason Myers (18.6). But the coach would like to see balance against a Gilbert team that isn’t exactly a defensive juggernaut. The Tigers have allowed four opponents to top 70 points, one to fly past 80 and another to exceed 90.

However, the coach says if his team gets to 70 points then it’s most likely in trouble.

“We can’t get into a track meet with them and try to outscore them,” he said. “If the game is in the high 60s or low 70s, we’re probably not going to have a very good chance.”

Ben Mossman and Avery Fuhs both average 9.9 points per game for the Lynx.

The other District 4 semifinal between Humboldt and Nevada will open the two-game set at 6:30 p.m. The two winners will meet for the district title at Fort Dodge Senior High on Thursday.