Area high school basketball teams held their first doubleheaders of the season Tuesday which meant that four of our local boys’ teams made their season debuts.
Eagle Grove Eagles
The Eagle Grove Eagles basketball teams both made their debuts in a home doubleheader against a couple of very tough Forest City Indian teams. 2018-19 should be a year of significant improvement for the Eagles girls as they did not lose a single girl to graduation off of last season’s squad. The Eagles also opened last season against a Lady Indians squad that went 18-5 and Eagle Grove fell 67-17 in a match that was over from the tipoff. Tuesday, the home team was much more competitive during a 60-42 loss to the visiting Indians. The return of leading scorers in the form of Senior Natalie Vrba (12 PPG), Sophomore Ari Lyman (6.9 PPG), and Senior McKenzie Crail (4.5 PPG) should give the Eagles an edge in experience for much of this season.
On the opposite hand, the 2018-19 season will look vastly different for the Eagle Grove boys basketball roster. New faces will abound for the Eagles as they graduated 9 seniors off of last season’s team that went 11 and 11 on the season. Factor in that one the primary contributors off the bench from a year ago, Junior Guard Enzo Gabara, was lost for the season due to a knee injury sustained in football, and you’ve got the makings for a rebuilding season. Seniors Moe Friedl and Nick Halverson will have to provide leadership for the Eagles despite the fact that the two saw very limited action a year ago.
Tuesday, the Eagles lack of depth and experience showed as they fell 74-34 to a solid Forest City team that returned 6 seniors to a team that lost only 3 games all of last season. The early portion of the schedule will likely see the Eagles look to establish an identity as their young team acclimates to the varsity level.
Clarion Goldfield Dows Basketball
The Clarion Goldfield Dows Cowgirls also feature a roster filled with players that contributed significantly at the varsity level in 2017-18. The Cowgirls lost only 3 seniors of last season’s team that went 9 and 13 and they return their top 7 scorers. Junior Courtney Harle (10.5 PPG, 6.6 RPG) and Sr. Vanessa Kolb (5.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG) should provide an experienced frontcourt while Sophomore Raven Kinnitz (10.2 PPG, 2.2 APG) has the ability to score from the perimeter.
The Cowgirls fell in their season opener on the road against a loaded West Hancock team last Tuesday but they got that first victory under their belt this week. Hosting a weaker South Hardin team, CGD played lockdown defense for a 65-21 victory to even their record at 1 and 1 on the year.
Much like Eagle Grove, the Cowboys of Clarion lost a vast amount of their punch from last year to graduation. Gone are leading scorers Sam Urness, Rhett Darland, Zach Martin, Will Weidemann, and Bryce Tegtmeyer from a team that won 13 games in 2017-18. The Cowboys do return Seniors Alec Martin and Blake Jackson as well as Junior Jaace Weidemann who all earned varsity letters.
Despite losing their entire starting lineup to graduation, the Cowboys did put up 69 points in a 13 point loss to South Hardin in their season opener at home. The schedule won’t get any easier in the short term as the Cowboys host one of the North Central Conference favorites in the form of the Clear Lake Lions on Friday.
Webster City Lynx Basketball
The Webster City Lynx Girls basketball team will look to build off of a 2017-18 season that saw them finish at an even .500 mark of 11 and 11 for their first non-losing season in over a decade. Gone is Lynx all-time leading rebounder Cassidy Nerland as well as guards Haley Flaws, Sara Vogelbacher, and Halle Mason who were all regulars in the starting lineup. One returning piece will make all the difference, however, and that is Junior leading scorer Taylor McKinney who continues her assault on all the school scoring records. Surrounding McKinney with experience will be seniors Atlanta Hopp and Zooey Woodle as well as juniors Grace Hoversten and Adalee Schwandt who all saw significant minutes last season.
The Lynx opened with a tough matchup against Class 4A’s 8th ranked Boone Toreadors Saturday and despite fighting throughout the game Webster City fell 48-44 in a defensive battle. Tuesday the Lynx faced a more favorable early-season matchup against the Pocahontas Area Lady Indians. The Lynx found themselves down 5 points after a slow first frame but outscored the Indians in each subsequent quarter to pull away for a big 60-47 victory on the road. The story of this game is the Junior phenom McKinney as she splashed her way to 11 made three pointers, just one off of the state record, on her way to tying her career high of 37. Fellow 11th grader Grace Hoversten continued her ascension beneath the hoop as she contributed 14 points and 9 rebounds in the victory. The early portion of the schedule will remain tough for the Lynx as they host a pair of 7th ranked teams in their next two games in Class 3A Algona on Friday and Class 2A South Central Calhoun next Tuesday.
Marty McKinney’s Lynx boys basketball team will look significantly different than last year’s 14-9 squad as 4 of the top 6 scorers were lost to graduation in Tyler Bultena, Cam Moen, Jordan Tanner, and Tyler Bultena. Returning for the Lynx are Senior 6’5″ Center Henry Hoversten who controlled the paint for the Lynx to the tune of 11.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per contest a year ago. Senior wing Dylan Steen will also be relied upon for perimeter scoring, defense, and physicality. Filling in significant roles for the first time at the varsity level will be juniors Drake Doering, Carter Neuroth, and Lincoln LaSourd as well as Sophomore Tyler Olson. The Lynx have already been significantly bitten by the injury bug as they lost Junior Nick Hackbarth for the season to a shoulder injury and Neuroth missed significant practice time with mono.
Tuesday, the Lynx came out a bit sloppy and struggled with turnovers but the combination of Drake Doering’s touch and Henry Hoversten’s presence in the paint cut an early lead to just a single point at 46-45 in the 4th quarter but a big Pocahontas run put the game away for a 67-56 Indians victory. Doering finished with a career-high 12 points while Hoversten led the way with 11. The schedule will stay tough for the Lynx boys as they get back in action Tuesday against a tough South Central Calhoun team next Tuesday.