Gael girls one step away

The fifth-ranked (Class 2A) St. Edmond girls moved within a single victory of capturing their third consecutive North Central Conference basketball championship here Tuesday.

Senior Alli Huss and junior Anna Yung each scored 20 points as the Gaels methodically took care of Webster City, 66-25, and inched closer to the program’s first-ever league three-peat.

Only a win at Iowa Falls-Alden on Friday stands between St. Edmond (18-1 overall, 16-1 in the NCC) and at least a co-championship. Head coach Scott Messerly’s squad is tied in the loss column with second-rated (3A) Clear Lake (15-2, 14-1), which still has three conference games left on its regular-season slate.

”We played well. I was a little concerned about our energy level after two big wins over the weekend (against the Lions and Carroll Kuemper), but the girls got off to a quick start and took it from there,” Messerly said. ”We’re trying to get through the rest of the regular season, but also get our mindset right for tournament time, which is right around the corner. There isn’t any margin for error anymore, so it’s great to see us keeping the momentum going this late in the year.

”We were able to use our press effectively and push the ball in transition a little more (last night), which is where we are at our best.”

Yung and Huss combined to make 16 of their 24 shots from the floor, including 6 of 8 three-point attempts. Freshman Megan Flattery contributed a career-high 11 points off the bench for the Gaels, who are 57-6 overall and 50-3 in the NCC during this three-year run of hardwood domination.

The Lynx (3-15, 3-12) had won consecutive contests over Bishop Garrigan and Eagle Grove heading into Tuesday’s tilt, but they turned the ball over 12 times before scoring their first points against the Gaels. A pair of three-pointers by junior Lynne Chalfant actually helped trim an early 17-point deficit to 11 in the second period, but that was as close as Webster City would get the rest of the way.

St. Edmond tallied the first 17 and last 10 points of the evening. The Gaels didn’t allow a point in the fourth quarter.

”Alli and Anna were both patient and waited to get a good look offensively, and (junior point guard) Jaci (Stumpf) had a solid floor game even though she didn’t score much,” Messerly said. ”It was great to see Megan come off the bench and give us kind of an instant offense. She’s long and athletic and just scratching the surface of her potential as a freshman.”

The Gaels host Pocahontas Area (15-3) on Thursday before heading to Iowa Falls and taking on the Cadets (3-14, 3-11) Friday in their regular season finale.