Prep Basketball

Joe Wieskamp achieves 'biggest goal of the season,' leads Muscatine to state tournament

Muskies edge Linn-Mar in substate final, 58-55

Muscatine’s Joe Wieskamp (center, right) celebrates with Muscatine’s Lex Hahn (center, left) after their boys basketball class 4A substate final win over the Cedar Rapids Kennedy Cougars at the U.S. Cellular Center in northeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. Muscatine won to advance to the state tournament. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Muscatine’s Joe Wieskamp (center, right) celebrates with Muscatine’s Lex Hahn (center, left) after their boys basketball class 4A substate final win over the Cedar Rapids Kennedy Cougars at the U.S. Cellular Center in northeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. Muscatine won to advance to the state tournament. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — There were rampant rumors out there over the summer that Joe Wieskamp was going to transfer. Social media is a great place sometimes, isn’t it?

Iowa City West was his likely destination. He’s headed to the University of Iowa to play basketball, and the prevailing thought was his team simply wasn’t good enough to make it to the state tournament.

But Wieskamp stayed, and the naysayers have been proven wrong. He and Muscatine will indeed play in Des Moines next week, assured after Tuesday night’s 58-55 win over Linn-Mar in a fine, fine Class 4A substate final at the U.S. Cellular Center.

“A lot of emotions felt after this,” Wieskamp said. “To finally see us on the winning end of the scoreboard at the end of the game is awesome. Just seeing this crowd, knowing all the work I put in, this being my biggest goal of the season. It just feels great.”

Wieskamp became 4A’s all-time career leading scorer this season, a 6-foot-6 wing with a fine shooting stroke and the ability to get to the lane seemingly at will. It’d be surprising if he doesn’t make an impact next season with the Hawkeyes.

His and-one three-point play off a drive with 46.4 seconds left gave Muscatine (16-8) a 54-53 lead. He rebounded an ensuing airballed shot, made a pair of free throws, then two more with 4.6 to go for the final margin.

Nolan Ruff’s running 3-point attempt to tie at the buzzer for Linn-Mar (13-12) fell harmlessly off the front of the rim.

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“We made some bonehead plays,” said Muscatine Coach Gary Belger. “But we really executed at the end.”

Wieskamp was checkmated all game by Linn-Mar’s Trey Hutcheson. The junior forward also with a Division I college future had 35 points to Wieskamp’s 36.

His 3-pointer from the corner gave the Lions their biggest lead of 44-38 with 6:20 left.

“I played hard, found my shots, and, thankfully, they went in,” said Hutcheson, who was 15 of 16 from the free-throw line. “My teammates were getting me the ball. We just kept playing hard. Chipped away at their lead, got up by a little bit. We just didn’t do enough.”

Four Hutcheson free throws gave Linn-Mar a 48-45 edge with three minutes to go, but a four-point play from Muscatine guard Josh Hutton put the Muskies on top. The teams went back and forth down the stretch.

“Any kid that’s trying to make it, wanting people to support you, you’re trying to build a brand for yourself,” Wieskamp said. “Hopefully that can be a good brand. The more people that get to see me before I get to Iowa, just build that chemistry with them will help.”

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AT U.S. CELLULAR CENTER

MUSCATINE (58): Alex Hahn 2-4 0-1 5, Joe Wieskamp 10-19 14-15 36, Jackson Foulk 2-12 0-1 6, Josh Hutton 1-4 4-6 7, Jose Melendez 0-1 0-0 0, Cooper Zeck 0-0 0-0 0, Bryce Howard 1-1 2-2 4. Totals 16-41 20-25 58.

LINN-MAR (55): Jared Nelson 0-2 0-0 0, Trey Hutcheson 8-16 15-16 35, Nate Annis 0-2 0-0 0, Jacob Robertson 3-9 1-2 8, Nolan Ruff 2-5 1-2 6, Greg Hall 2-6 1-3 6, Cole Martin 0-1 0-0 0, Jack Gertsen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-41 18-23 55.

Halftime — Muscatine 29, Linn-Mar 22. 3-point goals — Muscatine 5-18 (Wieskamp 2-6, Foulk 2-8, Hutton 1-3, Melendez 0-1), Linn-Mar 7-21 (Nelson 0-2, Hutcheson 4-4, Robertson 1-6, Ruff 1-3, Hall 1-5, Martin 0-1). Rebounds — Muscatine 23 (Wieskamp 14), Linn-Mar 25 (Hutcheson 12). Total fouls — Muscatine 13, Linn-Mar 19. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — Muscatine 6, Linn-Mar 6.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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