Prep Basketball

North Linn pushed but tops Don Bosco, 74-51, to earn 1A boys' state basketball title-game shot

North Linn co-head coach Mike Hilmer (from left) gives Ryan Miller (24) a hug as he came out of the game during the fourth quarter of their semifinal game of the Iowa Boys' State Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
North Linn co-head coach Mike Hilmer (from left) gives Ryan Miller (24) a hug as he came out of the game during the fourth quarter of their semifinal game of the Iowa Boys' State Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — If anything, they proved their starters could play a full 32 minutes without getting fatigued. They proved they could pull through in a tight game, too.

OK, tight-ish.

The North Linn Lynx didn’t blow out Don Bosco in their Class 1A state tournament semifinal Wednesday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena. For the first time all season, a continuous clock for a 35-point margin didn’t go into effect.

Still, this 74-51 win was convincing.

“They’re a really good team, and good teams are going to make a run at you,” said North Linn guard Jake Hilmer. “You can’t be in the semifinals and win by 30, with no adversity or anything like that. We showed how mature we are, how much composure we have, how much leadership we have. We really buckled down and showed a lot of maturity early in that game. That was special to see.”

Don Bosco (23-4) sliced through North Linn early, driving to the bucket and beating the Lynx down the court in transition, building a 12-6 lead. Co-Coach Mike Hilmer called timeout to settle his guys down, junked its trademark full-court press in favor of a 1-3-1 half-court trap.

Did it work? North Linn scored the next 23 points and 30 of the next 32.

“It was really interesting,” said North Linn guard Ryan Miller. “Obviously, everyone knows we haven’t played close games. When we were down six points, I kind of looked at Jake, and he looked at me like ‘OK, we’ve gotta go.’ We weren’t going to wait around four quarters to make our run.”

“They ran right through our press a little bit, we had to re-adjust, went to a 1-3-1 halfcourt trap to kind of take away the penetration and stuff and the easy run-out passes,” said Mike Hilmer. “I think that was the key to the game. It took awhile for them to adjust to that. Their coach did a nice job adjusting to it at halftime, so we went back to the man-to-man. But that was really the first time we had to come out of our press all year long.”

Jake Hilmer scored 29 points for North Linn (28-0). Always the ying to Hilmer’s yang, Miller added 25.

Unheralded forward Trevor Boge stepped up, too, hitting three 3-pointers and scoring 15 points. That doubled his average.

“Coaches told me before the game that Jake and Ryan score like, what, 25 points each a game, so they were going to draw a lot of attention,” Boge said. “We needed someone else to score the ball.”

Zach Huff had 15 points and Zach Nie 14 for Don Bosco, which ended up shooting a very solid 55 percent from the field, including 7 of 14 from 3-point range.

So it ends up being a championship game many, many people have been anticipating. Second-ranked North Linn against top-ranked, defending champion Grand View Christian (24-1) on Friday afternoon at 2.

GVC rallied late in the fourth quarter to quell Remsen St. Mary’s in Friday’s other 1A semifinal.

“We don’t have our goal quite yet,” Miller said. “Our goal wasn’t just to make the championship game, it was to win it. We’ve got a lot of work to do still.”

AT DES MOINES

DON BOSCO (51): Zach Nie 5-7 0-0 14, Cael Tenold 3-4 2-2 8, Sean McFadden 3-4 0-0 6, Jack Kelley 4-12 0-2 8, Zach Huff 6-10 0-0 15, Gabe Fernandez 0-0 0-0 0, Michael Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Lewis Havel 0-1 0-0 0, Luke Becker 0-0 0-0 0, Kendall Becker 0-0 0-0 0, Clayton Weber 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-38 2-4 51.

NORTH LINN (74): Trevor Boge 5-8 2-2 15, Adam Waskow 2-5 0-0 4, Jake Hilmer 10-16 9-13 29, David Sebrer 0-2 1-2 1, Ryan Miller 9-13 6-7 25, Brad Pflughaupt 0-0 0-0 0, Carter Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Sean Boardman 0-1 0-0 0, Austin Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Josh Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-45 18-24 74.

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Halftime — North Linn 45, Don Bosco 25. 3-point goals — Don Bosco 7-14 (Kelley 0-3, Huff 3-4, Nie 4-6, Havel 0-1), North Linn 4-12 (Hilmer 0-1, Seber 0-2, R. Miller 1-4, Boge 3-5). Rebounds — Don Bosco 21 (McFadden 8), North Linn 21 (Waskow 5). Total fouls — Don Bosco 19, North Linn 7. Fouled out — None. Assists — Don Bosco 11 (Huff 5), North Linn 11 (Hilmer 5). Turnovers — Don Bosco 20, North Linn 9.

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

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