Late dry spell dooms North Linn

Girls' state basketball: Western outlasts Lynx, 58-48, in 2A dandy

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DES MOINES — For 28 minutes, the North Linn Lynx matched every basket, answered every little run Western Christian threw at them.

And then ...

“Our shots just stopped falling,” Anna LeGrand said.

Fourth-ranked Western got 24 points and 19 rebounds from University of Nebraska recruit Ashtyn Veerbeek and pulled away late for a 58-48 Class 2A quarterfinal win over No. 5 North Linn at the girls’ state basketball tournament Monday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

“They made it tough on us,” said Veerbeek, the Wolfpack’s 6-foot-2 junior post. “At halftime, (Western) Coach (Justin Negen) said defense was going to win this one for us.”

Negen knew right.

The Wolfpack (23-2) trailed 40-37 after three quarters, and held a slim 46-44 edge heading into the final four minutes before clamping down and pulling away.

 

 

“We matched them blow for blow for most of the game, but they had kids step up at the end,” Lynx Coach Brian Wheatley said. “And (Veerbeek), she was as good as advertised. It was hard to keep it out of her hands.”

Veerbeek made just 5 of 17 field-goal tries, but showed a nice touch at the line (14 of 18), was a force at the back of the Wolfpack defense and staked the winners to a 35-23 rebounding advantage.

Karsyn Winterfeld and Erica Bousema both made one basket apiece, but both were 3-pointers, and both came in the fourth quarter as the Wolfpack took command.

Winterfeld’s trey tied it at 42-all, Bousema’s gave Western a 50-44 advantage.

Freshman Abby Flanagan hit a 3-pointer to get the Lynx (24-2) within 52-48, but Veerbeek had the final six points, all from the line.

Still, it was a performance — and a season — for the Lynx to be proud of. And the best should be yet to come. All five starters and all key reserves return for 2017-18.

“The goal is definitely to be back,” freshman Grace Flanagan said. “We’ll fix things we did wrong, and we’ll get better.”

Wheatley said, “We’re disappointed now, but we look forward to getting back in the gym and making another run next year.”

Grace Flanagan scored 15 points, LeGrand added 10. Abby Flanagan, Ashley Tull and Kylie Kurt registered seven apiece, and Tull grabbed 10 boards.

Erika Feenstra scored Western’s first 10 points and finished with 18.

WESTERN CHRISTIAN 58, NORTH LINN 48

2A State Quarterfinal, at Des Moines

NORTH LINN (48): Grace Flanagan 5-9 3-4 15, Abby Flanagan 3-7 0-0 7, Anna LeGrand 3-11 3-5 10, Ashley Tull 2-8 3-6 7, Emma Ware 1-2 0-0 2, Fallon Finnegan 0-0 0-0 0, Mallory Holub 0-0 0-0 0, Hannah Bridgewater 0-0 0-0 0, Natalie Gallery 0-0 0-0 0, Kylie Kurt 2-5 1-2 7, Sydney Burke 0-0 0-0 0, Jenna Gallery 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-42 10-17 48.

WESTERN CHRISTIAN (58): Erika Feenstra 7-11 1-3 18, Jessi DeJager 5-7 0-1 10, Erica Bousema 1-4 0-0 3, Ashtyn Veerbeek 5-17 14-18 24, Karsyn Winterfeld 1-5 0-0 3, Avery Van Kley 0-0 0-0 0, Olivia Granstra 0-2 0-0 0, Kailey Heemskerk 0-0 0-0 0, Cori DeJong 0-0 0-0 0, Jordyn Marra 0-0 0-0 0, Emma Bousema 0-0 0-0 0, Janae Wynja 0-0 0-0 0, Alyssa Buren 0-0 0-0 0, Ally Postma 0-0 0-0 0, Abby Postma 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-46 15-22 58.

Halftime: North Linn 29, Western Christian 26. 3-point goals: North Linn 6-18 (G.Flanagan 2-5, A.Flanagan 1-4, LeGrand 1-3, Tull 0-1, Kurt 2-5), Western 5-17 (Feenstra 3-6, Bousema 1-3, Veerbeek 0-2, Winterfeld 1-5, Granstra 0-1). Team fouls: North Linn 15, Western 13, Fouled out: none. Rebounds: North Linn 23 (Tull 10), Western 35 (Veerbeek 19). Assists: North Linn 6 (G.Flanagan 3), Western 13 (Bousema 5). Steals: North Linn 4 (LeGrand 3), Western 4 (DeJager 2). Turnovers: North Linn 8, Western 8.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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