116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
ALBURNETT — Mike Hilmer did a good job of putting it into perspective.
When his North Linn boys’ basketball team lost just before Christmas to Edgewood-Colesburg, it surprised just about everyone. That included his guys.
But his message to them was one of positivity, not negativity. It was an acknowledgment of the work that lied ahead along with a reflection of what had been accomplished.
“I thought they handled it pretty well,” the coach said, after the Class 1A third-ranked Lynx beat Alburnett, 85-49, Monday night. “I tried to tell them the amazing part isn’t that Ed-Co beat you, the amazing part is how big of a deal that is, because of all the stuff you guys have done. I said ‘You wouldn’t be a big deal if you hadn’t done things that most teams don’t do.’”
Ed-Co’s 52-47 victory ended a 107-game regular-season win streak for North Linn and was the school’s first Tri-Rivers Conference regular-season loss since 2014. The Lynx have been in a state tournament championship game four years in a row.
That streak is still alive, obviously.
“After the Ed-Co game, we really woke up and realized we had to start playing better,” said North Linn’s Austin Hilmer. “Ever since then, we’ve been doing that ... We came up short that game, but we realized that wasn’t the end of our season.”
North Linn (12-1) has rolled in its four post-holiday games, including here, taking apart a good team from Alburnett (8-4). The Lynx scored 29 points in the first quarter to put things to bed early, using their renowned pressure defense to create turnovers and tons of points off those turnovers.
Austin Hilmer had a game-high 29 points, one of four North Linn players to score in double figures. Tate Haughenbury added 17 points, Dylan Kurt 13 and Cade Haughenbury 10.
“Tonight was a good team win for all of us,” Tate Haughenbury said. “We played really well, I thought. There are still a lot of things we need to work on, obviously. Which is good for us actually, that even after a good win that like you see things you can get better at. You see our potential.”
“I thought we played pretty well,” Mike Hilmer said. “We’ve been working on a lot of little things, and I think that’s really helped. Every day we try to find something. Hey, what could we have done better today? We try and do it better the next day. We’ve still got a long ways to go. Sometimes you don’t see those things when you don’t have a loss in there. You lose at the end of the year, the season’s over.”
Andrew Ossman had 13 points to lead Alburnett. The Pirates made 12 of their 16 shots from the field in the first half, including going 4 of 5 from 3-point range, yet were down 14 points.
Turnovers were the issue. Alburnett had 12 in the first half and 24 in the game.
“We saw some good things,” said Alburnett Coach Jeff Christopherson. “Keep playing hard. You’ve got to have a short-term memory because we’ve got two big ballgames to finish out the rest of the week, including Central City (Tuesday) night. You’ve got to be ready to play. I liked the way we attacked the rim tonight. That’s probably about the best we’ve attacked the rim. We just made too many turnovers that first half.”
NORTH LINN (85): Cade Haughenbury 4-5 2-2 10, Dylan Kurt 5-8 2-3 13, Tate Haughenbury 8-9 1-2 17, Ben Wheatley 4-10 0-0 8, Austin Hilmer 12-22 3-3 29, Tate Collum 1-4 0-0 3, Gunner Vanourney 0-1 0-0 0, Ty Pflughaupt 1-1 0-0 3, Cole Griffith 0-1 0-0 0, Trey McEnany 0-0 0-0 0, Grant Rechkemmer 0-0 0-0 0, Jake Van Etten 0-0 0-0 0, Drew Ries 0-0 0-0 0, Breckyn Betenbender 1-1 0-0 0. Totals 36-63 8-10 85.
ALBURNETT (49): Andrew Ossman 6-9 0-0 13, Anthony Yamilkoski 2-3 0-2 4, Gavin Soukup 2-4 1-2 6, Braydon Osborn 1-2 4-4 6, Mason Neighbor 4-10 0-0 10, Jordan Caton 2-7 2-2 8, Adam Neighbor 0-0 0-0 0, Tytan Bowers 0-3 0-0 0, Grayson Carolan 0-0 0-0 0, Cody Rammelsberg 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 18-39 7-10 49.
Halftime - North Linn 46, Alburnett 32. 3-point goals - North Linn 5-13 (Kurt 1-2, Wheatley 0-4, Hilmer 2-4, Collum 1-2, Pflughaupt 1-1), Alburnett 6-17 (Ossman 1-2, Soukup 1-3, M. Neighbor 2-6, Caton 2-6). Rebounds - North Linn 32 (C. Haugenbury 9), Alburnett 18 (Yamilkoski 5). Total fouls - North Linn 9, Alburnett 11. Fouled out - None. Turnovers - North Linn 12, Alburnett 24.
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