116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — Best-of-7, please?
Best-of-3, with these Eastern Iowa small-school girls’ basketball giants involved, it’s just not enough.
Ellie Flanagan hit a critical 3-pointer, Kamryn Kurt drew a pivotal offensive foul and sixth-ranked North Linn claimed the rubber match with No. 3 Springville, 58-56, in a Class 1A quarterfinal at the girls’ state basketball tournament Wednesday night.
“It was everything we expected,” North Linn Coach Brian Wheatley said.
It sure was.
The teams split their two regular-season games, each winning on the road, and shared the Tri-Rivers Conference West Division championship.
Game 3, on the biggest stage yet, figured to be a coinflip, and when it was tossed, it didn’t show heads or tails.
It showed Lynx.
“Like I said beforehand, it was going to come down to whoever made more shots,” Springville Coach Christina Zaruba said. “In the end, they made a couple more than we did.”
In a game that featured six ties and eight lead changes, North Linn made the final move at the end.
With the Lynx (23-2) clinging to a 44-43 lead, Flanagan hit a trey to give the Lynx a little breathing room with 4:03 remaining.
“I just knew I had to step up and make it,” she said.
Then, on the other end, Kurt stepped in front of Springville star Lauren Wilson on a drive to the basket.
“In a game like this, you have to step up and make big plays,” Kurt said. “I was in position, and the call went my way.”
Wheatley said, “Kamryn is kind of a little pipsqueak, and she took the brunt of (the collision). But she did what she had to do.”
The Lynx closed it out from the free-throw line, converting 11 of 14 in the final 2:35. They led by as many as nine points before hanging on.
North Linn will face No. 2 Algona Garrigan (23-3) in a 1A semifinal at 3:15 Friday afternoon. Garrigan was the 1A runner-up in 2020 and 2021, and blistered No. 7 Burlington Notre Dame, 77-42, Wednesday.
A third North Linn-Springville clash became a likelihood after the Orioles won the second matchup in January and moved to No. 3 in the rankings and the Lynx dropped to 6.
“It stinks that they dropped that far and we had to play them again,” Zaruba said. “It’s hard for everybody to tell how strong our conference is, and it’s unfair that one of us had to knock the other out.”
Springville (23-2) held a 35-31 advantage with 3:40 left in the third quarter, but Kurt led the Lynx back, scoring her team’s last six points of the quarter.
Kurt’s two free throws put the Lynx up for good, 38-36, with 10 seconds left in the third, then she scored off a steal just before the buzzer to make it 40-36.
Kurt led the Lynx with 17 points. Freshman Molly Boge scored 15, Flanagan 11, Chloe Van Etten 10.
“This is just incredible,” Kurt said. “We went home after a first-round loss last year, and that wasn’t what we wanted.
“We want to stay and play here as long as we can.”
Wilson and Morgan Nachazel posted 14 points apiece for the Orioles.
That duo led the program to three state-tournament appearances in their four years.
“It just came down to a few little things,” Nachazel said. “They made more shots that we did.”
Said Wilson, who also registered 11 rebounds, five assists, six blocks and three steals: “It sucks to lose this game. They hit some shots. It played out the way it did, I guess.”
Molly Stamp added 10 points for the Orioles.
North Linn 58, Springville 56
Class 1A State Quarterfinal, at Des Moines
NORTH LINN (58): Chloe Van Etten 4-11 2-2 10, Macy Boge 1-8 0-0 2, Molly Boge 4-8 5-6 15, Kamryn Kurt 6-12 5-6 17, Ellie Flanagan 3-6 2-2 11, Skylar Benesh 0-0 0-0 0, Elise Ware 0-1 1-4 1, Ella Ries 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 18-47 17-22 58.
SPRINGVILLE (56): Grace Matus 2-8 0-0 6, Savannah Nealman 0-3 0-0 0, Lauren Wilson 4-11 5-8 14, Molly Stamp 4-9 0-0 10, Morgan Nachazel 5-7 2-4 14, Hannah March 1-1 0-0 3, Ashlynne Zaruba 1-3 2-2 5, Kennady Breitfelder 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 19-46 9-14 56.
North Linn 14 15 11 18 — 58
Springville 15 15 6 20 — 56
3-point goals: North Linn 5-16 (Macy Boge 0-2, Molly Boge 2-6, Kurt 0-3, Flanagan 3-5), Springville 9-23 (Matus 2-6, Nealman 0-2, Wilson 1-3, Stamp 2-5, Nachazel 2-2, March 1-1, Zaruba 1-3, Breitfelder 0-1). Team fouls: North Linn 13, Springville 20. Fouled out: Nealman. Rebounds: North Linn 33 (Macy Boge 7), Springville 27 (Wilson 11). Assists: North Linn 9 (Kurt 4), Springville 13 (Wilson 5). Steals: North Linn 9 (Kurt 3), Springville 6 (Wilson 3). Turnovers: North Linn 14, Springville 14.