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North Linn’s pressure defense helps it make quick work of Janesville
2nd-ranked Lynx force 21 first-half turnovers en route to 63-30 win in Class 1A district final basketball game
MANCHESTER — Janesville’s boys’ basketball team made half of its shots from the field in the first half of a Class 1A district final here Wednesday night.
That included hitting three-quarters of its shots in the first quarter. All from 3-point range.
Recipe for a win, right? A chance for a huge upset of second-ranked North Linn, no?
No. The complete story here is that Janesville only got off eight first-half shots because of a suffocating, double-teaming North Linn defense that produced turnover after turnover after turnover after turnover and eventually a 63-30 victory.
“We watched a lot of film, and we saw that they got tired pretty quickly in games, even in slower-paced games,” said North Linn’s Austin Hilmer. “So we thought we’d speed them up. They don’t go too deep (on the bench) usually, and you saw in that first half they went eight or nine deep. They don’t usually do that. So getting out, going up and down, we wanted it to be a fast-paced game.”
Janesville got the first three points of this game, but 18 North Linn points later the blowout began. Lynx players trapped and double teamed repeatedly, jumping passing lanes to boot.
It was textbook, stereotypical North Linn basketball.
“I told them before the game ‘Whatever we’re doing, that ball cannot be walking down the court. We’ve got to get after them,’” said North Linn Coach Mike Hilmer. “Did we know (it would work)? No, we didn’t know how they’d handle it for sure because they have a lot of good players.”
Janesville (18-6) turned it over 21 times in the first half, as North Linn took a 40-12 lead.
“I thought offensively and defensively combined, that was probably the best complete game we’ve had with all of our players contributing,” Coach Hilmer said. “It just seemed like everybody that went in on defense had energy. We made no mental mistakes, we never gave up a basket. The 3-pointers we said we’d have to live with once in awhile. So was very proud of the mental aspect of it.”
Dylan Kurt led North Linn (23-1) with 16 points, complemented by Tate Haughenbury (11) and Hilmer (10). The other two starters, Ben Wheatley and Cade Haughenbury, had eight and seven points, respectively, so, as Mike Hilmer said, this was a collective effort.
North Linn will attempt a sixth-consecutive trip to the state tournament when it returns to West Delaware for a Saturday night substate final against Edgewood-Colesburg (21-3). The teams split a pair of Tri-Rivers Conference regular-season games, with Ed-Co winning just before Christmas to end North Linn’s 107-game regular-season win streak.
It was the first time since 2016 a Tri-Rivers opponent beat the Lynx.
“We use it as a little motivation for us,” Tate Haughenbury said. “That was really an eye opener this season, I guess, because we hadn’t been beaten in the regular season for 100-whatever games. That was a big eye opener for us. We’ve come back and hit practice hard so we can hopefully avenge that in this next game.”
JANESVILLE (30): Jared Hoodjer 3-4 0-0 7, Rogan Gergen 1-6 0-0 3, Keegan Eastman 2-4 0-0 6, Wiley Sherburne 4-6 0-3 8, Leo Dodd 0-2 0-0 0, Conner Clubine 1-2 0-0 2, Jaden Appleby 0-0 0-0 0, Dane Appleby 0-0 0-0 0, Joe Kiene 0-0 0-0 0, Gabe Meaney 1-1 1-4 4, Ashton Gibbs 0-1 0-0 0, Daniel Britt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-26 1-7 30.
NORTH LINN (63): Cade Haughenbury 3-4 1-1 7, Tate Haughenbury 5-8 1-2 11, Dylan Kurt 6-16 1-4 16, Ben Wheatley 4-8 0-0 8, Austin Hilmer 4-11 1-2 10, Mason Bechen 2-3 2-3 6, Gunner Vanourney 0-1 0-0 0, Ty Pflughaupt 1-3 3-4 5, Tate Collum 0-1 0-0 0, Trey McEnany 0-1 0-0 0, Grant Rechkemmer 0-0 0-0 0, Cole Griffith 0-0 0-0 0, Drew Ries 0-0 0-0 0, Jake Van Etten 0-0 0-0 0, Breckyn Betenbender 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-56 9-16 63.
Halftime - North Linn 40, Janesville 12. 3-point goals - Janesville 5-15 (Hoodjer 1-1, Gergen 1-5, Eastman 2-4, Sherburne 0-1, Dodd 0-2, Meaney 1-1, Gibbs 0-1), North Linn 4-15 (Kurt 3-7, Wheatley 0-1, Hilmer 1-6, Pflughaupt 0-1). Rebounds - Janesville 22 (Sherburne 7), North Linn 31 (T. Haughenbury 9). Total fouls - Janesville 15, North Linn 8. Fouled out - None. Turnovers - Janesville 27, North Linn 9.
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