MARION — There have been many years in Chris Robertson’s ultra-successful career as head boys’ basketball coach at Linn-Mar High School where he knew who were his guys.
He knew the dudes that would play, play a lot, and score and rebound every game. Go down the list: Marcus Paige, Grant Gibbs, Trey Hutcheson, the Bohannon brothers, etc., etc., etc.
This is not one of those Lions teams. Which is why Robertson played a full 13 guys in the first half of his team’s 59-52 home win Tuesday night over Cedar Rapids Washington.
The thing was he got at least a little something out of all of them. Henry Read played for the first time and scored five points and added six rebounds.
Jayden Hill got his first minutes and hit a bucket. Good stuff to see.
“This team has a lot of parity, a lot of guys that are even,” said Robertson, whose son, Jack, was one of the 13 on the court in this one. “So we decided early that we were going to play a lot of guys. On a certain night, a guy might step up and he’ll get more minutes. On another night, it might be someone else. I thought that core group there in the second half played hard and made plays. We’re still not clean. We made dumb turnovers and fouls. But from an energy and effort standpoint, I thought it was good.”
Washington (4-2) surely will rue this loss because it was one that came because of absolutely brutal shooting from the free-throw line and past the line. The Warriors sure got to the stripe a ton, 32 attempts will win you a lot of ballgames.
But only making 15 of those 32 free throws will lose you a lot of games. Washington also was poor from beyond the arc, going just 3 for 17.
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In two-point field-goal shooting, the Warriors were a respectable 14 of 29. Quincy Underwood led Wash with 12 points, with Traijan Sain and Willie Hodges adding 11 each and Jaden Harris 10.
Wash had a 26-11 second-quarter lead after an Underwood 3, but Linn-Mar closed the gap to 31-24 by halftime. The Lions (2-2) then scored the first nine points of the second half to take their first lead, 33-31, on a Jaxson Young back-door layup.
“We just started moving the ball much better,” said Linn-Mar guard Pearson Martin. “Moving it around, worked together, get good looks for your teammates. Just try to get some shots in the flow. That helped us on D. Brought our energy.”
Linn-Mar built as much as a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter. Washington started to come back, but that free-throw nemesis came up and wouldn’t allow it to get any closer than five down the stretch.
Gavyn Lamb had 14 points and Martin 11 for Linn-Mar, which outrebounded a taller Washington team by 10, providing another difference.
“We practiced three times at the start of the season, had 18 days off, then practiced again three times and played,” Robertson said, explaining how his team had to shut down for a while because of a positive COVID-19 test, then the school went all virtual for a spell, which meant no practices. “And with a team like ours, we’ve got some seniors, but we’re still very inexperienced. So we need the practice time. But we also love playing games because that’s where you learn.”
C.R. WASHINGTON (52): Henry Clymer 1-6 2-4 4, Quincy Underwood 4-13 3-4 12, Traijan Sain 5-14 1-7 11, Jaden Harris 3-6 3-6 10, Jesse Sellers 1-4 2-2 4, Willie Hodges 3-4 4-9 11, Wyatt Cain 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-46 15-32 52.
LINN-MAR (59): Jaxson Young 4-10 0-0 9, Luke Passmore 1-4 1-2 3, Evan Martin 0-1 0-0 0, Gavyn Lamb 5-12 2-2 14, Pearson Martin 4-10 2-4 11, Cam Guenther 2-7 3-5 7, Jackson Edwards 1-4 0-0 2, Andrew Knipper 1-2 0-0 2, Jackson Severson 1-6 2-2 4, Jack Robertson 0-0 0-0 0, Ian Mindrup 0-0 0-0 0, Henry Read 2-4 0-1 5, Jayden Hill 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 22-61 10-16 59.
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Halftime – C.R. Washington 31, Linn-Mar 24. 3-point goals – C.R. Washington 3-17 (Clymer 0-2, Underwood 1-4, Sain 0-3, Harris 1-3, Sellers 0-3, Hodges 1-2), Linn-Mar 5-21 (Young 1-3, E. Martin 0-1, Lamb 2-5, P. Martin 1-3, Guenther 0-1, Edwards 0-2, Severson 0-2, Read 1-3). Rebounds – C.R. Washington 34 (Underwood 9, Clymer 8). Linn-Mar 44 (Young 9, P. Martin 7). Total fouls – C.R. Washington 17, Linn-Mar 20. Fouled out – Guenther. Turnovers – C.R. Washington 12, Linn-Mar 14.
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