Prep Basketball

Gazette all-area boys' basketball 2018-19: North Linn's Hilmers awarded top honors

North Linn swept the 2019 Gazette boys' basketball all-area awards. Co-head coaches Bob and Mike Hilmer are the coaches of the year and Jake Hilmer is the player of the year. (The Gazette)
North Linn swept the 2019 Gazette boys' basketball all-area awards. Co-head coaches Bob and Mike Hilmer are the coaches of the year and Jake Hilmer is the player of the year. (The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — He loves to reminisce about the old days. Mike Hilmer would take his son, Jake, and a bunch of North Linn kids around the state to play in these youth basketball tournaments. No opponent would be too big.

In fact, it was the bigger, the better. That’s the way they preferred it.

“We’ve talked about all the games we played against the Xaviers and the Waukees, the Kingdom Hoops and all that,” Hilmer said. “We were the small 1A school. Everybody had these nice $70 jerseys, and we had the $12 practice jerseys on. People would laugh at us when we came in the gym.”

They wouldn’t laugh when they watched those kids play because they could play. They always held their own, many times more than that.

Those tournaments would be the genesis of something special when Jake Hilmer, Ryan Miller, Trevor Boge, David Seber and others got to high school. North Linn made three consecutive appearances at the state tournament, capped by last week’s Class 2A championship.

Hilmer, Boge, Seber and fellow senior Carter Johnson finished their prep careers with a 102-4 record. Half of those losses came at state, another in a district game.

“We’ve lost one regular-season game in four years, and that’s just incredible,” Mike Hilmer said. “You look back at all the time they put in, and it’s pretty rewarding.”

Hilmer has been named The Gazette’s 2019 Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year. He’ll actually share the honor with his father, Bob, who is North Linn’s co-coach.

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Bob Hilmer is the state’s all-time winningest boys’ coach. Mike is 371-234 in 27 seasons at North Linn, Estherville-Lincoln Central and Lincoln Central.

“We’re pretty lucky,” Mike Hilmer. “We’ve got a lot of special players on this team.”

One of them, Jake Hilmer, is The Gazette’s Player of the Year. That was a no-brainer, considering he was named co-winner of the Mr. Basketball award earlier this week with Bettendorf’s DJ Carton.

The other nine all-area players are Iowa City West’s Patrick McCaffery, Cedar Rapids Prairie twin brothers Keegan and Kris Murray, Central City’s Nick Reid, Montezuma’s Trey Shearer, Linn-Mar’s Trey Hutcheson, Iowa City Regina’s Masen Miller, Maquoketa’s A.J. Becker and West Delaware’s Derek Krogmann.

North Linn placed second in Class 1A last season, losing a close game in the finals to Grand View Christian. It moved up a class this season but never skipped a proverbial beat.

The Lynx rolled through the regular season at 20-0, piling up points thanks to an insane offensive pace and full-court pressure defense. North Linn scored 103 points in its first postseason game, but its final five games were much more of the lower-scoring, half-court variety.

It trailed at halftime in the district finals to a very good Dyersville Beckman team but survived, 55-43. Then it took out defending 2A champ Cascade in the substate finals.

North Linn won its first state tournament game comfortably over Des Moines Christian, beat Van Meter in the semifinals, 54-47, and Boyden-Hull in the finals, 60-41. Jake Hilmer had a team-high 20 points in the championship game, but it was a team effort, with Boge scoring 17 and keying a third-quarter rally.

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The Lynx finished perfection with five players averaging double figures in scoring: Hilmer, Seber, Boge, Austin Miller and freshman Austin Hilmer, Mike’s youngest son.

“We lost some key pieces from last year,” Jake Hilmer said. “Some guys who were really big contributors. We knew we had to have some guys step up this year if we wanted to repeat the success. Not only did we have step up into those roles and fill those guys’ shoes, but they’ve done it and taken it up a notch.”

2018-19 Gazette All-Area Boys' Basketball

A.J. Becker, 6-3, sr., Maquoketa

Helped guide Maquoketa to a renaissance season of 20-3 by averaging 19.6 points per game. Shot 43.8 percent from 3-point range, with over half of his made field goals (89 of 145) coming from beyond the arc. The guard was a first-team all-state pick by the IPSWA in Class 3A.

Jake Hilmer, 5-11, sr., North Linn

Co-winner of this year’s Mr. Basketball, with Bettendorf’s DJ Carton. Point guard led North Linn to a 102-4 record in his four-year career, including last week’s 2A state championship. Only player in state history to have over 2,000 career points, 1,000 career assists and 500 career steals. Will play basketball and baseball at Upper Iowa.

Trey Hutcheson, 6-5, sr., Linn-Mar

The 6-foot-5 forward averaged team-best 20.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game for a Linn-Mar team that lost in Class 4A substate finals to eventual state champion Cedar Falls. Three-year starter went over 1,000 points in his career. Will play D-I college basketball at Albany.

Derek Krogmann, 6-7, sr., West Delaware

The 6-7 forward capped a great career by helping WD to the 3A state tournament. Averaged a double-double of 21.3 points and 13.8 rebounds per game this season, shooting 58 percent from the field. Is West Delaware’s all-time leader in points and rebounds. Will play college ball at Northern Iowa.

Patrick McCaffery, 6-8, sr., Iowa City West

Any other year might have seen the 6-8 forward win the Mr. Basketball award. Averaged 25.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, shooting 58 percent from the field. Set a school record with 43 points in a December win over Cedar Rapids Washington. Late in the season, he became West’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing Glen Worley. Will play ball for his dad, Fran, at Iowa.

Masen Miller, 6-1, jr., Iowa City Regina

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Earned first-team all-state honors in 2A, leading the state with 99 made 3-pointers. Shot 43 percent from beyond the arc. Averaged 20.4 points per game and also led Regina (a 2A state tourney qualifier) in rebounds, assists and steals.

Keegan Murray, 6-8, sr., Cedar Rapids Prairie

Prairie had its best season in over two decades, and the 6-8 wing was a major reason for that. First-team all-state pick in 4A averaged 20.3 points and 7.2 rebounds, shooting 52 percent from the field and 87 percent from the free-throw line. Also averaged three assists a game.

Kris Murray, 6-7, sr., Cedar Rapids Prairie

The identical twin brother of Keegan produced very similar numbers to his sibling. Averaged 18.4 points and 6.3 rebounds, shooting 55 percent from the field. Also averaged two-plus blocked shots per game.

Nick Reid, 6-6, jr., Central City

Led the state in scoring, averaging 32.5 points per game. That included a 76-point outburst in a win over East Buchanan that tied him for the second-highest scoring game in state history. Led the state by a large margin in free throws attempted (307) and made (236). His 13.1 rebounding average ranked fourth in the state.

Trey Shearer, 5-10, so., Montezuma

Exquisite young point guard led the Braves to the 1A state tournament and a fourth-place finish there. Averaged 22.4 points, which ranked seventh in 1A. Also surpassed 100 assists. A first-team all-state pick.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Jake Hilmer, sr., North Linn

COACH OF THE YEAR — Mike and Bob Hilmer, North Linn

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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