CEDAR RAPIDS — Colby Dolphin earned a starting role because of his defense.
In Friday night’s Mississippi Valley Conference boys’ basketball showdown with Linn-Mar, the Kennedy sophomore got it done with his offense as well.
The 5-foot-10 guard scored a career-high 19 points, including a pair of clutch free throws in the final seconds to seal the Cougars 57-56 win at the Kennedy gym.
Dolphin did most of his offense damage in the middle two quarters and was scoreless in the fourth until going to the line with 8.5 seconds remaining.
He calmly sank both shots then harassed the Lions on the other end, leading to a blocked 3-point shot that was tipped in at the buzzer for the final margin.
“We threw Colby in the starting lineup two games ago and he’s produced some pretty nice games,” said Kennedy Coach Jon McKowen. “He earned his starting spot because of his defense and the offense is just extra.
“Colby is a good on-ball defender. He rebounds it well and he handles it well. When people helped hard on our bigs, it is really going to give him and our other guards an opportunity to shine.”
The Cougars (6-6, 3-4) needed a big night from Dolphin. They shot just 2-of-15 from beyond the arc and were just 13-of-22 from the foul line.
Still, Kennedy built a double-digit lead early only to see Linn-Mar fight back to tie the game at 42-42 late in the third quarter. The Lions (4-5, 3-4) never did regain the lead, but they continued to fight.
“You expect that when you play a team like Linn-Mar,” McKowen said. “They will always scrap and fight and never give in. It’s always a tough game when we play them.”
Senior Gavyn Lamb was superb for Linn-Mar. He scored a game-high 20 points, including a 3-point basket with 30 seconds remaining that cut the gap to one, setting the stage for Dolphin to close it out at the end.
Calab Schlaak added 15 point for the Cougars. Jackson Bowman had a strong game off the bench, finishing with nine points.
Jaxson Young and Luke Passmore added 11 apiece for Linn-Mar.
Girls: Kennedy 59, Linn-Mar 58 (OT)
After two meetings this year, you can safely say Linn-Mar and Kennedy are evenly matched.
The Cougars avenged an earlier two-point loss to the Lions with an exciting 59-58 overtime triumph on Friday night at Kennedy as Ella Cadenhead provided the winning margin with her only point of the game on a free throw with 2.4 seconds remaining in OT.
Linn-Mar (5-5, 4-4 MVC) led by 10 early in the second half, then fell behind by seven and rallied to force the extra session. They rallied over the final two minutes, forcing OT when Keegan Krecja hit two free throws with no time remaining on the clock.
Sophia Barrett led the Cougars (8-6, 6-2) with 23 points. Tori Knight added 12. Katilyn Brunson with 19 and Hallie Peak with 17 led the Lions