Prep Basketball

North Linn: 50 consecutive wins, 4 consecutive boys' state basketball trips

Lynx beat Forest City, 69-42, in Class 2A substate final

North Linn's Austin Miller celebrates during a game against Springville at North Linn High School in Troy Mills, Iowa, o
North Linn's Austin Miller celebrates during a game against Springville at North Linn High School in Troy Mills, Iowa, on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR FALLS — Now that it’s done, true confessions come out. And it’s not really done for North Linn’s boys’ basketball team.

The Lynx are going back to the state tourmament for a fourth consecutive year. Even though one of their co-head coaches didn’t think it was possible.

“I would have never guessed in a million years we’d still be doing this again. No way,” Mike Hilmer said, after his second-ranked Lynx routed Forest City, 69-42, Saturday night in a Class 2A substate final. “Not at the beginning of the year, no. I didn’t think we’d win the conference at the beginning of the year. Seriously.”

But they did win the Tri-Rivers West again, swept through the regular season, districts and substate. North Linn is 24-0, has won an even 50 games in a row and is 105-2 in its last 107 games.

That is just plain stupid good.

“We had a bunch of young guys, and we worked hard to get here,” said North Linn’s Dylan Kurt. “It’s just crazy. I’m still in shock right now. So excited.”

Kurt is one of four sophomore starters for this team. He had 16 points, including four 3-pointers that helped North Linn built a 14-point halftime lead.

Another one of those sophomores is point guard Austin Hilmer, and he and senior forward Austin Miller were the only two guys to play important minutes on last year’s state championship team. Hilmer played another terrific floor game and finished with 13 points.


Miller had another double-double of 22 points and 13 rebounds. That’s pretty much his season average.

North Linn shot 64 percent from the field, including hitting 7 of 13 from beyond the arc.

“I knew we could do it,” Austin Hilmer said. “I think everyone on our team knew we could do it. We knew it wouldn’t be as easy, maybe, as in the past. But I think all of us knew we could do it. We went to work in the summer and got better.”

“Our sophomores aren’t smart enough to realize where they’re at, I guess,” Mike Hilmer cracked. “Austin Miller has kind of carried us all season as a senior. A lot of people forget about Austin Hilmer, but he’s carried us as a point guard all the way throughout this tournament. Without him, we’d be in big trouble. Then the support cast. Everybody comes in and does their job. Nobody complains who scores, nobody complains if you get on them about a mistake. They do everything we ask them to do.”

Coaches seed the state tournament, so North Linn’s quarterfinal opponent and game time won’t be determined until next week. It’s a great 2A field, by the way, with likely eighth seed Pella Christian a perennial power that plays in the 3A-4A Little Hawkeye Conference.


NORTH LINN (69): Austin Miller 8-10 6-7 22, Cade Haughenbury 1-1 2-4 4, Dylan Kurt 6-7 0-0 16, Austin Hilmer 5-10 2-2 13, Gunner Vanourney 1-3 0-0 3, Kaleb Kurt 0-1 4-4 4, Tate Haughenbury 0-2 1-2 1, Ben Wheatley 2-2 0-0 5, Parker Bechen 0-0 0-0 0, Jake Kurt 0-0 0-0 0, Tate Collum 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-36 15-19 69.

FOREST CITY (42): Riley Helgeson 5-10 2-3 12, Carter Bruckhoff 2-10 0-0 4, Josh Olson 2-7 0-0 6, Noah Miller 4-7 4-6 13, Brandon Leber 0-3 0-0 0, Andrew Snyder 1-2 0-0 2, Andy Heidemann 1-4 0-0 2, Calvin Aberg 0-0 0-1 0, Ben Marmaras 0-0 0-0 0, Truman Knudtson 0-0 0-0 0, Brock Sobek 0-0 0-0 0, Brady Anderson 0-0 0-0 0, Devin Alamsya 0-1 0-0 0, Michael Olson 0-1 0-0 0, Dylan West 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 16-46 6-10 42.

Halftime — North Linn 34, Forest City 20. 3-point goals — North Linn 7-13 (Miller 0-1, D. Kurt 4-5, Hilmer 1-3, Vanourney 1-2, T.Haughenbury 0-1, Wheatley 1-1). Rebounds — North Linn 29 (Miller 13), Forest City 18 (Helgeson 6). Total fouls — North Linn 11, Forest City 26. Fouled out — Helgeson, Miller. Turnovers — North Linn 14, Forest City 13.

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