CEDAR RAPIDS — Whenever Linn-Mar tried to get close with its long-distance shooting, Cedar Rapids Xavier had an answer.
A thorough, decisive answer.
Xavier senior Emily Jasper and junior Caitlynn Daniels each scored 10 points as the Class 4A fifth-ranked Saints closed the game with a 19-2 surge and smothered the Lions, 46-24, in a non-conference girls’ basketball game Friday night at Ron Thillen Gymnasium.
“It’s just a situation where you want to protect your home floor,” Xavier Coach Tom Lilly said. “A lot of it is just coming out and playing hard and not giving them a lot of second opportunities in terms of second and third shots. We got fortunate. The lid seemed to be on their basket.”
Linn-Mar (2-4) stayed within striking distance on a couple of occasions early in the contest. Four different Lions — freshman Alexis Beier, sophomores Keegan Krejca and Emma Casebolt and junior Molly Chmelicek — made 3-point baskets in the first half, but Xavier broke an 8-8 tie with an 8-1 burst at the end of the first quarter.
A second-half 3-pointer from junior guard Carly Printy pulled the Lions within 27-22 early in the third quarter, but it was their final points until the closing seconds of the contest.
“We knew they were going to come out and try to shoot the 3,” Jasper said. “We just tried to stay all over them and take that away from them. We knew if we could do that, we would win.”
Xavier (5-0) out-rebounded Linn-Mar by a 37-21 margin, led by Jasper and junior post Julia Shoger with seven apiece. Shroger also chipped in six points, while junior Libby Arnold added seven points and six rebounds.
Freshman Aree Beckmann posted eight points and six rebounds off the bench for Xavier, which has just one senior on its roster (Jasper).
“I’m really close with all the underclassmen, so it’s been a lot of fun to make new friendships,” Jasper said. “Starting off the season, we’re all doing amazing so I can’t wait to see what they can be at the end of the season because I know they’re all going to improve so much.”
Chmelicek and freshman Alexis Beier paced the Lions with five points apiece, while Krejca grabbed a team-high six rebounds.
Xavier visits Iowa City Regina on Saturday, while Linn-Mar hosts Cedar Rapids Prairie on Tuesday.
AT RON THILLEN GYMNASIUM
Class 4A No. 5 Cedar Rapids Xavier 46, Linn-Mar 24
LINN-MAR (24): Keegan Krejca 1 0-0 3, Macey Miller 0 1-2 1, Hallie Peak 1 0-0 2, Alexis Beier 2 0-0 5, Carly Printy 1 0-0 3, Molly Chmelicek 2 0-0 5, Emma Casebolt 1 0-0 3, Jamison Feldman 0 0-1 0, Caelynn Obleton 1 0-0 2, Totals 9 1-3 24.
C.R. XAVIER (46): Libby Arnold 3 0-0 7, Caitlynn Daniels 5 0-0 10, Emily Jasper 4 2-2 10, Aubrey Jones 2 1-2 5, Julia Shoger 2 2-2 6, Brielle Bastian 0 0-0 0, Aree Beckmann 2 3-4 8, Mary Moeder 0 0-0 0, Totals 15 8-10 46.
Halftime — Xavier, 27-17. Three-point goals — Linn-Mar 5 (Beier, Krejca, Casebolt, Chmelicek, Printy), Xavier 2 (Beckmann, Arnold). Rebounds — Linn-Mar 21 (Krejca 6), Xavier 37 (Jasper 7, Shoger 7). Fouled out — None.
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