Prep Basketball

Linn-Mar girls' basketball makes the final push, edges Cedar Rapids Washington

Lions finally find some offensive punch, and hold Warriors scoreless over the final 3:20 for 53-52 win

MARION — On the surface, a 37-percent shooting night isn’t great.

But it was better than it has been. And on this night, it was enough.

Keegan Krejca’s basket from the heart of the lane put Linn-Mar ahead with 45 seconds left, and the Lions held Cedar Rapids Washington scoreless for the final 3:20 to win Tuesday’s Mississippi Valley Conference girls’ basketball game, 53-52, at Linn-Mar High School.

“We needed that,” Linn-Mar’s Kaitlyn Brunson said. “We’re all hyped up. We wanted this one so bad.”

The Lions (2-3 overall, 2-0 MVC) entered the game shooting 29.6 percent from the floor and averaging 35.8 points per game.

“I think we’re trending in the right direction,” Lions Coach Nate Sanderson said. “And our defense, that’s way ahead of where we’ve been the last couple of seasons.”

Linn-Mar rallied from an early 11-point deficit to get within 27-24 at halftime, then it was back and forth in a second half that featured three ties and nine lead changes.

Washington (3-2, 1-1) hit four 3-pointers in the first 4:40 of the fourth quarter, three by Aerionna Thomas, the last of which put the Warriors in front, 52-47.

But they didn’t score again, and the Lions had the final push.

Hallie Peak’s drive cut the deficit to three, then Carly Printy converted a one-and-one opportunity to make it 52-51 with 1:13 left. Krejca’s bucket gave Linn-Mar the lead, then the Lions weathered two late Washington opportunities.

University of Iowa commit Hannah Stuelke missed a short jumper in traffic, then Thomas’ 3-point try rimmed out.

“We had some good looks at the end. We had good looks all night,” Washington Coach Chris James said.

Alexis Beier led the Lions with 14 points. Brunson added 12.

Washington’s Sydney Engledow (15 points) and Thomas (14) combined for nine 3-pointers. Stuelke finished with eight points and nine rebounds.

“We’re not equipped to take everything away,” Sanderson said. “But we didn’t want to let their best player beat us. Her last four catches, we had five people on top of her.”

LINN-MAR 53, CEDAR RAPIDS WASHINGTON 52

At Linn-Mar

C.R. WASHINGTON (52): Sydney Engledow 5-9 0-0 15, Jaliea Havel 3-5 0-0 7, Marek McBride 0-6 0-0 0, Markea Jackson 1-3 0-0 2, Hannah Stuelke 3-11 2-4 8, Aerionna Thomas 5-11 0-0 14, Deja Redmond 1-1 1-2 3, Orianna Cruise 1-2 1-1 3, Lucci O’Donnell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-48 4-7 52.

LINN-MAR (53): Keegan Krejca 3-10 3-4 9, Kaitlyn Brunson 5-13 0-0 12, Alexis Beier 4-8 3-3 14, Carly Printy 2-6 2-2 7, Hallie Peak 1-4 1-3 3, Emma Casebolt 1-4 1-1 4, Caelynn Obleton 1-1 0-0 2, Abigail Thoms 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 18-49 10-13 53.

Halftime: Washington 27, Linn-Mar 24. 3-point goals: Washington 10-21 (Engledow 5-7, Havel 1-1, McBride 0-3, Stuelke 0-1, Thomas 4-9), Linn-Mar 7-16 (Brunson 2-6, Beier 3-6, Printy 1-3, Casebolt 1-1). Team fouls: Washington 11, Linn-Mar 11. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Washington 33 (Stuelke 9), Linn-Mar 28 (Krejca 6). Assists: Washington 10 (Stuelke 4), Linn-Mar 7 (Brunson 3). Steals: Washington 5 (Havel 2), Linn-Mar 11 (Brunson 4). Turnovers: Washington 18, Linn-Mar 11.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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