Prep Basketball

Linn-Mar boys' basketball pulls away from Cedar Rapids Xavier

John Steffen scores 17 second-half points to lead Lions to 60-47 win

Linn-Mar's John Steffen looks to pass against Cedar Rapids Xavier last season.  (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Linn-Mar's John Steffen looks to pass against Cedar Rapids Xavier last season. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

MARION — What looked to be a potential problem at the time for Linn-Mar ended up producing a winning formula.

The Lions were leading 24-14 early in the second quarter of Friday’s game with Cedar Rapids Xavier when senior guard John Steffen came to the scorer’s table to return to the game. However, due to no dead-ball situations he never got in as the Saints scored the final eight of the half.

“I probably should have called a timeout to get him back in,” Lions Coach Chris Robertson said. “It worked out in the end because we really needed him down the stretch.”

Steffen scored 17 of his game-high 20 in the second half, 10 in the final eight minutes as Linn-Mar (2-0) broke open a tight game and went on to a convincing 60-47 win in a game that didn’t count in the Mississippi Valley Conference standings.

“I was a little nervous, but I just trusted my teammates,” Steffen said. “I wasn’t hitting shots early in the game, but you have to do things and find a way to win games.”

The Saints (2-1) took a 40-38 lead on a 3-point basket from Davis Wagner with just under six minutes to play. From that point on, it was all Lions as they outscored the visitors 22-7 the rest of the way.

“Xavier is a tough team and I knew they would be guarding my shot,” Steffen said. “I wasn’t making stuff so I knew I had to drive by and finish strong.”

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Senior Jacob Beckmann did his best to keep the Saints going. He scored eight straight to finish the first half and hit three of his six treys on the night in the third quarter to give the Saints a brief lead. He finished with a game-high 24 points.

“Beckman is a heck of a player,” Steffen said. “He really caught fire and kept them in the game.”

Will Zahradnik added 15 points while Dylan Decklever finished with 14 for Linn-Mar.

“We had a lot of tough plays tonight like guys diving after loose balls,” Robertson said. “John really stepped up in the clutch. We wanted the ball to be in his hands.”

C.R. XAVIER (47): Tre McCrary 1 1-2 1, Davis Wagner 3 0-0 7, Jake Beckmann 9 0-0 24, Nick Hansel 4 0-0 8, Jaylon Moses 1 2-2 5, Max Kaiser 0 0-0 0, Peyton Shannon 0 0-0 0, Jack Breitbach 0 0-2 0, Kevin Nelson 0 0-0 0, Jack Goldsmith 0 0-0 0, Jack Lux 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 3-5 47.

LINN-MAR (60): Will Zahradnik 7 1-2 15, Cam Guenther 1 0-2 2, Brady Klahn 2 2-2 7, Dylan Decklever 4 4-6 14, John Steffen 5 8-8 20, Carter Schminke 0 0-0 0, Jaxson Young 0 0-0 0, Jaxon Shelby 1 0-0 2, Totals 20 15-20 60.

Halftime: Linn-Mar 24, Xavier 22. 3-point goals: Xavier 8 (Beckmann 6, Moses, Wagner), Linn-Mar 5 (Steffen 2, Decklever 2, Klahn). Team fouls: Xavier 14, Linn-Mar 12. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: none.

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