Prep Basketball

Linn-Mar's defensive formula works out in girls' basketball regional win over Prairie

Lions smother Prairie in a 45-31 regional quarterfinal win

CEDAR RAPIDS — The tossup never materialized. All credit to Linn-Mar.

The Lions hit better than half of their shots from long range, pestered Cedar Rapids Prairie defensively, and advanced with a 45-31 Class 5A girls’ basketball regional-quarterfinal victory Wednesday night at Prairie High School.

“Defense is our No. 1 focus,” Linn-Mar Coach Chad Tompkins said. “We don’t always shoot the ball well, so we know sometimes our offense is going to take a while to get going.

“If a team averages ‘X’ number of points, we want to hold them to 70 percent of that. If we do that, we have an opportunity to win.”

That formula held up Wednesday. Linn-Mar (10-8) held Prairie (9-10) to 68 percent of its scoring average, and advances to face No. 9 West Des Moines Dowling (9-6) in a regional semifinal, 7 p.m. Saturday at Dowling.

“We were locked in and focused on our gameplan,” Linn-Mar’s Caelynn Obleton said. “We played good defense, and we created really good shots for each other.

“We’re really happy right now.”

The contest figured to be anybody’s game, but the Lions struck for the first seven points and led the whole way.

Prairie’s only sustained run was an 8-0 surge, all by freshman Ella Nove, to pull within 18-16. It was 23-16 at halftime, then the Lions scored the first seven points of the second half for a 14-point cushion.

Linn-Mar was 7 of 13 from 3-point range.

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Zoe Kennedy, a promising Linn-Mar sophomore, led all scorers (14 points) and rebounders (six boards).

“Zoe gives us a lot of energy,” said Obleton, who added 12 points. “She creates a lot for other people.”

Kaitlyn Brunson hit all three of her 3-point tries and tallied nine points. Keegan Krejca tallied eight.

Nove paced the Hawks with nine points. Hailey Cooper scored eight.

LINN-MAR 45, CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE 31

Class 5A Regional Quarterfinal, at C.R. Prairie

LINN-MAR (45): Keegan Krejca 2-3 4-5 8, Emma Casebolt 1-3 0-0 2, Kaitlyn Brunson 3-5 0-1 9, Hallie Peak 0-2 0-0 0, Zoe Kennedy 5-10 2-2 14, Caelynn Obleton 4-6 2-2 12, Marissa Miller 0-2 0-0 0, Abby Thoms 0-2 0-0 0, Taylor Brunson 0-1 0-2 0, Sofia Bush 0-0 0-0 0, Maddy Kolek 0-0 0-0 0, Jada Healey 0-0 0-0 0, Mia Frese 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-33 8-12 45.

C.R. PRAIRIE (31): Catie Reittinger 0-0 0-0 0, Kamryn Grissel 2-7 0-2 5, Ryann Decker 0-2 0-0 0, Hailey Cooper 4-9 0-4 8, Natalie Bennett 2-10 2-2 7, Ella Nove 3-5 1-2 9, Megan Mallicoat 0-0 0-0 0, Ava Van Voorst 0-1 0-0 0, Jillian Thies 0-1 0-0 0, Evelyn Weisenstine 0-0 0-0 0, Anna Eckert 0-0 0-0 0, Chloe Heefner 0-0 0-0 0, Alexis Moses 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 12-36 3-10 31.

Halftime: Linn-Mar 23, Prairie 16. 3-point goals: Linn-Mar 7-13 (Casebolt 0-2, K. Brunson 3-3, Peak 0-1, Kennedy 2-3, Obleton 2-3, T. Brunson 0-1), Prairie 4-16 (Grissel 1-4, Decker 0-1, Cooper 0-1, Bennett 1-6, Nove 2-2, Van Voorst 0-1, Theis 0-1). Team fouls: Linn-Mar 12, Prairie 15. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Linn-Mar 27 (Kennedy 6), Prairie 20 (Bennett 5). Assists: Linn-Mar 8 (Peak 3), Prairie 5 (Nove 2). Steals: Linn-Mar 6 (Peak 2), Prairie 10 (Grissel 4). Turnovers: Linn-Mar 13, Prairie 10.

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

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