Prep Basketball

No. 1 Maquoketa Valley edges North Linn, 44-40, moves to 16-0

Girls' basketball: Wildcats prevail despite big rebounding deficit

Ella Imler scored 16 points in Maquoketa Valley's 44-40 win over North Linn on Friday.
Ella Imler scored 16 points in Maquoketa Valley’s 44-40 win over North Linn on Friday.

TROY MILLS — It wasn’t going to be easy.

Not again. Not here.

“It never is,” Maquoketa Valley Coach Scot Moenck said.

But the Class 2A top-ranked Wildcats showed maturity, made more plays down the stretch and edged No. 4 North Linn, 44-40, in a Tri-Rivers Conference West Division girls’ basketball dandy Friday night at North Linn High School.

“We stayed calm,” Wildcats senior Ella Imler said. “We’ve practiced these situations before. We stayed calm and stayed patient when they made a run at us at the end.”

Maquoketa Valley (16-0 overall, 10-0 division) concluded a rare season sweep of the Lynx (12-2, 7-2), but it was anybody’s game midway through the fourth quarter.

The Lynx, who absorbed an 18-point loss at Delhi 20 days ago, never led. But they drew even at 35-35 when freshman Kamryn Kurt delivered a 3-pointer with 5:35 to go.

Maquoketa Valley senior Emerson Whittenbaugh, who sprained an ankle Tuesday and wasn’t cleared to play until 2 p.m., put the Wildcats back ahead with a bank shot. Then Imler nailed a 3-pointer to make it 40-35 with 4:10 to go.

“I was just confident. You have to believe for it to happen,” said Imler, who led all scorers with 16 points.

Taya Tucker made it 42-35 with a pair of free throws. The Lynx got within 42-40, then Imler clinched it with two foul shots with 0:20 left.

Tucker added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats.

North Linn’s Ellie Ware, held scoreless in the first meeting, paced the Lynx Friday with 14 points and 16 rebounds. Kurt added 13 points.

“We’re on the right trajectory,” said North Linn Coach Brian Wheatley, who led the Lynx to the 2A state championship last year. “We went nose to nose with the No. 1 team. They just made a few more plays.”

The Wildcats prevailed despite North Linn’s 38-20 rebounding advantage. They did so with exemplary ball security, committing just five turnovers.

“I’m proud of the kids,” Moenck said. “We knew it was going to be a war. It was fun to coach in a game like this. They did something, we had to adjust. And vice versa.”

In the boys’ game,1A top-ranked North Linn shook off a slow start — the Lynx trailed 9-8 after a quarter — and rolled, 75-32.

The Lynx had five players in double figures, led by Austin Hilmer with 17 points. Kaleb Kurt added 13, Ben Wheatley 12.

MAQUOKETA VALLEY 44, NORTH LINN 40

At Troy Mills

MAQUOKETA VALLEY (44): Carissa Sabers 2-2 0-0 6, Kylie Chesnut 1-2 0-0 2, Ella Imler 5-11 3-4 16, Taya Tucker 4-17 4-7 13, Emerson Whittenbaugh 3-9 0-0 7, Liz McDowell 0-1 0-0 0, Ella Mensen 0-0 0-0 0, Haley Ronnebaum 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-42 7-11 44.

NORTH LINN (40): Chloe Van Etten 1-3 0-0 2, Macy Boge 0-7 2-2 2, Ellie Ware 4-7 6-6 14, Kamryn Kurt 5-15 0-0 13, Ellie Flanagan 2-7 0-0 6, Elise Ware 0-1 0-0 0, Ella Ries 0-0 0-0 0, Maddie Stepanek 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 13-41 8-8 40.

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Halftime: Maquoketa Valley 21, North Linn 19. 3-point goals: Maquoketa Valley 7-15 (Sabers 2-2, Imler 3-7, Tucker 1-3, Whittenbaugh 1-2, McDowell 0-1), North Linn 6-24 (Van Etten 0-1, Boge 0-5, Kurt 3-10, Flanagan 2-7, Stepanek 1-1). Team fouls: Maquoketa Valley 9, North Linn 17. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Maquoketa Valley 20 (Tucker 8), North Linn 38 (Ellie Ware 16). Assists: Maquoketa Valley 11 (Whittenbaugh 6), North Linn 8 (Van Etten 3). Steals: Maquoketa Valley 7 (Tucker, Whittenbaugh 2), North Linn 4 (Elise Ware 2). Turnovers: Maquoketa Valley 5, North Linn 12.

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

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