CEDAR RAPIDS — A boys’ basketball program that has won 88 of its last 92 games, the vast majority by very lopsided scores, shouldn’t have to prove itself.
But here we were Saturday afternoon at the U.S. Cellular Center. The North Linn Lynx feeling like they had to do just that.
“It’s good to play 2A competition to prove to newspapers, anybody else in the media that we’re legit,” all-state guard Jake Hilmer said, after his Class 2A second-ranked Lynx flew past Aplington-Parkersburg, 83-59, as part of the Wells Fargo Advisors Shootout at the U.S. Cellular Center. “I think sometimes people look at our scores and think that’s just because our conference isn’t good. It’s really not that. It’s that we’ve just played really well the last couple of years in the bigger games. I thought this was a chance not only to represent ourselves, but our conference as a whole.”
North Linn is legit, a 12-0 record and a 34.7-point average margin of victory. But it plays in the all-1A Tri-Rivers Conference.
After back-to-back 1A state tournament appearances, including a runner-up finish last season, the Lynx have bumped up a class. They have just two games this regular season against 2A opponents, with this being the first.
The other is the finale in February against defending 2A champ Cascade.
“We definitely, definitely needed this (game),” North Linn Co-Coach Mike Hilmer said. “We talked all week about not worrying about the next opponent, not worrying about the next opponent. Then we talked last night about how, hey, we got rid of two (nonconference) games that we almost would have won for sure (in order) to play Aplington and Cascade. It’s not about wins and losses, it’s about going and competing against the caliber of teams you’re going to have to play in the tournament.”
This was a legit win for North Linn as Aplington-Parkersburg (10-3) was a third-place finisher in 2A at last year’s state tourney. Jake Hilmer did Jake Hilmer things, scoring 24 points and dishing out 13 assists.
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He is the state’s career leader in assists and steals, and, barring injury, also will become a 2,000-point scorer. David Seber and Trevor Boge added 20 points each for NL, a Seber 3-pointer right before the third-quarter buzzer extending North Linn’s lead to 66-53.
Guard Aaron Bartels led A-P with 17 points, including five treys. Coach Hilmer pointed to his team outrebounding a larger opponent as one of the keys to victory here.
“We did a really good job of boxing out, and that was one of the main things we needed to work on as we come together as a team,” Boge said.
“This was really good for us,” Coach Hilmer said. “If we’d have lost, I would have felt the same way.”
AT U.S. CELLULAR CENTER
APLINGTON-PARKERSBURG (59): Sam Bachman 2-4 0-0 6, Carter Cuvelier 5-13 1-2 11, Junior Bodden 5-5 0-0 10, Aaron Bartels 6-13 0-0 17, Aaron Price 2-10 2-2 7, Joshua Haan 2-3 2-2 6, Riley Oberhauser 0-3 0-0 0, Cameron Luhring 0-0 0-0 0, Owen Thomas 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 23-55 5-6 59.
NORTH LINN (83): Trevor Boge 8-13 2-2 20, Carter Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, David Seber 8-14 0-1 20, Austin Miller 4-6 2-5 10, Jake Hilmer 8-16 7-7 24, Austin Hilmer 3-4 0-0 7, Josh Smith 1-10-0 2, Cade Haugenbury 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-55 9-15 83.
Halftime — North Linn 49, Aplington-Parkersburg 39. 3-point goals — Aplington-Parkersburg 8-26 (Bachman 2-4, Cuvelier 0-3, Bartels 5-10, Price 1-8, Thomas 0-1), North Linn 8-20 (Boge 2-4, Seber 4-8, Miller 0-1, J. Hilmer 1-5, A. Hilmer 1-2). Rebounds — Aplington-Parkersburg 28 (Cuvelier 7), North Linn 32 (Boge 9). Total fouls — Aplington-Parkersburg 20, North Linn 10. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — Aplington-Parkersburg 10, North Linn 7.
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