MANCHESTER — Trevor Boge walked around the court postgame Saturday night at West Delaware High School with a smile on his face, a hug for anyone and everyone. And a dollar in his hand.
“A bet with a teammate,” the North Linn forward said.
Apparently freshman reserve Tate Collum wagered that Boge would not be able to outscore teammate Austin Hilmer in this Class 2A substate final. The final total was Boge 11, Hilmer 5.
“He didn’t score the last game,” Collum reasoned, after the top-ranked Lynx knocked off Cascade, 59-47, to earn their third consecutive trip to the boys’ state basketball tournament.
There’s no betting on prep sports, obviously, but North Linn likely is the odds-on favorite once everyone convenes in Des Moines in a little over a week. Last year’s 1A runners-up to Grand View Christian, the Lynx (23-0) moved up a class this season but haven’t skipped a beat.
They overwhelmed everyone in a Tri-Rivers Conference that qualified three teams for state (Alburnett and Clinton Prince of Peace in 1A are the others), skated past a very good Dyersville Beckman club in the district finals and knocked off the defending 2A champion here.
“A lot of people have said the Tri-Rivers isn’t very good, so it’s nice to get three teams down to Des Moines,” Boge said.
“We watched the 2A tournament last year,” said North Linn’s Jake Hilmer. “To be honest, I don’t know if there’s a team as good as Grand View in either class ... Last year, we got second, that’s the defending champs we just beat. The fact of the matter is it doesn’t matter if it’s 1A, 2A or 3A, the top teams are really good at every level. One thing about 2A is there’s a lot more depth. We had to beat two really good teams to get there. We earned it this year. It feels really good because we definitely earned it this year.”
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North Linn averages over 90 points per game but was able to win a second straight game that was more of the half-court variety. Cascade (15-7) handled the Lynx’s pressure defense well, turning it over just 11 times.
To tell the truth, North Linn didn’t press and trap as much as it normally does, worried about Cascade all-stater Haris Hoffman. He and Reid Rausch, the only two guys with much playing experience back from last year’s title team, accounted for 34 of Cascade’s 47 points: Rausch 18 and Hoffman 16.
“We wanted to make sure that when we dropped back, Hoffman wasn’t loose,” said North Linn Co-Coach Bob Hilmer. “Of course, we wanted to force a few turnovers, but what we did was try and press just to get the pace of the game going. We wanted to try and control that a little better than we did against Beckman.”
On the other side of the coin, North Linn committed just two turnovers, an insanely low number for a team that plays at a frenetic pace. Of course, it helps to have a point guard with the abilities of Jake Hilmer.
The state’s all-time assists and steals leader had a game-high 19 points, though an uncharacteristically low four assists against Cascade’s vaunted 2-3 zone defense. Boge and Austin Miller added 11 points each.
“Two is really amazing in this game, with this much on the line,” Bob Hilmer said. “I think we only average six or seven a game. And with the way we play, that’s something. We’ve got a lot of skills, but, to me, that’s the biggest stat. We just don’t turn the ball over.”
A Rausch 3 gave Cascade the game’s first points, but North Linn picked up the next nine and never relinquished the lead. It was a six-point game at halftime and 45-32 after three quarters.
Much to its credit, Cascade was able to hang around and hang around. The Cougars saw their streak of five consecutive state tournament appearances end.
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The was the ninth straight year Cascade was in a substate final. That’s pretty incredible.
“We felt we played probably as good as we could possibly have played,” said Cascade Coach Jacob Brindle. “Really, we feel good about what we did tonight. It was an eight-point game in the fourth quarter, having a chance in the fourth was all we wanted.”
CASCADE (47): Reid Rausch 5-12 5-6 18, Haris Hoffman 7-13 0-0 16, Tom Knepper 2-2 0-1 4, Mike Trumm 1-4 0-0 3, Carter Green 3-6 0-0 6, Wil Roling 0-0 0-0 0, Logan Otting 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 18-39 5-7 47.
NORTH LINN (59): Austin Miller 3-7 5-6 11, Trevor Boge 5-9 1-2 11, Carter Johnson 1-1 1-2 3, David Seber 0-3 0-0 0, Jake Hilmer 10-17 7-12 19, Austin Hilmer 1-3 2-2 5. Totals 20-40 16-24 59.
Halftime — North Linn 30, Cascade 24. 3-point goals — Cascade 6-18 (Rausch 3-5, Hoffman 2-7, Trumm 1-4, Green 0-2), North Linn 3-9 (Boge 0-1, Seber 0-1, J. Hilmer 2-5, A. Hilmer 1-2). Rebounds — Cascade 25 (Rausch 7), North Linn 35 (Boge 7). Total fouls — Cascade 18, North Linn 10. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — Cascade 11, North Linn 2.
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