Prep Basketball

North Linn is bloodied but not beaten in boys' state basketball quarterfinals

Lynx roll past Des Moines Christian in Class 2A quarterfinals, 68-45

DES MOINES — Sources have indicated that North Linn’s boys’ basketball team has issued a request with the Iowa High School Athletic Association.

It wants the American Red Cross on hand for its game Wednesday night at the state tournament. Just in case.

OK, that’s fake news. But the Lynx might need some of the Red Cross’ donated blood if this was any indication.

They lost a lot of it in a 68-45 Class 2A quarterfinal win Tuesday morning over Des Moines Christian at Wells Fargo Arena.

Jake Hilmer had both knees bandaged during the game because they were bleeding due to court burns. He also had a cut on his finger and a developing bruise on his right biceps.

But that was nothing compared to poor Austin Miller. The junior forward took a wayward elbow from a DMC player as they jostled in the lane for what turned out to be a made free throw in the second quarter.

Miller laid motionless on his stomach on the court for an eerie minute or two, blood pouring from his nose. He was taken back to the locker room for repairs, returned to his team’s sideline later in the quarter and went right back into the game.

Tough kid.

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“Miller got smoked on that one,” said North Linn’s Trevor Boge. “I don’t know how that wasn’t a foul.”

“They were a physical team,” Hilmer said. “A lot of football players on that side. They play hard. It’s not that they play dirty, it’s that they play physical. That’s good for us. We’ve got to ice it up, enjoy this one for 45 minutes and get ready and focused back up for the one tomorrow.”

The one Wednesday for the top-ranked, top-seeded Lynx (24-0) is against fourth-seeded Van Meter (22-2) at 8:15. Van Meter, which has a 6-foot-9 center, won its quarterfinal Monday night, while North Linn will be playing a second straight day.

“It’s going to be tough,” said North Linn Co-Coach Mike Hilmer. “We’re going to have to face some height that we haven’t seen all year long in Van Meter. We’re going to have to get the tempo going there, too. With the short turnaround, the three games, hopefully with all the snow days and piling games on top of each other (lately), we’re kind of used to that. We are going to have to keep our legs fresh as best we can. Hopefully if we can get the tempo going like we did this game, we’ll have a good shot.”

North Linn’s trapping press turned over Des Moines Christian 23 times. Jake Hilmer’s three 3-pointers (all from beyond the NBA line) helped the Lynx get out early and never look back.

He finished with 34 points.

“I watch too much TV,” he said, when told he could have stepped in a couple of feet on some of his long jumpers. “I woke up this morning feeling pretty good, felt good in warmups. When they’re sagging off you, it’s almost like you’re playing ‘PIG’ with your friends. You can just kind of fling it up there. You have all the space in the world. Once you hit one, you’re kind of in a rhythm. You hit two, you are really in rhythm. I was willing to keep firing if they were going to let me.”

David Seber added 10 points and Trevor Boge nine for North Linn, which led at the half, 33-14. Justin Groen (14 points) was the only who provided much offense for Des Moines Christian (17-7), which scored just two second-quarter points.

“Today, our job was to pressure them and then sag off in the 2-3 (zone) a little,” Seber said. “We watched their film, studied it and knew what they could do and what they couldn’t.”

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“Trevor Boge, David Seber, Carter Johnson, Austin Miller, you can down the whole line. They competed their tails off,” Jake Hilmer said. “It was five guys rotating together. We got steals off our press, which we hadn’t gotten the previous couple of games. We’ve had a couple of weeks here to prepare, to kind of work on your weaknesses and kind of fine tune everything.”

AT WELLS FARGO ARENA

DES MOINES CHRISTIAN (45): Jackson Waring 1-1 0-0 2, Curran Ingram 4-12 0-0 9, Justin Groen 6-8 0-0 14, Brady Hewitt 0-2 0-0 0, Seth Juhl 2-4 3-5 8, Grant Veenstra 0-2 0-0 0, Spencer Hixson 1-1 0-1 2, Ben Loverude 3-6 0-0 8, Tristan Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Elijah Hess 1-1 0-0 2, Braden Mars 0-1 0-0 0, Andrew Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Cooper Best 0-1 0-0 0, Zach Dueker 0-0 0-0 0, Elek Richmond 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-39 3-6 45.

NORTH LINN (68): Austin Miller 2-2 1-2 5, Trevor Boge 3-6 3-8 9, Carter Johnson 1-2 1-2 3, Jake Hilmer 9-14 12-15 34, David Seber 4-8 0-0 10, Austin Hilmer 3-6 0-0 6, Gunner Vanourney 0-0 0-0 0, Parker Bechen 0-0 0-0 0, Cade Haughenbury 0-0 0-0 0, Andrew Peiffer 0-0 1-2 1, Kaleb Kurt 0-0 0-0 0, Connor Burke 0-0 0-0 0, Zach Sanderson 0-0 0-0 0, Tate Collum 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-38 18-29 68.

Halftime — North Linn 33, Des Moines Christian 14. 3-point goals — Des Moines Christian 6-16 (Groen 2-3, Hewitt 0-2, Juhl 1-3, Ingram 1-4, Loverude 2-3, Mars 0-1), North Linn 6-15 (J. Hilmer 4-6 Seber 2-5, Boge 0-2, A. Hilmer 0-2). Rebounds — Des Moines Christian 17 (Waring, Ingram, Veenstra 4), North Linn 26 (Boge 8). Total fouls — Des Moines Christian 25, North Linn 10. Fouled out — Groen. Assists — Des Moines Christian 10 (Juhl 4), North Linn 13 (J. Hilmer 6). Turnovers — Des Moines Christian 23, North Linn 16.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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