Prep Basketball

North Linn finds a defense that works to pull away from Waterloo Columbus

Lynx move on to Class 2A girls' basketball regional finals

North Linn head coach Brian Wheatley. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
North Linn head coach Brian Wheatley. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

TROY MILLS — It never really looked like No. 5 North Linn was in danger.

However, the scoreboard said otherwise for much of Friday’s Class 2A girls’ basketball regional semifinal game against Waterloo Columbus.

“We just talked about that in the locker room,” said Lynx Coach Brian Wheatley. “A couple times it looked like we had a chance to put them away, then you look up at the scoreboard and see we are only ahead by six points.”

The visiting Sailors finally ran out of steam in the fourth quarter as the Lynx turned up the defensive pressure and went on to post a 70-56 victory.

North Linn (20-2) will now meet No. 6 Bellevue (20-1), a 56-41 winner Friday over Wilton, in a regional final on Wednesday in Cascade at 7 p.m.

Waterloo Columbus retires at 11-12.

North Linn was concerned about Columbus post Ali Vesley entering the game and its early defense was geared to stop the Columbus senior.

“She’s a load on the inside, Wheatley said. “She’s a really good player. Percentage wise, they were shooting 21 percent as a team from 3 so our plan was to live with that.”

However, Columbus nailed 10 3-pointers on the night, including five from junior Eva Christensen to stay close.

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“This was just one of those games where we thought we had to mix up our defenses until we found something that worked,” Wheatley said. “The one thing about our team is that we never quit.”

The shift in defense paid off. Columbus cooled from beyond the arc after halftime.

The Lynx were led by freshman standouts Macy Boge and Kamryn Kurt. Boge finished with a game-high 20 points while Kurt, who stayed in after a hard fall to the floor in the second half, had 17. Chloe VanEtten also hit double figures, adding 15 points.

“Our two freshmen, Macy and Kamryn, played great tonight,” Wheatley said. “Kamryn is a warrior. She’s been sore and hurt and got bounced around quite a bit tonight, but she still had a great game.”

Vesely came alive in the second half and ended up leading the Sailors with 18 points. Christensen finished with 15.

NORTH LINN 70, WATERLOO COLUMBUS 56

Class 2A Regional Semifinal, at Troy Mills

WATERLOO COLUMBUS (56): Eva Christensen 5 0-0 15, Morgan Bradley 2 3-3 7, Reagan Lindsay 2 0-0 5, Ali Vesely 7 3-4 18, Chloe Butler 3 0-0 8, Kayla Koch 0 0-0 0, Ella Clasen 0 0-0 0, Maddy Knipp 1 0-0 3. Totals: 20 6-7 56

NORTH LINN (70): Chloe VanEtten 6 2-4 15, Macy Boge 9 0-0 20, Ellie Ware 2 0-0 4, Kamryn Kurt 5 4-6 17, Ellie Flanagan 2 0-0 6, Elise Ware 0 0-0 0, Ella Ries 2 1-2 5, Maddie Stepanek 1 0-0 3. Totals: 27 7-12 70.

Halftime: North Linn 33, Waterloo Columbus 24. 3-point goals: Waterloo Columbus 10 (Christensen 5, Butler 2, Lindsay, Vesley, Knipp), North Linn 9 (Kurt 3, Boge 2, Flanagan 2, Stepanek, VanEtten). Total fouls: Waterloo Columbus 11, North Linn 12. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: none.

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