Prep Basketball

Flanagan twins shoot North Linn to the 2A girls' state basketball championship

Lynx start hot, stay hot and dismantle Osage, 66-42

DES MOINES — Sometimes, you just get a feeling.

“I felt good shooting today,” Abby Flanagan said. “It’s a feeling I get sometimes.”

There were plenty of the good vibes to go around.

The Flanagan twins combined with Ellie Ware to convert nearly 80 percent of their shots, and that outlandish accuracy carried third-ranked North Linn past No. 5 Osage, 66-42, for the Class 2A girls’ basketball championship Saturday evening at Wells Fargo Arena.

“We were really good tonight,” Lynx Coach Brian Wheatley said. “We had a different vibe this week. We were loose and having fun. There was a lot of belief in each other.”

North Linn capped its championship campaign with a 25-2 record.

This was a sharp contrast to the first two rounds here, in which the Lynx trailed going into the fourth quarter against Western Christian, then West Hancock.

The Lynx came out hot and sizzled throughout.

“They were big, but we thought we could move the ball inside and outside against them,” Grace Flanagan said.

Here’s the final damage wrought by North Linn’s scorching trio:

Grace Flanagan: 10-13 from the field (3 of 5 from 3-point range), 27 points.

 Abby Flanagan: 7 of 10 from the floor (4 of 7 from long distance), 21 points.

 Ware: 6 of 6, 12 points.

That adds up to 23 of 29 from the floor — 79.3 percent.



“We had to move the ball around, and when the time came, I had to be ready to catch a pass and look for the basket,” Ware said.

Both Flanagans were named to the 2A all-tournament team (Grace was the captain). Osage’s Dani Johnson and Sidney Brandau also were honored, along with Cascade’s Nicole McDermott (for the fourth time) and West Hancock’s Rachel Leerar.

Osage (24-3) took its first and only lead, 6-5, three minutes into the game. Each of the Flanagans hit a 3-pointer to put North Linn in front, 11-6, and the Lynx led 17-10 after a quarter.

They were just getting warmed up. North Linn hit 8 of 10 shots from the floor — including all four of its 3-point tries — in the second quarter and extended the margin to 38-18.

“They played a 2-3 zone, and I thought we could get loose a little bit,” Wheatley said. “We had good ball movement.”

How good? How about 18 assists on 25 baskets? Grace Flanagan had seven assists, Hannah Bridgewater four.

As staggering as North Linn shot — the final rate for the team was 58.1 percent, 25 of 43 — there was much more to the victory than that. The Lynx held Osage to 13 buckets in 41 tries (31.7 percent). And despite a fairly substantial size disadvantage, North Linn owned a 33-17 rebounding advantage, led by eight apiece by Grace Flanagan and Bridgewater.

Just a complete effort. A dominating effort. A championship effort.

“It’s kind of a relief,” Ware said. “I knew we could do it. But the fact that we came out and got it done ... it’s incredible.”


Osage had one brief surge, getting within 44-30 midway through the third quarter. But Ware scored inside, Grace Flanagan converted a three-point play and the twins hooked up on a backdoor bucket to make it 51-30.

The rest of the game was a coronation.

“I thought we had a chance,” Wheatley said. “If things went well, I thought we could play with anybody.”

He shrugged.

“We made shots.”

Boy, did they make shots.


2A State Championship

OSAGE (42): Mia Knudsen 1-4 0-0 3, Melanie Bye 2-5 0-0 6, Dani Johnson 3-11 3-4 10, Ellie Bobinet 1-5 2-3 5, Sidney Brandau 6-15 3-4 15, Katie Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Brooklyn Halbach 0-0 0-0 0, Ainsley Dodd 0-1 0-0 0, Victoria Schwarting 0-0 0-0 0, Samantha Brandau 0-0 0-0 0, Libby Schwamman 0-0 2-2 2, Megan Henson 0-0 1-2 1, Kaebre Sullivan 0-0 0-0 0, Ainsley Brooker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-41 11-15 42.

NORTH LINN (66): Hannah Bridgewater 1-5 0-2 2, Grace Flanagan 10-13 4-4 27, Ellie Ware 6-6 0-2 12, Abby Flanagan 7-10 3-4 21, Sydney Burke 0-3 2-2 2, Fallon Finnegan 0-1 0-0 0, Sam Rechkemmer 0-0 0-0 0, Chloe Van Etten 0-0 0-0 0, Ella Ries 0-0 0-0 0, Elise Ware 0-0 0-0 0, Olivia Rauch 0-0 0-0 0, Emma Ries 1-2 0-0 2, Emilie Hass 0-1 0-0 0, Maddie Stepanek 0-1 0-0 0, Ellie Flanagan 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-43 9-14 66.

Halftime: North Linn 38, Osage 18. 3-pointers: Osage 5-23 (Knudsen 1-3, Bye 2-4, Johnson 1-8, Bobinet 1-5, Sidney Brandau 0-2, Dodd 0-1), North Linn 7-15 (G. Flanagan 3-5, A. Flanagan 4-7, Burke 0-2, Finnegan 0-1). Team fouls: Osage 16, North Linn 12. Fouled out: Bobinet. Rebounds: Osage 17 (Sidney Brandau 7), North Linn 33 (Bridgewater, G. Flanagan 8). Assists: Osage 10 (Bobinet, Sidney Brandau 3), North Linn 18 (G. Flanagan 7). Steals: Osage 4 (Sidney Brandau 3), North Linn 7 (G. Flanagan 2). Turnovers: Osage 8. North Linn 12.

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