Prep Basketball

Ellie Ware's 32 sends North Linn past Regina in girls' basketball regional semifinal

Lynx will face Wilton for a state berth Monday

North Linn Lynx
North Linn Lynx

TROY MILLS — Brian Wheatley has seen teams try to take away his perimeter shooters.

"But not to this extent," he said.

Ellie Ware was a joyful beneficiary.

The sophomore post scored a career-high 32 points — 22 in the first half — in leading eighth-ranked North Linn past Iowa City Regina, 50-39, in a Class 2A girls’ basketball regional semifinal Friday night at North Linn High School.

“I honestly have no idea how I scored that many,” said Ware, who made 15 of her 22 shot attempts and grabbed 10 rebounds. “Teams can’t just go out on our shooters. We’ll find another way to win.”

And Friday, Ware was the way.

“She was awesome,” said Grace Flanagan, who got untracked in the second half with 14 points after going scoreless before intermission. “They left her open, and she did what she had to do to get it done.”

The Lynx (20-1) hit the 20-win mark for the ninth consecutive season. They’ll face No. 10 Wilton (21-2) — an 85-54 victor Friday over Mediapolis — in Monday’s regional final at Cedar Rapids Prairie.

The winner advances to the state tournament.

Regina retired at 10-11. But the Regals made the Lynx sweat for more than 31 minutes.

“I’m still shaking,” Flanagan said. “It’s all adrenaline.”

Samantha Greving took an offensive rebound and converted with 4:30 to go to bring the Regals within 39-38, but that was their final field goal.

Flanagan nailed a 3-pointer with 4:02 to go, then Ware converted a putback with 1:20 remaining to make it 44-39. Flanagan made six straight free throws in the final minute.

“I knew it was going to be tough,” said Wheatley, the Lynx’s head coach. “Regina was coming off a big win (over West Branch) and was playing with a lot of confidence.

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“They really guarded our shooters tough, but (Ware) made them pay. It shows we can win different ways.”

Elly Gahan led the Regals with 16 points.

Both teams suffered from the arc. North Linn was 2 of 22 from 3-point range; Regina was 4 of 22.

NORTH LINN 50, IOWA CITY REGINA 39

Class 2A Regional Semifinal, at Troy Mills

IOWA CITY REGINA (39): Elly Gahan 5-9 6-8 16, Annie Gahan 2-12 2-2 8, Claire Gaarde 0-2 0-0 0, Kennedy Wallace 3-12 0-0 8, Samantha Greving 3-5 1-2 7, Stephanie Stenger 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-40 9-12 39.

NORTH LINN (50): Grace Flanagan 3-10 6-6 14, Ellie Ware 15-22 2-2 32, Abby Flanagan 0-4 0-0 0, Kylie Kurt 2-11 0-0 4, Sydney Burke 0-5 0-0 0, Hannah Bridgewater 0-1 0-0 0, Chloe Van Etten 0-1 0-0 0, Fallon Finnegan 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-55 8-8 50.

Halftime: North Linn 24, Regina 21. 3-point goals: Regina 4-22 (A. Gahan 2-11, Gaarde 0-2, Wallace 2-8, Greving 0-1), North Linn 2-22 (G. Flanagan 2-7, A. Flanagan 0-3, Kurt 0-7, Burke 0-4). Team fouls: Regina 12, North Linn 13. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Regina 30 (Greving 9), North Linn 33 (Ware 10). Assists: Regina 4 (Gaarde 2), North Linn 14 (A. Flanagan 4). Steals: Regina 4 (E. Gahan 2), North Linn 7 (G. Flanagan 3). Turnovers: Regina 14, North Linn 7.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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