Prep Basketball

North Linn rolls into Class 1A substate finals with 85-31 win over Lisbon

CEDAR RAPIDS — Bob Hilmer is 77 years old and in his 55th season on a prep basketball sideline. But he’s all up in a lot of these new-fangled metrics.

Like this thing called offensive efficiency. It measures how many points a team averages per possession.

Obviously, the more, the better.

“One is a good number,” the North Linn co-head coach said Thursday night, after his team squashed Lisbon, 85-31, in a Class 1A district final at Cedar Rapids Kennedy. “Now don’t quote me on this, but I seem to remember that not too long ago, in the college game, the leading team in the nation averaged a little over one.”

He’s right on. UCLA averaged a national-best 1.189 points per possession last season, with Villanova at the head of the class this season at 1.203.

What’s North Linn averaging right now?

“One point four,” Bob Hilmer said, with a smile.

That’s crazy good, though everything about the Lynx is crazy good. They’re 25-0 and on the verge of a return trip to the state tournament.

Their maniacal pace helps them average 93 points per game, easily a state record. They have beaten opponents by an average of 60 (yes, 60!) and have not played a game all season that hasn’t had a continuous clock.

“When you’re playing other teams, they’re like ‘Jesus, how do you guys run so much?’” said North Linn’s Ryan Miller. “But we practice like that every day. Up, down, up, down, up, down every day, because we know we have to be in shape to do this kind of stuff. It almost seems effortless when you’re running up and down the court, getting steals, playing fast. It’s so fun to play.”


Keep in mind this was no slouch opponent North Linn was playing, as Lisbon came with a 19-4 record. Sure, NL won the regular-season encounter, 85-36, but the Lions did not have leading scorers Bailey Arwine and Brett Givens in that game.

You thought this one could be quite a tussle. But the Lynx scored 20 of the first 22 points and were up at halftime, 49-12.

Jake Hilmer led North Linn with 24 points, with Miller adding 15, David Seber and Trevor Boge 12 each. Arwine and Givens had eight apiece for Lisbon, coming in averaging 22.0 and 19.6, respectively.

“I thought we played very good tonight, thought we were locked in,” said Co-Coach Mike Hilmer, Jake’s dad and Bob’s son. “I thought our defense was as good as it has been all year.”

North Linn gets Gladbrook-Reinbeck (19-6) in a Saturday night substate final at Vinton. That’s the same G-R that handed the Lynx their only loss last season, in the semifinals of the state tournament.

The Rebels don’t have Joe Smoldt (Iowa’s Mr. Basketball) this time around, though they are a perennial power with great athletes who play in a 2A-laden conference.

“We knew we didn’t shoot well, didn’t play well, that we should have won that game last year,” Miller said. “So it’s been sitting back there, it’s been boiling over for us. When we saw we were in their substate, we were like ‘OK, we’re going to get after it.’ It’s almost like redemption.”



LISBON (31): Wes Benyshek 0-0 1-2 1, Bailey Arwine 3-10 2-2 8, Hagen Waters 1-9 0-0 2, Brett Givens 4-13 0-0 8, Payton Bahl 2-6 0-0 4, Conner Miller 2-3 0-0 4, Keegan Brayton 0-0 0-0 0, Evan Clausen 0-0 0-0 0, Hunter Nemyer 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 13-42 3-4 31.


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NORTH LINN (85): Trevor Boge 6-11 0-0 12, Adam Waskow 4-5 0-0 8, David Seber 5-12 0-0 12, Ryan Miller 5-12 2-4 15, Jake Hilmer 10-15 3-4 24, Carter Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Brad Pflughaupt 0-3 0-0 0, Sean Boardman 1-6 0-0 2, Austin Miller 2-2 2-4 6, Brennan Becker 1-1 0-0 2, Josh Smith 1-4 2-2 4. Totals 35-71 9-14 85.

Halftime — North Linn 49, Lisbon 12. 3-point goals — Lisbon 2-18 (Arwine 0-4, Watgers 0-5, Givens 2-6, Bahl 0-2, Miller 0-1), North Linn 6-24 (Boge 0-1, Seber 2-9, R. Miller 3-6, Hilmer 1-3, Pflughaupt 0-2, Boardman 0-2). Rebounds — Lisbon 26 (Arwine 7), North Linn 41 (Waskow, Hilmer 6). Total fouls — Lisbon 8, North Linn 9. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — Lisbon 26, North Linn 5.

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