Ryan Miller, Jake Hilmer give North Linn pair of 1,000-point career scorers: Boys' basketball notebook

North Linn's Ryan Miller (24) makes a basket as Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto Brady Goither (13) looks on during the first half of their 1A quarterfinal game during the Iowa High School Basketball Championships at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Monday, Mar. 6, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — You don’t have career 1,000-point scorers very often. Even in a day and age when more and more freshmen and sophomores are playing a lot of varsity basketball.

But North Linn has two of those guys on the same team.

Junior guard Jake Hilmer went over the grand mark in a season-opening win against Bellevue Marquette, joining senior guard Ryan Miller. He hit 1,000 career points last season in a Class 1A substate game.

The terrific twosome was honored with ceremonial basketballs before NL’s home opener last Friday night against East Buchanan.

“I have coached for 26 years, and I’m pretty sure, unless I’m missing somebody, those are just my second and third guys (to score 1,000),” North Linn Co-Coach Mike Hilmer said. “And they happen to be on the same squad. It’s surely unusual, I would think.”

Hilmer said he coached Tom Severson at Estherville, who is his other 1,000-point scorer. Jake Hilmer (Mike’s son) and Miller are just the third and fourth 1,000-point scorers at North Linn.

Miller leads the second-ranked Lynx with a 25.8 scoring average this season, with Hilmer a close second at 24.0. Junior guard David Seber averages 13 a game and has over 600 career points, meaning he’s got a shot at 1,000, too.

These kids are part of a golden generation of basketball players at the school. North Linn is averaging 95 points in its first three games, including scoring a school-record 111 last week in a 111-28 win over East Buchanan.

Edgewood-Colesburg (4-0) should provide a stiffer test Friday night for the Lynx. NL hosts Clayton Ridge on Saturday afternoon.

“We’ve been playing really, really well,” Mike Hilmer said. “Our full-court defense has been pretty solid. We’re facing a tough team Friday night, so it should be a good ballgame.”

North Linn went undefeated until losing in the state tournament semifinals last season, returning its entire team for 2017-18.

“The speed at which we play is something we are really focusing on,” Mike Hilmer said. “As hard as it might seem to believe, I think we’re playing a lot faster this season than we played last year. I just think everybody collectively has gotten better.”


• Tipton’s Logan Hoffman scored 41 points in his team’s season-opening 81-60 win last week over Mid-Prairie. The 6-foot-4 senior made 15 of 18 shots, including all five 3-point attempts and all six free-throw attempts. For good measure, he had a team-high 11 rebounds.

• HLV is off to a 3-1 start after finishing last season just 4-19. Sophomore Sam Gensley has led the way early, averaging 13 points and six rebounds per game.

• Iowa City West picked up a big early season win last weekend, when it went to the Twin Cities and tripped up Minneapolis DeLaSalle, 65-62. Patrick McCaffery and Seybian Sims combined for 43 points and 23 rebounds for the Trojans (2-0). DeLaSalle is six-time defending Class 3A state champion in Minnesota.

• Jesup and Union Communty played an instant classic last week, with Jesup surviving in five overtimes, 91-83. Jesup’s Joey Youngblut finished with 28 points and 20 rebounds. Union rallied from seven points down to begin the fourth quarter to force OT. The Knights were shut out, 8-0, in the fifth overtime.

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