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Girls Basketball: Lynx Take Control Of Tri-Rivers With Win Over Cascade

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CASCADE, Iowa -- The lead was all but gone. Collapse was lurking around the corner.

"Yeah, I was getting a little nervous," Haley Dudley said. "But you can't let nerves get the best of you. You have to stay strong."

Class 2A fifth-ranked North Linn was super-strong early, suddenly turned shaky, then was resilient at the end in earning a 37-31 Tri-Rivers Conference girls' basketball victory over 3A No. 5 Cascade on Tuesday at Cascade High School.

The Lynx (13-0 overall, 9-0 Tri-Rivers) built a 14-point lead, watched it slip to one, then made enough plays at the end to move into the league driver's seat.

"I'm proud of the way the kids held it together," Lynx Coach Brian Wheatley said. "It would have been easy to have panicked. But the girls had the will to win."

Cascade (11-1, 7-1) scored 13 straight points to move within 28-27, and had a couple opportunities to take the lead. It was 31-29 when Nicole Miller made the play of the game, a conventional three-point play in transition to get the Lynx out of harm's way with 1:15 to go.

"I'm glad we kept our composure," said Miller, a smooth sophomore who led all scorers with 17 points. "This is a big win as far as the conference is concerned, but our goals are bigger than that at the end of the year."

Dudley added 13 points, including 11 in the first half as the Lynx shot to the lead.

North Linn's guard tandem of Dudley, Miller and Maddie Boer combined for five 3-pointers in the first half on the way to a 24-14 lead at intermission. It was 28-14 before the Cougars stormed back.

"We went to a triangle-and-two (defense) for the first time in about a decade, then we finally started making some shots," Cascade Coach Mike Sconsa said. "We just didn't finish at the end."

Cascade was within 28-23 by the end of the third quarter, then Bri Hostert converted a shot inside to make it 28-27 with 6:27 remaining.

"You could sense the crowd was ready to blow the roof off had we gotten ahead, but we didn't quite get there," Sconsa said.

North Linn post Libby Falconer didn't score a point, but corraled 11 rebounds.

Carolyn Trumm paced Cascade with 10 points. Hostert added seven.

Tuesday's game could be the last between the schools in quite some time. Last year, the state mandated conference realignment. North Linn will stay in the Tri-Rivers; Cascade will move to the River Valley Conference.

And the teams don't play again this season, which definitely gives the Lynx the inside track for their first league crown since 1999.

"Playing teams like Cascade get us ready for the bigger games at the end of the year," Dudley said.

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