MARION, Iowa How 'bout the Savvy Six?
That's what you can call Cedar Rapids Jefferson after its 46-44 win over Linn-Mar last night. A half-dozen guys played for the J-Hawks, with sophomore Lucas Larson the only guy off the bench and Layne Sullivan the only guy bigger than 6-foot-2.
And he's a mere 6-3.
"Very proud of our guys," said Jefferson Coach Stu Ordman. "We looked like little mosquitoes buzzing around all their big guys. But you can't measure heart."
Jeff (3-0) had plenty of that, for sure, leading the entire way, by 12 at halftime and by eight after three quarters. It got hairy and scary for the J-Hawks down the stretch, as Linn-Mar (1-2) got within a point a couple of times and had back-to-back possessions in the final 16 seconds that could have helped it tie or go ahead.
But the Savvy Six forced a pair of turnovers to perservere for Jefferson's first win over Linn-Mar in nine years. There was a reason Coach Stu Ordman had the old first pump going as he high-fived members of the J-Hawk student section postgame.
"(The seniors), we haven't beaten them since eighth grade," said Jeff forward Ky Kramer, the game's high scorer with 15 points. "It's only our second time beating Linn-Mar, so it feels great,"
Linn-Mar quick-shot way too much against Jeff's 2-3 zone, hoisting more than half of its field-goal attempts (24 of 46) from 3-point territory and ignoring a significant height advantage inside. They're lessons a team with a young backcourt sometimes have to learn.
Matt Lassen had 11 points to lead the Lions, though he fouled out midway through the fourth quarter. Linn-Mar played again without starting forward Jimmy Roth (suspension) and without head coach Chris Robertson, who had to sit this one out after being ejected from his team's previous game last week against Bettendorf.
"We dug a hole, no doubt about that," said acting head coach Joe Nietert. "Right off the bat, we settled for jumpers. We had some good looks, but didn't show the patience we need."
Jefferson made only two field goals in the second half and took only nine shots from the field, thanks for 11 second-half turnovers and a slew of free-throw attempts. Jacob Olson added 13 points for the J-Hawks and Creighton Robinson 10.
"Just hard work, that's how we've done it at Jefferson for years," Kramer said. "Last year, too, we didn't have any height. We just play hard. That's what Coach tells us to do, and that's what he expects us to do."