Lynx "D" Claims Another Foe
TROY MILLS — Shooting will come, and shooting will go.
But lockdown defense, that’s a constant.
The owner of the state’s best scoring defense, Class 2A third-rated North Linn forced No. 15 Maquoketa Valley into 26 turnovers and claimed Thursday’s Tri-Rivers Conference West Division girls’ basketball showdown, 39-25, at North Linn High School.
“Our kids actually like playing defense,” said Lynx Coach Brian Wheatley. “They like to get up and get after people.
“We don’t talk about giving up ‘X’ number of points or getting a lot of steals. We really preach on staying after people and getting a lot of five- and 10-second calls.”
It was the first portion of what will likely be a three-act performance between these rivals. They meet again Tuesday at Delhi, and it’s a good bet they’ll face off in a 2A regional semifinal back here on Feb. 21.
“We knew they’d be out to beat us, and they’ll be out to beat us again,” said North Linn junior Nicole Miller, who led all scorers with 23 points. “We knew it would be one of the closer games we’ll have.”
North Linn (18-0 overall, 9-0 TRC West) hasn’t had a game decided by single digits yet this season.
Miller is one reason for that dominance. In-your-grill, full-court defense is another. The Lynx entered the game surrendering 27.0 points per game, then improved on that rate Thursday.
“They’re athletic, and they’re long,” said Maquoketa Valley Coach Scot Moenck. “But we played tentative. We played on our heels instead of our toes.”
It all started well enough for the Wildcats (15-2, 7-1), who hit their first three shots from the floor on their way to a 6-2 lead. But the Lynx stung them with a 15-1 run that ultimately was the difference in the game.
Miller tallied 10 points in that surge, and Libby Falconer added a putback at the first-quarter horn that gave the Lynx a 16-7 cushion.
It was 24-11 at halftime.
Maquoketa Valley made some headway in the third quarter, twice getting within seven points, but North Linn responded with another run — a 12-0 job — to put it away.
Eleven of the Wildcats’ turnovers were directly caused by Lynx steals (four by Maddie Boer). The rest were a variety of travels, errant passes and those 5- and 10-second calls that Wheatley treasures.
Falconer and Morgan Boer added six points apiece for the victors.
Brooke Wooten tallied eight to pace Maquoketa Valley.
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