Diamonds and Ice

Linn-Mar/Cedar Falls game story

@xReporter default head:
@byline1:<aic:cstyle name =”[No character style]”/>By Jeff Johnson
@byline2:The Gazette
@Body copy justified:DES MOINES [–] Not even the suspension of arguably its best player could stop Linn-Mar[‘]s boys[‘] basketball team from doing what Linn-Mar always does: win its state tournament opener.
The Lions made it 7-for-7 all-time in the quarterfinals with an impressive 64-41 smackdown of Cedar Falls last night at Wells Fargo Arena. That perfect mark includes quarters victories the past six years.
Not only did this blowout come against a team Linn-Mar (22-2) lost to by 11 points at the end of the regular season, it came despite the absence of Nate Hutcheson. The versatile 6-foot-7 senior forward and Western Michigan signee was suspended by the school Tuesday for the rest of the season after it was discovered he hosted a party last weekend that involved alcohol.
[“]Our team really responded well to all the adversity,[“”] said Linn-Mar[‘]s Zach Bohannon, who led the way with 17 points and nine rebounds.
 [“]It[‘]s been tough, but I[‘]m just proud of the guys,[“”] said Linn-Mar Coach Chris Robertson, whose team plays Sioux City East-Bettendorf in the semifinals Friday afternoon at 3:15. [“]Everybody stepped up, everybody contributed, and that was the mindset we had. We knew we had a strong team, and we have a deep team, and we were going to be ready tonight.[“”]
Linn-Mar shot a scorching 57.8 percent from the field, a tribute mostly to great ball movement. The Lions [–] who had 17 assists, five from freshman point guard Marcus Paige and four from Bohannon [–] torched the nets at a 66.7-percent clip in the first half, building a 35-22 halftime lead.
That included 5 of 9 makes from 3-point land, four courtesy of shooting guard Drew Crawford. All 14 of his points came in the first half.
[“]We played in the U.S. Cellular Center a couple of times this year, played up at UNI last year,[“”] Crawford said. [“]So getting to play in the big environments before really helps a lot with your shooting.[“”]
[“]Our team chemistry was really (good) tonight from start to finish,[“”] said Bohannon.
Linn-Mar[‘]s strong defense played a role in the outcome, too. Cedar Falls (16-9) was limited to 37-percent field-goal shooting, 28 in the second half.
Only fine freshman point guard James Harrington got away at all, leading CF with 16 points. Andrew Wirth added 12.
[“]We came out a little slow,[“”] Wirth said. [“]We knew they would come out with a lot of energy considering they were a man down. We didn[‘]t match that.[“”]
[“]I think playing Cedar Falls the last game of the (regular) season, right before substate, was a key thing,[“”] said Bohannon. [“]We knew they were going to be a great team, they were playing great basketball at this time. We knew we had to be focused to get the win.[“”]
Focused they were, despite a difficult last couple of days.
[“]I[‘]m just really proud of our guys,[“”] Robertson said. [“]I thought we were really prepared tonight. I was proud of the way they played and am happy to have two more (games).[“”]


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