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Iowa high school boys basketball state tournament: North Linn fights past gritty Woodbine in 1A quarterfinals

Winfield-Mt. Union, Bellevue Marquette, Lake Mills also advance

DES MOINES, IOWA - Few teams in the state could overcome the opposition featuring four players scorign in double figures while also burying 11 three-pointers. 

But North Linn is no ordinary team.

The Lynx countered with their three-headed attack led by Mason Bechen, posting a 75-59 victory over Woodbine in the Class 1A state tournament opening game on Monday.

Bechen scored a game-high 25 points with Ty Pflughaupt adding 15 and Jake Van Etten 11. North Linn, a state regular who reached the finals last year, has gone 104-4 over the last four seasons and will play Winfield-Mt. Union on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. inside Wells Fargo Arena.

Landon Blum’s 23 points led Woodbine, as he knocked down seven 3-pointers. Brody Pryor added 12, Carter Gruver 11 and Jax Pryor 10. All of Woodbine’s players who saw the court are underclassmen.

The Lynx knocked down 11 field goals and were 9 of 12 from the free-throw line in the first half, holding an eight-point advantage. After a back-and-forth third, North Linn went on a run, building its least to as many as 17 while sinking five triples of its own, including one by Bechen with just under three to play to bring the lead back to double digits.

Bechen also had nine rebounds and five assists with Pflughaupt, Breckyn Betenbender and Hayden Schmidt each recording three steals for the Lynx, who have reached the semifinal round eight consecutive years.

Winfield-Mt. Union rolls past Lynnville-Sully

A 33-point second half helped lift Winfield-Mt. Union to the 1A semifinals and a date with North Linn, as they handled Lynnville-Sully, 54-37.

Cam Buffington, a future University of Iowa Hawkeye football player who led Winfield-Mt. Union to the state eight-player championship game, scored a game-high 21 points with nine rebounds. Carter Loyd added 12 and both Jake Edwards and Abram Edwards chipped in nine.

For Lynnville-Sully, Corder Noun Harder had 14 and Mitchell Miller nine.

Winfield-Mt. Union jumped out early, taking a 7-2 lead after one before the Hawks clawed back into it, trailing by just three at the break. A six-point difference would slowly grow through the fourth, reaching as many as 23.

Up next for the Wolves will be North Linn in the final four on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

Free throws carry Defenders to semis

Thanks to a significant edge at the free-throw line, Bellevue Marquette was able to fight past Gladbrook-Reinbeck in a 1A quarterfinal Monday afternoon, 45-36.

The Defenders not only shot 23 more free throws than Gladbrook-Reinbeck, but they ended up making 17 more - including a plus-13 edge in the second half. Bellevue Marquette now gets Lake Mills on Wednesday in the semifinals at 7:15 p.m.

Eli Scott scored 14 points, going 10-for-12 at the line, with Isaac Brinker adding nine and Jacob Litterer seven off the bench.

For Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Drew Eilers had a game-high 15 rebounds with seven points and three assists, with Isaac Clark adding 11 points and five rebounds.

Lake Mills fends off conference rival

Lake Mills' Jackson Gaul dribbles the ball down the court against North Union during a Class 1A state tournament quarterfinal game at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Monday. (Photo by Ryan Timmerman)

Lake Mills' Jackson Gaul dribbles the ball down the court against North Union during a Class 1A state tournament quarterfinal game at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Monday. (Photo by Ryan Timmerman)

After seeing their double-digit lead dwindle, Lake Mills answered the call. The Bulldogs earned the final spot in the 1A semifinals by taking out conference rival North Union, 58-50.

Lake Mills will face Bellevue Marquette on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. inside Wells Fargo Arena..

During the regular season the Bulldogs and Warriors split their two meetings, with North Union taking the first, 47-43, and Lake Mills winning the rematch last month, 70-68. Overall, the Bulldogs are now 22-3 vs. the Warriors since 2008.

Lance Helming had 15 points and eight rebounds to lead Lake Mills, with Aiden Stensrud adding 11 and 15. Stensrud also had a key sequence late in the fourth with a putback after two offensive rebounds to extend the lead.

The Bulldogs used a plus-20 advantage on the glass to hold off the Warriors, overcoming 17 turnovers in the process.

For North Union, Aiden Lofstrom scored 13 and Preston Guerdet added 11.

--Dana Becker | @SBLiveIA