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Iowa high school boys basketball state tournament: North Linn rolls to seventh consecutive Class 1A title game

Bellevue Marquette joins them after topping Lake Mills
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DES MOINES, IOWA - North Linn continues to run through the Class 1A state tournament field. 

The Lynx punched their seventh straight ticket to the championship round here Wednesday evening inside Wells Fargo Arena, besting Winfield-Mount Union, 67-51.

Mason Bechen scored 32 points with Ty Pflughaupt adding 18 for North Linn, who will take on Bellevue Marquette Friday at 1 p.m. for its third title.

Bechen and Pflughaupt also had 11 rebounds, three assists and made five 3-pointers. Bechen went over the 1,000 career point mark on the night.

For Winfield-Mount Union, University of Iowa football signee Cam Buffington scored 12 points with seven rebounds and four assists. Jake Edwards added 17 points and seven rebounds.

Early on, Winfield-Mount Union showed no signs of being afraid of the big stage, taking an early 9-7 lead. They scored the first six points of the contest and led 8-3 with under three minutes to play in the quarter.

North Linn, though, answered in the second, building a five-point lead behind Bechen and Pfughaupt. Bechen, who nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, scored 13 points in the opening 16 minutes and Pfughaupt added nine with the Lynx defense forcing eight turnovers.

“We got that little run there in the third and it ended up being enough to keep us ahead,” North Linn head coach Mike Hilmer said. “They couldn’t quite make a run. I thought (Winfield-Mount Union) played really, really well.”

North Linn’s vaunted press defense continued to hinder Winfield-Mount Union in the third, as the Lynx raced out of the gates to a 44-32 lead.

As a team, North Linn committed just five turnovers and shot 48 percent from the field. They also received a seven-point, six-rebound performance off the bench from Drew Ries.

This past Saturday night, the North Linn girls claimed the 1A state title inside Wells Fargo Arena with a victory over Newell-Fonda.

Kannon Still stuns Lake Mills, leads Bellevue Marquette to final

Kannon Still hit the biggest shot of his career, lifting Bellevue Marquette to the Class 1A championship game.

With six seconds left, Still sank a jumper, sending Bellevue Marquette to a 59-57 victory over Lake Mills and into Friday’s finals vs. North Linn.

Spencer Roeder scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Defenders, adding 12 rebounds while sinking four 3-pointers. Still had 13 and Jacob Litterer added 10 points off the bench.

For Lake Mills, Lance Heming scored 16 points before fouling out early in the fourth. Aiden Stensrud hadd 14 and 11 rebounds with Eli Menke chipping in 12 and Jackson Gaul 11.

It was a back-and-forth opening 16 minutes, as the two combined for just seven turnovers and made seven 3-pointers. Lake Mills led by as many as eight early despite Stensrud being held to just four points.

Helming, a senior averaging 19 points per game, was hit with his fifth and final foul with just over five minutes to play and Lake Mills down by six. They would rally, tying the game with 1:21 left on the clock.

--Dana Becker | @SBLiveIA