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Linn-Mar scores last to spurn Senior

March 8, 2012
By TRAVIS HINES - T-R Sports Writer (thines@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

DES MOINES - Marcus Paige shouldered the whole load to get his team into the Iowa High School State Boys Basketball Tournament.

He shared some of it to keep them in there.

Paige delivered a difficult half-court pass to teammate Andy Henry under the basket for the game-winning bucket in Linn-Mar's thrilling 51-50 victory over Dubuque Senior on Wednesday night.

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The defending Class 4A champion Lions (20-4) didn't lead this night until nearly the game's last minute and needed to emerge from a wild final 30 seconds to advance to Friday's semifinals against undefeated Iowa City West (24-0) at 3:15 p.m. inside Wells Fargo Arena.

Paige gave Linn-Mar its first advantage of the game with his 15-foot jumper 1:05 to play, and the Rams (18-6) were unable to match the bucket on their next possession.

The Lions, however, weren't able to grow their lead thanks to a missed front-end of a one-and-one, and Dubuque Senior's Josh Weeber delivered a cold-blooded 3-pointer from the top of the key out of a timeout to put the Rams up, 50-49, with 17 seconds to play.

Instead of calling a timeout to draw up a final play, Lions head coach Chris Robertson decided to let his University of North Carolina-bound senior improvise.

"We knew we had a timeout, but when you've got the greatest player in the state with the ball in his hands, down one," Robertson said, "I guess as a coach, we're going to live and die by it."

Paige raced just across halfcourt, leapt into the air and fired the ball to an awaiting Henry, who put the ball off the glass and through the net.

Fact Box

CLASS 3A

Tuesday, March 6

Sioux City Heelan 35, MOC-Floyd Valley 33

W. Dubuque 58, Davenport Assumption 46

Grinnell 60, Waverly-Shell Rock 55

Wednesday, March 7

Mount Pleasant 62, ADM 32

Semifinals

Thursday, March 8

No. 8 Bishop Heelan (18-6) vs. No. 4 Western Dubuque (23-2), 6:35 p.m.

No. 7 Grinnell (21-4) vs. No. 3 Mount Pleasant (24-1), 8:15 p.m.

CLASS 4A

Wednesday, March 7

Sioux City East 66, WDM Valley 60

Ankeny 58, Cedar Rapids Jefferson 26

Linn-Mar 51, Dubuque Senior 50

Iowa City West 74, Waukee 52

Semifinals

Friday, March 9

No. 1 Ankeny (24-0) vs. No. 4 Sioux City East (20-3), 1:30 p.m.

No. 2 Iowa City West (24-0) vs. No. 3 Linn-Mar (20-4), 3:15 p.m.

"They had a couple guys waiting to double-team me when I crossed half-court and Andy was able to sneak behind them and get on the block," said Paige, who scored a game-high 23 points.

"At first I wasn't going to throw it because I wasn't sure how open he was, but then I knew, he looked like he wanted it, so you've got to trust your teammates in that situation and he came through big."

The Lions still had to survive the final 5 seconds, which saw Dubuque's Kyle Haber dribble down the left side of the floor and take a mid-range jumper that banked off the backboard and slid off the rim.

The Rams controlled the game throughout most of the three quarters, hassling the Lions on both ends of the court and forcing them to shoot 29 percent from the field in the first half.

"A lot of our shooters got good looks, and we weren't hitting," said Paige, who scored 49 points in the Lions' substate game to will them back to Wells Fargo Arena.

Senior led by as many as nine before the break and took a five-point advantage into the final 8 minutes.

And 8-3 run to start the fourth quarter by the Lions, however, knotted the game at 45 before a pair of free throws by Connor Grant put the Rams back up a pair.

The Lions answered with two from the stripe of their own and then Paige's jumper to go up 49-47.

Weeber then stepped in and fired a jumper right in the face of Henry to put the Rams temporarily on top.

"I needed to make a big play with the ball in my hands," said Weeber, who had a double-double of 15 points and 11 boards.

"I wanted to make that play."

The Lions needed Paige's scoring most of the night, with the rest of the team going 3-of-14 (21 percent) in the first half, but it was his passing that ultimately put them within a game of defending their title.

"I give him a lot of credit because a lot of guys would have dribbled down and taken their own shot," Robertson said, "and he found a teammate wide open and what a huge pass, what a huge finish for Andy and just an unbelievable finish to the game."

CLASS 4A

Ankeny 58, Cedar Rapids Jefferson 26

Top-seeded Ankeny shut down Cedar Rapids Jefferson to set up a Friday semifinal contest with Sioux City East.

The Hawks (24-0) held the J-Hawks (15-9) to only one field goal in the first half. Jefferson shot 1-for-12 from the field in the first half, but went 10-for-11 from the foul line to stay within 27-13 at the break.

Ted Friedman finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds for Ankeny. Bryan Sumner added 12 points and Cory Myers 11.

The J-Hawks ended the game 1-for-15 from 3-point range.

Iowa City West 74, Waukee 52

Six players scored at least nine points apiece as second-seeded Iowa City West remained unbeaten (24-0).

The Trojans broke an 11-all tie by outscoring Waukee 17-10 in the second quarter, netting the first eight points of the period, and then put 26 points on the Warriors in the third to pull away for good.

Jeremy Morgan led West with 15 points, and Dondre Alexander added 13 points and six assists.

Cole Pederson and Jordan Stotts paced seventh-seeded Waukee (17-7) with 14 points apiece.

CLASS 3A

Mount Pleasant 62, ADM 32

Nick Lyon had 17 points and 14 rebounds as No. 3-seed Mount Pleasant (24-1) overpowered No. 6 ADM (21-4).

The Panthers shot 54 percent from the field for the contest, jumped out to a 29-11 halftime advantage and never looked back.

 
 

 

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