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The Gazette KCRG
Posted February 26, 2012
Big 3rd quarter lifts Lisbon past North-Linn, to 1st state basketball tournament

MANCHESTER — Believe it or not, Ben Knake never got into wrestling. You go to Lisbon, that’s supposed to be in your DNA.

“I did it one year. Seventh grade,” Knake said. “But I think I made a smart choice.”

That smart choice was basketball, of all things, and he plays it very well. As do his teammates.

You can’t say this is strictly a wrestling school anymore. Not after that state football championship in November and Saturday night’s 57-44 win over ninth-ranked North-Linn in a Class 1A substate final.

The Lions are headed to the boys’ state basketball tournament for the first time, and this is no fluke. Lisbon (20-6) will play unbeaten Storm Lake St. Mary’s (25-0) in a quarterfinal Monday, March 5 – a seventh-seed against a No. 2.

“When we got to the (football) semifinals and were going to the UNI-Dome, we were ecstatic,” said Lisbon’s Jordan Bahl. “Right now, with our basketball program … We’re not really known as a basketball (school), and we want to bring that out. There’s no better way to do that than to make it to state.”

“When I took this job five years ago, I heard one of two things from everybody,” said Coach Matt Haddy. “It was either ‘Are you crazy?’ or ‘Lisbon has a basketball program?’”

The Lions set a school record for wins this season and won a share of the Big East Conference for the first time, their first conference championship of any kind since 1975. This was their first substate final, and they rocked it, making 8 of 14 shots from the field in a 21-point third quarter that turned a tied game at half into an 11-point Lisbon lead.

Conner Smock’s corner 3-pointer at the buzzer seemed to all but put away North-Linn (23-3). Lisbon’s lead grew to as many as 15 points in the fourth.

“They hit some 3-pointers and got the momentum,” said North-Linn center Jake Oswald, who led his team with 16 points and nine rebounds. The Lynx had a great season, finishing second in the Tri-Rivers Conference and coming up one fateful victory shy of a school record.

“I thought our movement offensively was better,” Haddy said. “I thought Ben kind of took over there a little bit. When he can get to the rim, that just opens so much more up for our shooters and everything. The kids hit some big shots … Then when make shots, that brings your defensive intensity up. I thought we were just outstanding defensively tonight. I really thought we were. I thought we made everything they did difficult.”

Knake is just a wonderful point guard, able to wiggle his way into the lane for shots, hit treys or create for his teammates. He had a game-high 23 points, with Bahl adding 10.

“You know, it’s not quite like football, but it still means a lot to all the guys,” said Knake, Lisbon’s quarterback in football, too. “We’re the first team to go to the state tournament, the first team to be in a substate final. That’s nice.”

Here’s the game boxscore and a short video of the closing seconds:

AT MANCHESTER

LISBON (57): Spencer Ellerbach 1-2 0-0 3, Sean Dougherty 1-7 4-4 7, Jake Hendricks 3-5 0-0 6, Jordan Bahl 2-3 5-5 10, Ben Knake 7-14 6-10 23, Austin Springsteen 2-5 0-0 5, Conner Smock 1-2 0-0 3, Nathan Budde 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-39 15-19 57.

NORTH-LINN (44): Nick Price 0-1 0-0 0, Jake Oswald 6-13 4-5 16, Nicholas Aberle 4-11 1-1 10, Hunter Pflughaupt 1-6 3-4 6, Justin Supple 1-6 0-0 2, Cody Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Jonathon Wolff 1-2 2-2 4, Korbi Burkey 3-5 0-0 6, Kyler Burkey 0-3 0-0 0, Tyler Cherry 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-48 10-12 44.

Halftime — Lisbon 16, North-Linn 16. 3-point goals — Lisbon 8-20 (Ellerbach 1-2, Dougherty 1-6, Bahl 1-2, Knake 3-6, Springsteen 1-2, Smock 1-2), North-Linn 2-12 (Price 0-1, Oswald 0-1, Aberle 1-2, Pflughaupt 1-3, Supple 0-2, Wolff 0-1, Ky. Burkey 0-2). Rebounds — Lisbon 26 (Hendricks 7), North-Linn 30 (Oswald 9). Total fouls — Lisbon 16, North-Linn 21. Fouled out — Price, Supple. Turnovers — Lisbon 14, North-Linn 15.

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