CASCADE — North Linn is explosive. Cascade is stingy.
And Tuesday’s Tri-Rivers Conference girls basketball showdown is a prime example of contrasting tempos.
“They like to slow the game down, and we like to push the pace,” North Linn Coach Brian Wheatley said. “Whoever controls tempo is going to be at a big advantage.”
Tipoff is 6:15 p.m. at Cascade High School. And the fact that Tuesday’s game is the only meeting between the teams, that makes this all the more important.
“If you’d asked me about this five years ago when I was a little crazier, I would have said this was life and death,” Cascade Coach Mike Sconsa said. “Now, I’ll say that this is just one game on the schedule, and I don’t want the girls to get too jazzed up.
“But yeah, this is a big game.”
Class 3A fifth-ranked Cascade (11-0 overall, 7-0 Tri-Rivers) leads the state in scoring defense; the Cougars allow 25.4 points per game. Class 2A No. 5 North Linn (12-0, 8-0) ranks 10th in scoring offense at 63.5 points per game.
This will be the 13th straight year Cascade allows less than 40 points per game.
“To be honest, I wish I knew their secret,” Wheatley said. “They’re so disciplined. Once something opens up in that (zone) defense of theirs, they close it down quickly.”
It’s more than just a simple 2-3 zone, Sconsa said.
“We do a little more with it than we used to,” he said. “We’re pressing more and we’ll throw in some 1-3-1.
“The bottom line, we have kids that enjoy playing defense and playing hard. But we’ll have our hands full Tuesday because North Linn is very, very good.”
Lynx sophomore guard Nicole Miller ranks seventh in the state in scoring at 20.2 points per game. She is a 56-percent shooter from the floor.
“Her numbers speak for themselves,” Wheatley said. “The key to this team, though, is that the new kids have played well and the returners have all gotten better.”
Haley Dudley adds 10.1 points per game, and three others — Maddie Boer, Libby Falconer and Brenna Winn — are 8-point-per-game scorers.
All of those trump Cascade’s leader (Abbey Meyer, at 7.2 ppg), but the Cougars play a different style.
“I’ve got a laundry list of things we need to improve on by the time tournaments roll around,” Sconsa said. “But I’m very proud of where these kids are at right now.”
The North Linn-Cascade game highlights a big Tuesday in the area.
* Class 5A No. 10 Cedar Rapids Washington (8-3, 4-2) hosts No. 6 Waterloo West (7-3, 5-1) in a pivotal MVC Valley Division contest.
* Class 4A No. 2 Benton Community (11-0, 5-0) goes for its 39th straight regular-season win when it plays at 3A No. 13 Center Point-Urbana (9-3, 4-1) in a Wamac West encounter.
* Class 4A No. 14 Solon (6-4, 4-1) and 3A No. 12 Mount Vernon (9-2, 4-1) meet in a Wamac East game with the winner staying on Western Dubuque’s heels.
* Cedar Rapids Kennedy (6-3, 3-1) meets 4A No. 6 Cedar Rapids Xavier (6-6, 4-2) in a 42nd Street NE skirmish.
JACOBSON: A SIMPLE SPRAIN
Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Taylor Jacobson suffered “a simple sprain” of her ankle during pregame warmups, her family said Monday.
Jacobson figures to be out about two weeks.