MARION — There’s a familiar face creeping back up the MVC Valley Division standings.
Senior Matt Lassen scored 18 points, and Jordan Bohannon added 13 as Linn-Mar upended Cedar Rapids Xavier, 56-44, Friday night at Linn-Mar.
After a 2-6 start that included four losses by three points or less, the Lions (5-6, 4-4 MVC) have won three straight to move past Xavier (7-5, 3-4 MVC) in the division.
“I think the guys are getting more confidence, (and) that’s the big thing right now,” Linn-Mar coach Chris Robertson said. “I like our group. They work hard. I think they’re trying to get better.”
Robertson credits the resiliency of his squad for its recent winning streak.
“A lot of it was learning how to bounce back after some of those losses,” Robertson said.“We talked a lot about close we are.The guys have bought in, and they’re doing some nice things.”
After five straight points to end the first half put Linn-Mar up 30-24, the Lions clamped down in the third quarter, limiting Xavier to just five points for a 40-29 advantage. After a 10-point first half by Xavier senior Trey Sampson, the freshman Bohannon held Sampson to no baskets in the second.
“In the first half I kind of let him get off and get a couple easy baskets,” said Bohannon, who hit six free throws in the final two minutes. “In the second half, coach told me to shut him down so that’s what I did.”
Matt Nelson scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half for Xavier, but his teammates managed just eight as Xavier lost for the fifth time in the last seven games.