MARION – This win was a steal. Make that plural.
The Linn-Mar Lions forced five consecutive turnovers in the final minute and a half and converted those into just enough points to rally past Iowa City High, 66-63, Friday night.
The official play by play will show emerging sophomore guard Jordan Bohannon had the winning layup with 12 seconds left and a pair of free throws with three seconds to go. But it was defense, not offense, that brought about this unlikely victory.
“It came down to defense, and we got some big stops,” said Linn-Mar’s Lane Halupnik.
“It’s a really big win,” Bohannon said. “We’re trying to get a good seed for substate, so we really needed this game. To be back above .500 just feels really good.”
These Lions are sort of a doughnut team, a hole in the middle (i.e., not much interior presence). Add their brutal schedule and that they rely so heavily on a sophomore and other underclassmen, a 6-5 record should feel really good, as Bohannon put it.
Linn-Mar has played five games against teams ranked in the Class 4A top 10 and another (Dubuque Wahlert) that’s rated third in 3A.
“We have three sophomores that are up, and all three contribute,” Coach Chris Robertson said. “We rely on a couple of juniors, too. So I think going in that we knew this would be a learning year. But when we’re playing well, we’re pretty good. We just don’t necessarily do it for 36 minutes.
“I think it bodes well for the future. I think we’re going to be really good next year. But, obviously, we’re focused on down the stretch here.”
City High (6-5) had the ball and a 63-62 lead but was called for traveling with 1:32 left. Bohannon missed a driving shot but Halupnik came up with a steal with 1:10 to go.
Bohannon missed another shot, but City High was called for traveling again at 55.4 seconds. Linn-Mar’s Ryan Schmidt missed two free throws with 20.6 left, with the ball going out of bounds to City High.
Little Hawk Gionni Hickman tripped and fell trying to corral the inbounds pass in the corner, Linn-Mar’s Jordan Brandt picked up the loose ball and fed Bohannon in the lane for the winning layup. City High had one more chance at a win, but Ladarius Taylor lost control of the ball trying to drive the lane, with Schmidt diving for it and calling timeout.
“Brandt had a huge, huge steal at the end,” said Bohannon, who finished with 27 points. “He found me, I got the ball and got off the layup. That was quite a turnaround for us.”
Taylor had 19 points and Austin Withrow 12 for City High.
“Around here, I still think we get everyone’s best shot,” Robertson said. “That’s something our guys are starting to learn. It’s hard to match that every night.”
Here is the game boxscore:
IOWA CITY HIGH (63): Austin Withrow 4-7 4-5 12, Ladarius Taylor 6-10 7-9 19, Luke Posivio 3-9 0-0 6, Mitch Wieland 3-10 1-4 8, Logan LaFauce 2-6 2-3 7, Quinton Forrester 3-5 0-0 6, Jamarty Hall 0-0 1-2 1, Gionni Hickman 1-2 0-0 2, Conner Danielson 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 23-50 15-23 63.
LINN-MAR (66): Ben Larson 2-2 2-2 6, Jon Schlotterback 3-9 3-6 9, Lane Halupnik 1-6 4-4 7, Jordan Bohannon 7-20 9-9 27, Nic Uhlir 2-9 2-2 7, Jordan Brandt 1-2 0-0 2, Ryan Schmidt 1-1 2-7 4, Griffin Brennecke 1-3 0-0 2, Riley Murphy 0-3 0-0 0, Trevor Noble 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 19-57 22-32 66.
Halftime – Linn-Mar 33, City High 30. 3-point goals – City high 2-9 (Withrow 0-1, Taylor 0-2, Wieland 1-3, LaFauce 1-2, Hickman 0-1), Linn-Mar 6-19 (Halupnik 1-3, Bohannon 4-7, Uhlir 1-6, Brandt 0-1, Murphy 0-2). Rebounds – City High 38 (Withrow 13), Linn-Mar 30 (Schlotterback 8). Total fouls – City High 23, Linn-Mar 15. Fouled out – Hall. Turnovers – City High 16, Linn-Mar 5.