MARION – It was without question the game of Steven Kramer’s life and the best individual story of the season in Metro boys’ basketball.
The most unheralded of Cedar Rapids Washington’s players took a literal shot at heroism Friday night and came up so agonizingly short. No game-winning shot, no shocking upset, just what could have been.
“I had a front row seat for it,” said Linn-Mar’s Jordan Bohannon, after his team’s 56-52 escape at the Lions gym. “Definitely thought it was in.”
So did everyone else. With his team down by two with nine seconds left, Kramer ran off a high screen and toward the corner, taking an inbounds feed from older brother, Jake.
An up fake got rid of his defender, who went flying past him. Steven Kramer took a dribble, set his feet and fired – around and around … and out.
Rebound Linn-Mar, foul Washington, two free throws and game over.
“I’ve never seen a ball roll around so damn much and go out,” said Washington Coach Adam Sanchez.
“I really thought it was in,” Kramer said. “I got him on the pump fake, took a dribble over and set my shot. Just went in and out.”
Kramer came into Friday night’s game averaging a mere two points, spending more time on the Wash junior varsity than varsity. But on a night when the Warriors (2-12) were without second-leading scorer Maurice Arrington (mother’s decision to make him concentrate more on his academics), the kid stepped up, hitting five treys and scoring 19 points.
That’s two more than he had all season. Unreal.
“I’ve been doing pretty good on JV, hit a few 3s, and Coach has been playing me more,” Kramer said.
Linn-Mar (9-6) knew it caught a break, but shook its collective head, took a deep breath and celebrated clinching a No. 2 seed in its Class 4A substate. The Lions get a first-round bye, then hope to eventually get a crack at top-ranked Dubuque Senior.
“The best we could have hoped for,” said Linn-Mar Coach Chris Robertson. “Hopefully we can take care of business at home, then get Senior on a neutral floor.”
This game was tight the entire way. Washington led at the half, but Linn-Mar extended a one-point lead after three quarters to eight early in the fourth.
That came primarily because of the cool play of sophomore point guard Bohannon, who scored the first five points of the fourth. He finished with a team-high 15.
But Kramer’s long-distance marksmanship brought Wash back within 54-52 with two minutes to go. Linn-Mar missed four consecutive free throws to give the Warriors the last shot.
You know the rest. A really good story that just missed being a great one.
Here is the game boxscore:
C.R. WASHINGTON (52): Keegan Moore 0-4 0-0 0, Tyler Soenksen 1-2 0-0 2, Jared Printy 2-11 1-1 5, Jake Kramer 0-3 0-2 0, Reid Snitker 0-1 0-0 0, Razadon Taylor 3-9 0-1 7, Terry Jenkins 4-4 0-0 8, Montaves Anderson 4-6 0-0 9, Steven Kramer 5-8 4-4 19, Carlos Nelson 0-2 0-0 0, Drew Hoeger 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-51 5-8 52.
LINN-MAR (56): Ben Larson 1-3 0-2 2, Jon Schlotterback 4-9 3-5 11, Lane Halupnik 1-6 3-5 5, Jordan Bohannon 5-12 3-3 15, Nic Uhlir 3-10 5-6 14, Trevor Noble 0-2 0-0 0, Jordan Brandt 2-2 3-5 9, Riley Murphy 0-1 0-0 0, Ryan Schmidt 0-0 0-0 0, Griffin Brennecke 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-45 17-26 56.
Halftime – Washington 31, Linn-Mar 28. 3-point goals – Washington 7-22 (Printy 0-6, J. Kramer 0-2, Taylor 1-3, Anderson 1-1, S. Kramer 5-8, Nelson 0-2), Linn-Mar 7-19 (Halupnik 0-1, Bohannon 2-6, Uhlir 3-9, Brandt 2-2, Murphy 0-1). Rebounds –Washington 30 (Anderson 5), Linn-Mar 31 (Schlotterback, Bohannon 7). Total fouls – Washington 24, Linn-Mar 14. Fouled out – None. Technical foul – Linn-Mar bench. Turnovers – Washington 10, Linn-Mar 8.