Linton-HMB upsets 8th-ranked Strasburg-Zeeland to move into tie for top spot in District 6 standings
Linton-HMB’s victory deadlocked the Lions and Clippers at the top of the District 6 standings with identical 8-1 records, with Linton-HMB’s lone district blemish coming at the hands of Strasburg-Zeeland (65-55) in December. Linton-HMB, which won for the 11th time in 12 outings, improved to 13-4 on the season, while Strasburg-Zeeland, which came in ranked 8th in the State Class B Poll, suffered its first loss (14-1) of the season.
Linton-HMB scored on the game’s first possession, but the Lions missed seven straight shots after that, and Strasburg-Zeeland jumped out to a 7-2 lead after Cole Nieuwsma put in a basket at the 4:45 mark. Linton-HMB answered with 6 straight points over the next 2:00, and Jon Purintun’s jumper gave the Lions an 8-7 edge with 2:45 left, but the lead changed hands three more times before the end of the period, and Nieuwsma’s putback late in the quarter gave Strasburg-Zeeland a 15-12 advantage.
Both teams struggled on the offensive end during the second quarter, and even though Linton-HMB tied the game at 17-17 with just under 6:00 left in the half, the Lions never held the lead during the quarter. Linton-HMB never hit a field goal (0-8) over the final 6:40 of the period, and the Lions scored just one point over the final 5:51 of the frame, but Strasburg-Zeeland was unable to build a sizeable lead, mainly because the Clippers hit on just 3 of 13 (24%) field goals in the frame.
Brody Nieuwsma’s threepointer put Strasburg-Zeeland back on top, 20-17, with 5:30 left in the first half, but the Clippers went scoreless for nearly 4:00 after that. Linton-HMB, however, scored for the final time in the period on Ryan Schneider’s free throw at the 5:13 mark, and Schneider and teammate Mason Ryckman each went to the bench with their second fouls before the midway point of the period, and would not return the rest of the half.
The only points the rest of the half came on Brody Nieuwsma’s three-pointer at the 1:40 mark, which drew the second foul on Purintun, and Cole Nieuwsma (2 fouls) and Nic Kramer (3 fouls) would each get into some foul trouble for Strasburg-Zeeland before the end of the period, while the Clippers took a 23-18 advantage to the break.
Strasburg-Zeeland hit on just 10 of 27 (37%) field goals and misfired on all 3 of its free throw attempts in the first half, while Linton-HMB hit on just 2 of 12 (16%) field goals during the second period, and shot just 28 percent (8 of 29) from the floor, and 29 percent (2 of 7) from the line in the half. Both teams turned the ball over 6 times, and Linton-HMB held a slim, 21-18 advantage in rebounds, with the difference coming on a 6-3 margin on the offensive glass. Brody Nieuwsma scored 8 points, while Schneider netted 6 points to lead their respective teams in scoring in the first half.
Strasburg-Zeeland’s cold spell carried over into the third period, while Linton-HMB caught fire, sinking 12 of its first 15 shots, while going on a 27-5 run over the first 9:30 of the second half. The Lions connected on their first 11 field goal attempts of the third period, and a basket by Schneider, followed by a three-pointer by Tyler Humann quickly tied the game at 23-23. Nic Kramer answered with a field goal to put Strasburg-Zeeland back on top, 25-23, with 6:15 left in the period, but that would mark the final lead of the game for the Clippers, and Linton-HMB ripped off 6 straight points to move back into the lead (29-25) for good.
Cole Nieuwsma’s threepoint play cut the lead to 29-28 with 4:45 left, but Strasburg-Zeeland went scoreless the rest of the period, while Linton-HMB closed out the period with a 14-0 run, and Purintun’s triple late in the period extended the lead to 43-28 heading into the fourth quarter. Linton-HMB hit 11 of 12 field goals in the third period, with the lone misfire coming on a desperation threepoint attempt in the closing seconds. Strasburg-Zeeland hit on just 2 of 9 (22%) field goals, 1 of 3 free throws, and committed 7 turnovers in the period, and Humann (10), Ryckman (6) and Schneider (6) each scored more points in the quarter than the entire Clipper team (5).
Schneider’s free throws capped a 22-3 run that gave Linton-HMB its biggest lead (45-28) with 6:39 left, and even though Mason Kramer’s field goal on the ensuing trip finally ended the Clipper’s scoring drought that extended past 6:00, Linton-HMB kept answering the Clippers pointfor point over the 4:00, and Humann’s free throws kept the margin at 15 points (51- 36) with 2:38 remaining. However, Strasburg-Zeeland would get some life, using full-court pressure and putting the Lions on the free throw line, where they were having problems up to that point.
The strategy paid immediate dividends, as Mason Kramer put in the field goal on the Clipper’s next trip, and after the Lions misfired on the front side of a bonus free throw attempt, Scotti Scherr drilled a three-pointer to cut the lead to 51-41 with just under 2:00 left. However, Strasburg-Zeeland wouldn’t score again until the game was out of reach, and the Clippers missed their next four field goal attempts, while Linton-HMB notched 3 free throws and a field goal over the next 1:10 to put the game away (56-41) with just :45 left.
Linton-HMB hit on 14 of 19 (74%) field goals, 7 of 11 free throws (all in the 4th quarter), and held a 16-7 advantage in rebounds in the decisive second half, while Strasburg-Zeeland went 9 of 26 (35%) from the floor and 1 of 3 from the line over the final two quarters. For the game, Linton-HMB hit on 22 of 48 (46%) field goals, 9 of 18 free throws, and held a 37-25 advantage on the boards. Strasburg-Zeeland finished at just 36 percent (19 of 53) from the field, including just 24 percent (4 of 17) on three-pointers, and the Clippers were just 1 of 6 from the stripe in the game.
Humann scored 13 of his game-high 15 points in the second half, to go along with 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals, and Schneider tied Humann for game-high honors in points (15), as well as handing out 3 assists and grabbing a game-high 12 (4 offensive) rebounds. Ryckman scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half, and also tallied 7 rebounds and 3 steals, while Purintun scored 9 points with 3 rebounds for Linton-HMB. Travis Baumiller (3 pts., 4 rebounds, 4 assists) andAustin Bernhardt (2 pts.) completed Linton-HMB’s scoring, and Brooks Flyberg tallied 4 rebounds and a game-high 5 assists for the Lions.
Brody Nieuwsma, who fouled out late in the final period, was the only Strasburg-Zeeland player in double figures with 10 points, while Cole Nieuwsma (6 rebounds) scored 9 points, and Scherr (2 three-pointers) scored 8 points. Nic Kramer (9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) and Kyle Nieuwsma (5 rebounds, 2 steals) scored 6 points apiece, and Mason Kramer chipped in 4 points and 4 assists for the Clippers.
Linton-HMB: Tyler Humann 15, Ryan Schneider 15, Mason Ryckman 12, Jon Purintun 9, Travis Baumiller 3, Austin Bernhardt 2.
Strasburg-Zeeland: Brody Nieuwsma 10, Cole Nieuwsma 9, Scotti Scherr 8, Kyle Nieuwsma 6, Nic Kramer 6, Mason Kramer 4.
3- Pointers: Linton- HMB (3-12): Humann 2, Purintun 1, Strasburg-Zeeland (4-17): Scherr 2, B. Nieuwsma 2. Fouled Out: B. Nieuwsma.