Lions down Firebirds to clinch top seed in District 6 Tournament
Despite a dismal offensive performance in the second half, Linton-HMB pulled away to a 57-38 victory over Central Prairie in Gackle on Feb. 1. Linton-HMB improved to 14-4 overall, and the Lions finished in a tie with Strasburg-Zeeland for the top spot in District 6 with a 9-1 record.
However, Linton-HMB earned the top seed in the District 6 Tournament by virtue of point differential in its head-to-head match-ups with Strasburg-Zeeland. The ClippersdefeatedLinton-HMB by 10 points (65-55) on Dec. 13, but the Lions downed Strasburg-Zeelandby13points (56-43)onJan.29.CentralPrairie fellto1-16overall,including a 0-9 mark in District 6.
Linton-HMB trailed just once during the game, and that came after Brett Williams capped an 8-2 run with a three-pointer to give Central Prairie an 11-10 edge with 3:50 left in the opening period. The Lions, however, ripped off 7 unanswered points over the next minute to regain the lead for good (17-11), and they took a 6-point (23-17) advantage into the second period.
Brooks Flyberg’s threepointer to start the second quarter triggered a 9-2 run by Linton-HMB, andAndrew Small’s basket off a steal increased the lead to 32-19 with 4:48 left in the first half. Central Prairie closed the gap to single digits (32-24), but the Firebirds went scoreless over the final 3:05 of the quarter, while Linton-HMB closed out the half with a 9-0 run to open up a 41-24 cushion at the intermission.
Central Prairie was not whistled for a single foul during the first half, so Linton-HMB never attempted a free throw, but the Lions connected on 60 percent (18 of 30) of their field goal attempts, including 5 of 9 (56%) shots from behind the arc, and the Lions committed just 3 turnovers in the half. Central Prairie hit on 9 of 21 (43%) field goals, and 2 of 5 free throws, while turning the ball over 10 times in the half.
Flyberg and Tyler Humann scored 13 and 10 points, respectively, to lead Linton- HMB’s first-half attack, and Mason Ryckman, Ryan Schneider, Small and Travis Baumiller each scored 4 points for the Lions. Williams netted 9 points (all in the 1st quarter), and Alex Eissinger and Hunter Larson chipped in 5 points apiece in the half for Central Prairie.
Linton-HMB’s hot hand cooled off considerably in the second half, but the Lions had built a big enough lead to keep Central Prairie from mounting a serious threat over the final two quarters. Linton-HMB misfired on 11 of its first 12 field goal attempts of the third quarter, including nine straight misfires at one point, but Central Prairie went just 3 of 11 from the field and 1 of 6 from the line in the period, and the Firebirds were unable to draw any closer than 13 points (44-31) at any time in the period. Linton-HMB was held to a single point over the final 6:38 of the period, until Jon Purintun recorded a steal in the waning seconds and banked in a half-court shot at the buzzer to give the Lions a 48-31 advantage heading into the final period.
Flyberg’s lay-up off a steal gave Linton-HMB its biggest lead (50-31) with 7:25 left, but the Lions went scoreless over the next 5:00, and even though Central Prairie was struggling for points, the Fire- birds put together a modest, 7-0 run and cut the lead to 50-38 on Donovan Moser’s three-pointer with 2:41 left. However, Central Prairie would not get on the board again, and Linton-HMB closed out the game with a 7-0 run to match its biggest lead at the final horn.
Linton-HMB shot just 20 percent (5 of 25) from the field in the second half to finish at 42 percent (23 of 55) for the game. The Lions hit 7 of 17 (41%) three-pointers, 4 of 6 free throws and turned the ball over 10 times in the game. Central Prairie hit on just 14 of 40 (35%) field goals, including just 5 of 19 (29%) in the second half, and the Firebirds hit on just a third (5 of 15) of their free throws, while committing 22 turnovers in the game.
Flyberg hit four 3-pointers and tallied a game-high 18 points, to go along with 4 rebounds and 2 steals, and Humann finished with 10 points and 3 rebounds for Linton-HMB. Schneider netted 9 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals, Ryckman (4 rebounds, 2 steals) and Small (2 steals) each scored 6 points, Purintun added 5 points and 5 rebounds, and Baumiller chipped in 4 points and a game-high 6 assists for the Lions. Williams led Central Prairie with 15 points, and no other Firebird scored more than 5 points.
Linton-HMB: Brooks Flyberg 18, Tyler Humann 10, Ryan Schneider 9, Mason Ryckman 6, Andrew Small 6, Jon Purintun 5, Travis Baumiller 4.
Central Prairie: Brett Williams 15, Alex Eissinger 5, Hunter Larson 5, Wyatt Staloch 5, Donovan Moser 3, Jackson Schmidt 3, Avery Foerderer 1, Logan Hoffman 1.
3-Pointers: Linton-HMB (7-17): Flyberg 4, Humann 2, Purintun 1, Central Prairie (5-13): Williams 3, Larson 1, Moser 1. Fouled Out: None.