L-S boys advance to third straight substate championship game

Feb. 23—DES MOINES — The Lynnville-Sully boys basketball team is making free throws at a 54 percent clip this season.

The Hawks were below that number in the first half of their Class 1A District 13 championship game against ACGC on Tuesday. But when they had to make them to seal the victory, No. 7 Lynnville-Sully came through during a 60-46 victory on John Carle Court inside the Bowen Roundhouse Arena at Des Moines Lincoln High School.

The game was much closer than the final score suggests as the Chargers narrowed their deficit to four early in the fourth quarter.

The Hawks were 16-of-28 from the free-throw line in the game and connected on 9-of-15 in the fourth to seal the win.

"They were big for us. They fouled us a lot down the stretch," L-S senior Corder Noun Harder said. "We still have more improvement to do. The nice thing about the free throw shooting is we don't have to be better than them all season long, we just have to be better for one night. And we did that tonight."

Corder Noun Harder

The Chargers came into the game shooting 73 percent from the foul line but were only 10-of-17 against the Hawks.

Noun Harder finished with 13 points in the win and eight came in the fourth. He was 6-of-10 from the foul line in the final period.

"(Assistant coach) Joel Harthoorn told us if there's one night we need to make our free throws, this was it," L-S senior Klayton Van Dyke said. "I guess we took that to heart. I don't know what we shot percentage-wise, but it was decent. It was a good night to make most of them."

Van Dyke dominated inside the paint in the second half. He finished with a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double but 17 of those points came in the final two frames and 11 were scored in the third.

The Hawks (23-1) advance to their third straight substate championship game. They face Bedford in the the 1A Substate 7 title game at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Southwestern Community College in Creston.

"To me, it's been a business trip. We've been here before," Van Dyke said. "This time, we need to go finish it out. That's the goal."

The Hawks, who have won 17 straight games, recovered from a slow start thanks to a 9-0 run in the first quarter.

The spurt put the Hawks in front 11-5 after one. Mitchell Miller made two free throws and a runner in the lane and Noun Harder drained a runner and hit 1-of-2 from the foul line during the run.

The Hawks also drew a third foul on Jathan South, who is ACGC's leading scorer.

The Chargers (14-9) stayed within four points throughout the first part of the second and got to within 17-15 before the Hawks closed the half on a 12-5 run.

L-S led 29-20 at the break and Mitchell scored 10 of his 11 points in the first half. Carson Maston also scored all four of his points during that final stretch in the second.

Klayton Van Dyke

ACGC outscored L-S 16-13 in the third. Van Dyke's 11-point frame included five shots from inside the lane.

The Chargers applied an unusual 2-1-2 zone throughout most of the game, and the outside pressure from their guards created plenty of space inside the lane for Van Dyke and Dawson James.

ACGC made three of its four 3-pointers in the third, but lob passes to Van Dyke kept the Hawks in front after three.

"We saw on film they sometimes play a that middle guy up a bit and other times they drop him down low depending on who they play," L-S head boys basketball coach Nick Harthoorn said about the Chargers' 2-3 zone. "They are tough to move the basketball against. They have good length and are quick. We had trouble with it and there were a lot of tipped passes.

"But once the game moved a long, we did better getting the ball inside."

The Hawks lost Lucas Sieck and Keegan DeWitt to fouls in the fourth, but the game became a free-throw shooting contest with about 1:46 to play.

After back-to-back baskets by Van Dyke put the Hawks in front 50-42, L-S closed out the game from the line.

Lynnville-Sully scored its final 10 points from the charity stripe and the Chargers never got closer than eight down the stretch.

"It felt good. We knew they were a good team," Noun Harder said. "This is a team we thought we could see at substate. They play a tough schedule so it feels good to come out on top of a team like this."

The Hawks are holding opponents to fewer than 40 points per game this season. The 46 they surrendered to ACGC were the second fewest points the Chargers scored this season.

L-S held Lance Bunde to three points in the loss. He came into the game averaging 14 points per game.

Mitchell Miller

ACGC came into the game averaging 65 points per tilt but shot just 29 percent from the floor and were 4-of-27 from 3-point range.

"That's a good offensive team. They have a lot of balance, which makes it hard to game plan around," Nick Harthoorn said. "You know where to start with the defense against some teams. With their personnel, we just had to play team defense and our guys fought pretty hard tonight."

Noun Harder added four rebounds and seven assists to his 13 points and Miller finished with 11 points, five rebounds and three assists. He was 5-of-6 from the foul line.

James added eight points and seven boards, Maston tallied four points, two rebounds and two assists and DeWitt grabbed five boards. Hendrick Lowry also had three rebounds and Sieck totaled two rebounds.

The Hawks shot 46 percent from the floor despite missing all 10 attempts from long range. They turned the ball over 17 times but out-rebounded ACGC 43-28. L-S grabbed 15 offensive rebounds.

"Sometimes teams can really try to hunker down and protect from the bigs or another approach is to pressure a lot and try to turn you over before you get the ball in there," Nick Harthoorn said. "I think they tried to turn us over and were successful at times. But we were able get enough done to get the job done."

Noah Kading led the Chargers with 13 points and six rebounds, while South had 12 points and five rebounds. Payton Policky added nine points and six boards.

The Hawks hope their third straight substate championship game results in a trip to the state tournament.

Bedford (23-2) enters Saturday's game on a 14-game win streak. The Bulldogs are led by Cal Peterman, who averages 15.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.9 steals per game. Their average margin of victory is 19 points.

Bedford defeated top-seeded East Mills, 36-34, in their district championship game.

"Our goal is not only to make it to state but to do something when we get there," Noun Harder said. "The playing field is really even, and we think we have a shot to do some damage."

Hendrick Lowry