BAXTER — The Lynnville-Sully boys’ basketball team delivered a knockout blow to Baxter in the first few minutes of their non-conference game Friday night.
The seventh-ranked Hawks showed early and often why they are one of the best teams in Class 1A, jumping out to an early lead and rolling past the Bolts 68-42.
The Hawks capped the regular season with six straight wins. They will take an 18-3 record into the postseason.
“I feel like we have a lot of guys playing with confidence on the offensive end. We are finding a rhythm and are shooting the ball well,” L-S coach Nick Harthoorn said. “We have pretty good flow offensively. If we can bring the defensive intensity that we had in the first quarter, I think that will go a long ways.”
The Hawks flipped the game into their favor in the first few minutes and then pushed even further ahead with a big third quarter.
L-S senior Tanner Foster scored the Hawks’ first 11 points and his trey put them up 11-2 early. The lead grew to 19-2 after eight straight points from senior Brevin Hansen.
The first quarter ended with back-to-back buckets by senior Jesse Van Wyk that put L-S in front 23-5.
“Getting out ahead of them was the key tonight,” said Van Wyk, who went past the 1,000-point mark for his career Monday in a win over Belle Plaine. “We really put the pressure on them and got a lot of stops on defense. That allowed us to get out in transition.”
Lynnville-Sully scored lots of points in transition against the Bolts. The Hawks got easy looks after misses and even got out and found open lanes to the hoop after Baxter makes.
“A couple of (their transition points) came off long rebounds, but they were really good. They did some nice things,” Baxter coach Zach Hasselbrink said. “It’s tough when you start that way. Good teams won’t let you battle back. We had a tough first and third quarter, and that’s what it came down to really.”
The Bolts (11-10) played an even second quarter with L-S, but the Hawks still led by 18 at halftime.
Baxter sophomore Cole Damman had a big second frame to keep his team from getting down any more. He scored 12 of his 16 points in the period and got the Bolts within 11 with a 3-pointer.
But the Hawks answered with the final seven points of the period.
“I thought we brought great energy to start the game,” Harthoorn said. “We had tough defense, and we got out in transition. We got out and ran and got some easy buckets. That really got us going.”
The momentum carried into the third quarter for the Hawks. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Van Wyk and junior Tyson Vander Linden pushed the L-S advantage to 47-21.
The Hawks outscored the Bolts 25-11 in the third and took a 32-point lead into the fourth quarter. They went on to win by 26.
Van Wyk, who came into the game averaging 15 points per game, finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the win.
Foster came into the game averaging 12.8 points per contest but finished with a game-high 23. Hansen added 16 points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals.
“We have a lot of guys who can score points,” Van Wyk said. “Some nights you may score five points but have a bunch of an assists. It just depends on the night.”
Baxter got 17 points and seven rebounds from junior Will Clapper. He came into the game averaging a double-double at nearly 18 points and 10.4 rebounds per contest.
Damman tallied 16 points and senior Braydon Aker grabbed 10 boards.
The Bolts made only 38 percent of their shots. They ended the regular season with losses in five of their last six games.
“It wasn’t that we weren’t getting shots. They just weren’t falling early,” said Hasselbrink, whose team hit on just 4-of-15 from long range. “They took advantage of us defensively and found their strengths offensively.
“We have been in dogfights lately against some good teams. I didn’t expect this tonight. I thought we would play better. We couldn’t get everything firing the right way.”
Van Wyk, a first team all-state selection last season, thinks he’s the first player at L-S to eclipse 1,000 career points since his head coach did it during his prep days.
“It’s a pretty sweet feeling,” Van Wyk said. “We haven’t had one of those in a while at our school. We’ve had good players, and we’ve had some really good teams but that sometimes means you don’t play for a few years.
“It’s been a fun ride, and I appreciate being able to play here.”
Both teams open 1A postseason on Feb. 15.
The Hawks host either North Mahaska or Cardinal at 8 p.m. in Sully. Baxter plays Colo-NESCO at 6:30 p.m. in Madrid.
Lynnville-Sully 23-14-25-6 — 68
Baxter 5-14-11-12 — 42
L-S (FG/3pt-FT-F-TP) — Brevin Hansen 4/3-5-4-16, Jesse Van Wyk 8/1-1-3-18, Tyson Vander Linden 1/1-0-0-5, Tanner Foster 10/3-0-2-23, Rylan James 1-0-1-2, Gage Vander Leest 0-1-1-1, Blaize Kuhlmann 1/1-0-1-3. Totals 26/9-7-12-68.
Baxter — Travis Lindemoen 1/1-2-3-5, Cole Damman 6/3-1-3-16, Braydon Aker 1-0-0-2, Will Clapper 8-1-1-17, Ian Thomson 0-0-0-0, Devin Carson 0-0-1-0, Bryce Bacon 0-0-3-0, Brady Geilenfeldt 0-0-2-0, Noah Galloway 1-0-1-2. Totals 16/4-4-14-42.