When their team needed them most, Linn-Mar’s two stars came out bright Friday night.
First, senior Amanda Ollinger single-handedly wiped out a fast start by the energized visitors from Cedar Rapids Jefferson.
Then, as the scrappy J-Hawks made a fourth-quarter rally to pull within three points, steady sophomore Kamryn Finley swished seven free throws down the stretch to preserve a 55-44 Lion victory.
"I started out kind of slow,” said Finley, who made just one basket in the first half and another in the third quarter. “My shot wasn’t falling.
"When I started driving to the hoop and getting to the line for free throws, that sort of got my confidence back.”
For her part, Ollinger scored 18 of her team’s 20 first-quarter points (including the first dozen in a row) to assume a lead after a make-shift starting line-up on senior night spotted the J-Hawks to a 12-0 opening spurt.
"She had a fantastic first quarter,” Linn-Mar coach Jaime Brandt said. “It was special to start those five seniors. But Amanda really took over when she came in and gave us a spark when we needed it.”
Ollinger made just one basket and three free throws the rest of the way but made her presence felt with 23 points, 12 rebounds and six steals.