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Bacon sizzles, guides No. 3 Lake Mills by North Union

AT THE RIM — North Union forward Luke Schmidt (1) pushes the basketball just over the rim for two points as Lake Mills’ Dashawn Linnen (3) defends during Top of Iowa Conference action Monday night in Armstrong. The Warriors’ Jay Heinen (23) trails the play. (Photo by Greg Abel)

ARMSTRONG — Lake Mills senior Caleb Bacon committed to accept a “preferred walk-on” football offer from the Iowa State University Cyclones earlier this month.

The 2020 Iowa Class A all-state football captain, as selected by the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association, proved he’s also outstanding with a basketball in his hands on Monday night.

The 6-foot-4 power forward produced a double-double performance of 15 points and a game-best 10 rebounds to complement game-highs of six steals and four assists to power the Class 1A, No. 3-ranked Bulldogs to a 73-25 rout over the North Union Warriors during Top of Iowa Conference hardwood action in Armstrong.

“He’s so athletic he can do anything he puts his mind to,” Lake Mills head basketball coach Garrett Patterson said in reference to Bacon.

Bacon sizzled from the field — a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor — to help the Bulldogs overcome early 3-0 and 5-3 leads by the upset-minded Warriors.

Luke Schmidt drilled a left-corner 3-pointer off Gage Madden’s penetrate-and-dish play to stake North Union to a 3-0 lead before Lake Mills’ Bennett Berger answered with a trey.

Nick Schiltz then squeezed his way along the baseline for a putback basket to put the Warriors ahead 5-3, but Kadin Abele’s drive through traffic knotted the game and triggered the Bulldogs’ 12-0 surge.

Bacon pocketed a steal and converted a traditional 3-point play before clearing the glass and driving end-to-end for a lay-in to serve as the scoring spurt’s catalyst.

Berger tossed in two free throws before Denton Kingland drained a 3-pointer to widen Lake Mills’ margin to 15-5 and force a North Union timeout with 2:59 left in the opening quarter.

Aidan Fries nailed a left-corner trey off a Madden assist for the Warriors out of the short break to keep the game close. Wyatt Helming later answered with a 3 for the Bulldogs before Schmidt converted a pinpoint pass from Kyan Jones into a late basket as the Warriors trailed only 21-10 at the end of one segment.

Bacon later triggered Lake Mills’ 10-0 run near the end of the second quarter to create a 41-15 advantage of the scoreboard. The sure-handed Bacon converted a Helming assist into a cutter in the lane before the power forward took a steal coast-to-coast for a deuce.

Madden delivered a late 3-pointer as North Union trailed 42-19 at halftime before Lake Mills outscored the hometown team by a 22-2 margin in the third quarter to create running time.

Bacon tallied six points, including another traditional 3-point play, and Helming produced eight of his 15 points on the game during the third quarter to extend the Bulldogs’ lead to 64-21.

Dashawn Linnen collected a team-leading 16 points on 8-for-11 field-goal shooting for Lake Mills, while Helming added seven rebounds, three steals and four assists to his 15-point effort. Abele neared double-double territory by netting eight points and nine rebounds off the Bulldogs’ bench.

Schmidt, Fries and Madden all scored five points to top the Warriors, Madden also pocketed three steals and Jay Heinen pulled down a team-best five rebounds.

Bacon’s double-figure effort paced Lake Mills’ 40-22 rebounding edge, while his six steals spearheaded the Bulldogs’ total of 15.

The Bulldogs made 31 of 54 field goals overall, including 4 of 15 from behind the 3-point arc, for 57 percent. The Warriors connected on only 10 of 52, including 3 of 19 behind the bonus arc.

North Union (0-8) is idle until Tuesday, Jan. 5, when it hits the road to Eagle Grove, Iowa. Lake Mills (8-0) also is idle until returning to action Tuesday, Jan. 5, by playing host to North Iowa.

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