Bulldogs One Win from First Appearance at ‘The Well’

GARNER, Iowa – The seventh-rated Lake Mills Bulldogs are on to the substate final after winning Class 1A District 3. 

The Bulldogs (22-2) defeated TIC West opponent, West Hancock (14-11), 62-29. Lake Mills advances to the Class 1A Substate 2 Final on Saturday in Charles City. The Bulldogs will play district #4 champion, Turkey Valley. Tukey Valley defeated Janesville 42-37 in New Hampton to advance; the matchup pits both of the #1 seeds against each other. 

The Bulldogs and Eagles met for the third time this season, and Lake Mills came out on top of all three. The win was also the fifth straight for Lake Mills in the series, the longest streak since West Hancock won three straight through 2017 and 2018. Lake Mills was led by Colby Groe, the senior scored a career-high 20 points. 

Trips to the state tournament have been hard to come by for both the Trojans and Bulldogs. Lake Mills hasn’t been to Des Moines since 1986. They lost to runners-up Tri-Center in the first-round. Turkey Valley made its only trip in 2010, falling to IKM-Manning in the Class 2A first-round. 

The 1986 Bulldogs were led by all-state junior, Jeff Charlson. The Bulldogs also won the North Iowa Conference that year finishing the conference season 13-1. That conference championship put a stop to a three year run by Northwood-Kensett. The Bulldogs would go on to win the NIC the following year as well; with another 13-1 conference record. 

This year’s Bulldogs are led by juniors Dashawn Linnen and Caleb Bacon, and senior Chett Helming; all averaging double figures. 

West Hancock ends the season with a winning record and a fifth-place conference finish. 

KIOW will have coverage of substate #2 from Charles City on Saturday.


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