Friday, November 27, 2015
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Comfortable Lions seek trip to state

Jaime Brandt, Amanda Ollinger and the Linn-Mar Lions are a lot more comfortable in their roles on the girls basketball team this season after a year of getting to know each other.

They hope it translates into a successful season and a trip to the Class 5A state tournament in Des Moines.

Brandt became the head coach at her alma mater last year when she was just 24 years old following an outstanding career at the University of Iowa and one year as an assistant coach at Linn-Mar. The Lions got off to a good start in November and December, but everyone was thrown an unexpected curve when Ollinger transferred from Cedar Rapids Jefferson to Linn-Mar and began playing for the Lions in January.

Ollinger is one of the top players in the state and a future Hawkeye, but the Lions hit a few bumps in January with a six-game losing streak before clicking again in February.


J-Hawks looking to bounce back

Jason Edwards never saw it coming last season.

The Jefferson girls basketball team had gotten off to a nice start with a 5-3 record, but Amanda Ollinger left the club in mid-December and began playing for Linn-Mar a few weeks after that.

The J-Hawks, staggered by the blow, won only three more games the rest of the season, although Edwards thought his players handled the adversity the best they could.

"I think the kids did a nice job of circling the wagons and sticking together," he said Thursday. "We all wish Amanda well. She's a good player, obviously. They did what they needed to do for their family.

"Obviously in the middle of the season it takes awhile to find your identity without a very important piece, but I thought the girls did a really nice job of that. I've been very pleased."

Ollinger averaged 17.8 points and 11.8 rebounds during the first eight games of the 2014-15 campaign at Jefferson before the family left and moved into the Linn-Mar district. Ollinger is a senior at Linn-Mar now and the J-Hawks have turned the page.


Clark, Visser lead Wash into new year

Joniqua Clark stands only 5-foot-2, but she could play a big role for the Cedar Rapids Washington girls basketball team this season.

Coach Frank Howell likes her style as a point guard who can set a fast tempo, feed her teammates and get to every loose ball on the floor.

"I've never seen her lose a loose ball to anybody," Howell said Thursday. "If there's a loose ball, she's probably going to get it.

"She's as quick to the basketball as anybody that you'll probably see all year."

Howell is counting on Clark and Anne Visser to set the tone for the Warriors this season as they look to build upon last year's 13-9 record.

"Joniqua has the ability to be the top assist person in the league and Anne can really get the job done on the boards," he said. "If Joniqua can get seven or more assists, then we're going to be in a great position to win the game. And if Anne can get nine-plus rebounds, then we're going to be in good position to win the game."


Sellers leads Cougars into new season

Tony Vis has a plan to fight against teams that try to use a "junk" defense against the Kennedy girls basketball team this season.

Up the tempo.

Cedar Falls used a "junk" defense to defeat the Cougars in the regional finals last season by paying extra attention to Kennedy stars Stephanie Botkin and Lela Sellers. Botkin has graduated, but Sellers is back and Vis wants to give his top player a chance to shine.

"We're trying to change the pace of our play, and I think the girls have been very receptive to that," he said. "We'll press a little bit more this year than we have in the past.

"It's hard to get into a junk defense if we're creating steals and converting in transition on you."

Sellers, a 6-foot guard who has signed with Liberty University, averaged 14.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists last season as a junior after moving here from Minneapolis. Vis said Sellers has improved since last season and expects her numbers to rise, especially in the rebounding department where the Cougars need help.


Young Indians think the future is now

The Marion High School girls basketball team has a bunch of talented freshmen and sophomores on the squad, but they don't want to wait until they are juniors and seniors to compete for a state title.

They think the future is now.

The Indians fashioned a 17-6 record last season with several freshmen playing prominent roles. Now they've been joined by another talented rookie class heading into the 2015-16 campaign.

Coach Corby Laube lists a total of 12 freshmen and sophomores on his 16-girl outfit and he agrees with his players: The Indians have the ingredients to become a state contender this season.

"I think our goal right now is to be at that level," he said Wednesday. "We feel like we've put in the work and we've got the players that we can compete and beat anybody.

"We've been pleasantly surprised in how it's all come together," he said. "We'll see if it translates to success on the court, but right now those kids look really good.


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Metro Schedule

Sunday, Nov. 22 Friday, Nov. 27
No events scheduled USHL: Madison at RoughRiders, 7 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 23 Saturday, Nov. 28
HSFB: 4A State Final: West Des Moines Dowling 41, Kennedy 10 USHL: Waterloo at RoughRiders, 7 p.m.
GBOWL: Prairie 3,034, Linn-Mar, 2,160 GBB: Xavier at Johnston, 2:30 p.m.
BBOWL: Boys: Linn-Mar 2,814, Prairie 2,330 GBB: Bettendorf at Jefferson, 6:30 p.m.

GBB: Muscatine at Linn-Mar, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 24 WBB: Coe at Wisconsin-LaCrosse, 6 p.m.
BBB: Jefferson Jamboree WBB: Mount Mercy vs. William Penn at Clinton, 2 p.m.
BBOWL Kennedy 2,826, Washington 2,381 MBB: Oak Hills at Mount Mercy, 1 p.m.
BBOWL: Jefferson 2,937 Iowa City High 2,663
BBOWL: Iowa City West 2,864, Xavier 2,614 Sunday, Nov. 29
BBOWL: Marion 2,809, DeWitt Central 2,669 MBB: Wisconsin-Platteville at Coe, 3 p.m.
GBOWL Washington 2,270, Kennedy 2,168 MBB: St. Francis at Mount Mercy, 5 p.m.
GBOWL: Iowa City High 2.270, Jefferson 2,140 WBB: Coe at MacMurray, 1 p.m.
GBOWL: Iowa City West 2,058, Xavier 2,000 WBB: Mount Mercy vs. Doane at Clinton, 2 p.m.
GBOWL: DeWitt Central 2,064, Marion 1,663
BSWM: Metro Meet at Linn-Mar
GBB: Xavier 41, Decorah 21
GBB: Waukee 49, Kennedy 43
GBB: Prairie 62, Muscatine 54
GBB: Washington 78, Davenport Central 49
GBB: Linn-Mar 67, Waterloo East 29
GBB: North Scott 55, Jefferson 34
GBB: Alburnett 55, Cedar Valley Christian 52
WBB: Coe 92, Mount Mercy 73
WBB: Kirkwood 67, South Australia 56
MBB: Kirkwood 73, Blackhawk 70

Wednesday, Nov. 25
No events scheduled

Thursday, Nov. 26
USHL: RoughRiders 5, Waterloo 1


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