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Saturday, April 30, 2016
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Metro Sports Report

Xavier hires Lueck to replace Winker

Xavier has hired Steve Lueck as activities director, the school announced Wednesday.

Lueck (pronounced "leek"), currently serves as principal and activites director at St. Mary's High School in Storm Lake. He will succeed Mike Winker who has been Xavier's only AD since the school's opening in 1998 and previously announced he was leaving his post at the end of the school year.

"We are excited to welcome Steve to the Xavier community," Xavier principal Tom Keating said in a statement. "His experience as a teacher, coach, activities director and principal gives him a unique perspective of the important role that activities play in the high school experience."

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Bohannon hits 44, but Lions fall in OT

Jordan Bohannon pulled his Linn-Mar jersey over his head and covered his eyes to hide the agony and tears Tuesday night as he left the court at the U.S. Cellular Center.

He played the most spectacular game of his brilliant prep basketball career with a career-best 44 points and seven 3-pointers, but it was not enough to save the Lions in the Class 4A substate finals.

Cedar Falls sophomore A.J. Green, who could succeed Bohannon as the next big star in the Mississippi Valley Conference, hit a cold-blooded jumper in the final second of overtime to give the seventh-ranked Tigers a 76-74 victory over the 10th-ranked Lions in a classic battle in downtown Cedar Rapids.

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Saints headed back to state tourney

IOWA CITY - Ryan Luehrsmann wants to make trips to the boys state basketball tournament a regular habit for the Xavier Saints instead of a sporadic occurrence.

Luehrsmann and the Saints took another big step in building that tradition Monday night.

The eighth-ranked Saints turned in a workmanlike performance and defeated Mount Pleasant, 63-47, in Iowa City to earn their second straight trip to the Class 3A state tournament in Des Moines next week.

"You put two trips together, that's a heck of an accomplishment," said Luehrsmann. "It's not easy to get down there.

"We want to change the mindset, we want to have a culture at Xavier where that's the expectation at the high school level. And the little kids on down in junior high and into the feeder programs coming, that they're used to going and seeing Xavier at state tournaments year-in and year-out."

Xavier (16-8) drew the No. 6 seed and will face No. 3 seed Spirit Lake (21-3) in the opening round on Tuesday, March 8 at 6:35 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena.

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Special year for Marion girls sports

This has been an extraordinary year for the girls sports teams at Marion High School. And it keeps getting better.

Every girls team at Marion has won their Wamac Conference title and qualified for the state meet. Every single one, since the beginning of the school year until this very moment.

The volleyball team captured a Wamac title and qualified for state. The cross country team won a Wamac title and placed sixth at state. The bowling team finished third at the state tournament, and the only reason they did not win a conference title was because there are not enough bowling teams in the Wamac to have one.

Now the Marion High School girls basketball team will be playing in the Class 4A state tournament with an opening-round game against Harlan Wednesday morning at 11:45 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

"It's been a really fun year," said Corby Laube, the athletic director and girls basketball coach at Marion. "We've had a really good run with girls athletics.

"It's really neat the way they support each other," he said Monday morning. "And sometimes success breeds success. That confidence from one sport can carry over to another."

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Jennings relishes title with Mustangs

Aaron Jennings, a 6-foot-11 mountain of a man with a teddy-bear heart, dissolved in tears Sunday night as he talked about coaching the Mount Mercy men's basketball team this season under unusual circumstances and winning the conference title. 

Jennings, who hails from Atkins and Benton Community High School, enjoyed a modest college basketball career at Northwestern, but the Wildcats never played in any NCAA or NIT tournaments during his four years in the Big Ten.

He's done much better as a coach.

Jennings led the Mount Mercy women's basketball team to the Elite 8 of the NAIA national tournament in 2012 and now he's taking the men's team to the NAIA nationals after winning the Association of Independent Institutions title with a 74-61 victory over York (Neb.) at the U.S. Cellular Center.

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