Wednesday, January 18, 2017
UPDATE: Tonight's Waterloo East at Xavier girls basketball game has been postponed...
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Schmitt leads Prairie by Saints

The Cedar Rapids Prairie girls basketball team began its warmups for  Friday night's game at Xavier with only eight players on the floor and  with a 2-8 record.

At the other end of the floor, the Saints had a full complement of  players with a flashy No. 7 ranking in the Class 4A poll and an  impressive five-game winning streak.

Advantage Saints, right?

Not this time.

Sarah Schmitt was hot from the foul line and pumped in 22 points as  the young Prairie Hawks upended the Saints, 52-45, in a Mississippi  Valley Conference game at Ron Thillen Gymnasium.

Prairie had two freshmen and two sophomores in the starting lineup,  but the Hawks withstood a Xavier rally in the second half and were the  more composed team at the end.

"Our kids played above what their grades may show," said Prairie Coach Josh Bentley. "They stayed together. And they executed and stayed  disciplined."

Schmitt, a 5-foot-7 sophomore, swished 10 of 11 free throws for the  Hawks, including six straight in the final 56 seconds to help Prairie  notch the victory.


No. 1 Eagles raise mark to 16-0

The Kirkwood Eagles turned Sweet 16 Thursday night.

Simone Goods scored 15 points and snared nine rebounds as the top-ranked Eagles rolled to their 16th straight victory with a 78-53 verdict over the Loras College junior varsity at Johnson Hall.

Shaneequah Watkins collected 12 points, Awal Ajak netted 11 and Deleyah Harris contributed 10 in a typically balanced attack. Harris also had eight rebounds, five assists and five steals.

Goods, a 6-foot-2 sophomore from Omaha, scored 11 of her points in the third quarter when Kirkwood outscored the visitors from Dubuque, 24-11, in the 10-minute session.

The Eagles won another game by a wide margin, but they committed 20 turnovers with some sloppy passes and Coach Kim Muhl was visibly unhappy at times on the bench.


Gabi Carter joins MSR softball league

Gabi Carter will return home to Swisher this May after playing  softball at Indiana State University, but the Cedar Rapids Prairie grad would like to keep playing in a competitive league this summer.

That's why she has joined the new Iowa Women's Softball League that is being organized by the Metro Sports Report.

Carter is the sixth NCAA Division I player to join the league and the 28th player overall.

Carter, an infielder, graduated from Prairie in 2015 and had a sensational year as a freshman at Kirkwood last season. She hit .442  with 21 home runs and 84 RBIs, helping the Eagles compile a 58-6  record and place fifth at the national tournament.


Carter was named a junior college All-American at Kirkwood and accepted a scholarship to join Indiana State this year as a sophomore.

The Iowa Women's Softball League has been created by the Metro Sports Report to give college players an opportunity to play in a competitive summer league. It's the only program of its kind in Iowa and is gaining enrollment on a daily basis.


Leaner Eagles sail by Clarke JV

The Kirkwood men's basketball team will be a much leaner group for the rest of the season with the loss of five reserves during the holiday  break.

The Eagles could be a much meaner group as well, in terms of making a run for a second straight national title.

The 16th-ranked Eagles sailed by the Clarke junior varsity, 129-52, in a tuneup at Johnson Hall Tuesday night in their first game with a trimmer roster.

Coach Bryan Petersen had only 10 players in uniform Tuesday and seven  of them scored in double figures. Chris King led the way with 23 points with five 3-pointers.

Derrick Howard, Darius Rice, Darias Oliver, Kameron Moore and Shawn Foxbrennen have left the club since the end of the first semester. Most of them were fairly deep reserves, and the 10 guys who are left  are the 10 who will decide Kirkwood's fate this year.

Petersen thinks a leaner roster could be good for the club after trying to hammer a 15-man team into a cohesive unit.

"That was something we were really struggling with the first semester," he said. "We didn't have a lot of defined roles, and now  we've got that with our numbers going down a little bit.


Dear readers: Thanks for sticking with MSR

Most of you know that the Metro Sports Report nearly went out of business last spring due to financial problems.

We found a way to survive, thank goodness, and now here's the good news: Nearly half of our readers have stuck with us even though we had  to greatly curtail what we cover.

We finished 2016 with 489,406 page views, which is 47.1 percent of the page views we had in 2015 when we were covering just about every team in the Metro area of Cedar Rapids and Marion.

That's a remarkable number, considering that now we're focusing our attention on Xavier High School, Kirkwood Community College and the Iowa Valley baseball league, with weekly columns about the Iowa football team thrown in for good measure.

That's a far cry from when we were covering all of the Metro high schools, all three of the local colleges, the Kernels and the RoughRiders. We simply did not have the resources to continue that extensive coverage, but we're glad that nearly half of you have stayed  by our side and encouraged us to keep going.

Our financial situation is much brighter now and we're looking to bouncing back even further in 2017, especially when we officially launch the new Iowa Women's Softball League this summer.


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