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Friday, March 24, 2017
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Metro Sports Report

No. 1 KCC women take 33-0 mark to nationals

The players on the Kirkwood women's basketball team like to tease  Coach Kim Muhl and call him "The Man, The Myth, The Legend" when he's  conducting a post-game interview and they pass him in the hallway.

"The Man, The Myth, The Legend" got even bigger Saturday.

The top-ranked Eagles spanked NIACC, 90-61, in the championship game  of the regional tournament at Johnson Hall and will carry a glittering  33-0 record to the national tournament.

Muhl has captured six national titles during his Hall of Fame career  and thinks he has the ingredients for Lucky No. 7.

"Oh yeah. We're capable," he said. "We have to stay healthy and get a  few breaks."

The NJCAA Division II national tournament will be played in Harrison,  Ark., from March 21-25.

NIACC popped in ten 3-pointers in the first half and was within 48-44  at intermission, but the Eagles destroyed the visitors in the second  half and won easily.

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KCC men fall short in regional final

CRESTON — Falling into a 7-0 hole in the opening two minutes left 15th-ranked Kirkwood playing from behind the entire afternoon Saturday at top-ranked Southwestern for the Region XI men's basketball championship.

The Eagles battled back twice within two points in the first half and closed it to a single point (70-69) with 8:25 to play, but the Spartans hung on for a 98-90 victory.

The defending national champion Eagles ended their season at 25-7. Southwestern (32-1) advances to the NJCAA Division II national tournament March 21-25 in Danville, Ill. The Spartans' only loss of the season was a 78-75 setback at Kirkwood on Jan. 11.

Southwestern stretched its early lead to 20-8 before the Eagles went on an 8-0 run to close it to 20-16. Kirkwood coach Bryan Petersen said the slow start made it too much of an uphill battle.

"Our kids battled back to get within striking distance several times, but we just didn't have enough to get over the top," Petersen said.

A highlight for the Eagles offensively was sophomore Byron Harp of Ankeny. He was 9-of-10 at the free throw line in the first half and finished 19-of-20 at the line while scoring a career-best 35 points.

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Saints slay No. 1 Waverly in OT

DES MOINES - The Xavier Saints never stopped believing in themselves even when they had a disappointing 4-9 record in late January.

Now the Saints firmly believe they can win their second state championship in a row.

The remarkable Saints bumped off top-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock, 47-41, in overtime Thursday night in the semifinals of the Class 3A state tournament at Wells Fargo Arena.

Xavier (15-11) will face Sergeant Bluff-Luton (17-9) in the championship game Saturday at 6:05 p.m.

Xavier and Waverly-Shell Rock slugged it out on defense all night in a low-scoring affair that featured 12 ties and nine lead changes in the 36-minute contest.

The Go-Hawks took a 41-38 lead on their first possession in overtime on a three-point play by All-American Austin Phyfe, but the Saints shut them out the rest of the way and finished the game with a 9-0 run for the gritty victory in Des Moines.

Xavier all-star Matt Mims gave the Saints the lead for good, 42-41, with a huge 3-pointer and the Saints came up with a series of big  defensive stops from there.

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No. 1 KCC women make regional final

You don't win six national championships by settling.

Kim Muhl has coached the Kirkwood women to the pinnacle six times in his 28 years as head coach and his current Eagles' team has the potential to be his best yet.

Kirkwood won for the 32nd time without a loss Thursday night, steamrolling Southwestern, 79-52, in the Region XI tournament semifinal at Johnson Hall.

The win allows the top-ranked Eagles to host Saturday's 1 p.m. tournament final. The opponent will be NIACC (19-12), a 90-80 upset winner over No. 11 DMACC in Thursday's other semifinal.

One would think Muhl would be happy with Thursday's outcome.

Guess again.

The veteran Eagles' coach was disappointed in the play of his bench, which logged more minutes than usual when sophomore center Simone Goods injured her ankle less than two minutes into the game and had to head to the training room for treatment.

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Kirkwood men sink Iowa Lakes

Mental toughness was a key ingredient in Kirkwood's national championship run last March.

That same vibe was evident Thursday night for the Kirkwood men in the Region XI semifinal against Iowa Lakes.

The teams went back and forth for the first 32 minutes as neither led by more than seven points during that span.

However, the final eight minutes belonged to Kirkwood. Paced by a monster night from sophomore Miles Wentzien, the Eagles gradually pulled away for a 97-84 victory at Johnson Hall.

No. 15 Kirkwood (25-6) now faces a monumental challenge in Saturday's 3 p.m. regional final. The Eagles hit the road to meet No. 1 Southwestern (31-1) in Creston.

The Spartans' only loss was a 78-75 setback against Kirkwood on Jan. 11 in Cedar Rapids. They advanced with an easy 94-62 win on Thursday over Ellsworth.

The Eagles had a little payback on their mind Thursday after dropping a 101-73 decision to Iowa Lakes last Saturday in Mason City.

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