Friday, July 21, 2017
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Lions whip Wash, win MVC title

Shane Benton led his team in floor burns and hustle Friday night. And that was saying something.

Benton’s top-ranked Linn-Mar Lions used precision passing and a blue collar work ethic to break the game wide open in the second half and easily defeat Washington, 62-41, to clinch a Mississippi Valley Conference division championship at Linn-Mar.

“We just have got to go after everything,” Benton said. “I like to go after every loose ball.”

Benton scored 11 points and brought a boat load of passion and defensive intensity. At one stage in the third quarter he dove for a ball near the baseline, which brought the entire Linn-Mar bench to its feet.

Benton also had several strong moves inside and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line. He said the team enjoys playing together.

“It is just so much fun. I feel really good about this team. We have a great group of seniors and a lot of good juniors. It is a special group of guys,” the 6-foot-3 senior said.

A University of North Dakota recruit, Benton had the assignment of guarding Warrior star Josh Oglesby.

“He kind of reminds me of Reggie Miller,” Benton said. “With that high release, he is tough.”

Oglesby finished with 21 points, but had to earn every basket. He started off hot, scoring 13 of his team’s first 14 points, but had only eight points over the final 16 minutes of play. He hit 8-for-18 shots from the floor and 2-of-3 free throws.


Uthoff gets physical with Cougars

Jarrod Uthoff bought a ticket and watched his future teammates at the University of Wisconsin defeat Iowa in a physical game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday night.

It inspired him Friday night against Kennedy.

Uthoff scored 26 points, snared a career-high 19 rebounds and blocked five shots as No. 9  Jefferson upended the third-ranked Cougars, 53-44, at  Jefferson.

The 26 points were typical (he leads the state at 26.2 per game), but the 19 rebounds and five blocks were nearly twice his norm. He played a fierce, inspired game at both ends of the court, 48 hours after watching that physical game in Iowa City.

"I realized I need to get a lot stronger and be more physical to play in the Big Ten," he said. "And I figured I should start playing like it right now."

Uthoff is 6-foot-8 and 190 pounds, but he's gained 10 pounds of muscle since last season and does a better job of catching the ball in traffic. He's also a stronger defender and held Kennedy's Jake Manning to six points, about half his average.


Kiah Stokes named McDonald's All-American

Linn-Mar senior Kiah Stokes has been named a McDonald's All-American and will play in the prestigious all-star game March 30 at the United Center in Chicago.

Stokes also has been selected for the WBCA Nike All-Star Game in Indianapolis April 2.

Stokes, a 6-foot-3 center, was averaging 24.6 points, 14.7 rebounds and 5.1 blocked shots heading into Thursday night's game against Cedar Rapids Washington. She holds the Linn-Mar career records for points, rebounds and blocks.

Stokes has signed with the University of Connecticut and will be joining the Huskies next season.

Stokes was named to the West team for the McDonald's All-American game with with future UConn teammates Brianna Banks (Fayetteville, Ga.) and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (Santa Ana, Calif.).

Iowa recruit Samantha Logic from Racine, Wis., was chosen to play for the East team.


Warriors sting No. 2 Linn-Mar, share MVC title

Frank Howell entered the Washington locker room Thursday night and got an ear-piercing ovation from his jubilant players.

A few minutes later, seniors Tia Dawson, Alissa Oney and Ashley Piper popped out of the visitors locker room with big, happy smiles and plenty of emotion.

The sixth-ranked Warriors upset No.2 Linn-Mar in overtime, 53-46, to grab a share of the Mississippi Valley Conference title and hand the Lions a rare loss on their home court on Senior Night.

"Just amazing," said Oney, whose long 3-pointer gave Washington the lead for good in overtime. "We feel so happy about this. We found out they hadn't been beaten here in three years, so it's obviously a great accomplishment for us."

Washington tied Linn-Mar for the Mississippi Division title in the MVC with 14-2 records in the final game of the regular season. Waterloo West (13-2) can grab a piece of the Mississippi crown as well with a victory over Cedar Falls Friday night, so there's likely to be a three-way tie.


Kennedy and Solon in baseball dream game

Cedar Rapids Kennedy won the Class 4A state baseball title last summer, but some people wondered if Solon (the 2A champs) actually had the best team in Iowa.

It's too late for a conclusive answer, but it's not too late for a dream matchup between the two state champions.

Kennedy will play Solon in a special game on Saturday night, July 9 at Kennedy. Both teams undoubtedly will be ranked No.1 in their classes heading into the 2011 campaign, although Solon has now grown into a Class 3A club.

Kennedy Coach Bret Hoyer and Solon Coach Keith McSweeney both love the idea of challenging their players and treating fans to a special game.

"We thought there would be a lot of interest in that game," said Hoyer. "I would like to think it would draw a pretty good crowd. I know Solon will bring a lot of people."

Hoyer and McSweeney looked into the possibility of staging the contest at Veterans Memorial Stadium, the minor league ballpark in Cedar Rapids, but they were unable to find a suitable date.


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