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Tuesday, July 25, 2017
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Metro Sports Report

Nothing ho hum about Warriors' streak

Years ago, I learned a valuable journalistic lesson from a man who had a hand in winning the Pulitzer Prize.

I was a young reporter for the Cedar Rapids Gazette in the mid-1970s, assigned one Saturday to cover the boys’ district swimming meet. Washington had won several team championships in a row and, to no one’s surprise, captured another that day.

My lede on the story went something like this: “Ho hum. Another year, another district title for Washington.’’

The following Monday morning, I had barely taken off my coat in the newsroom when I heard a gruff voice, “Dukes, my office!’’ It was Jack Illian, then The Gazette’s managing editor.

In the 1930s, Illian was one of the reporters who developed a series of stories on corruption and misgovernment in the State of Iowa, a body of work that earned The Gazette the Pulitzer Prize in 1936.

Illian was in the final years of his newspaper career in the 1970s, but still had a keen eye for good reporting and writing. He was a little like Ben Bradlee, the Washington Post editor who everyone got to know in “All The President’s Men.’’

Tough, stern and particular, but fair. I knew when he called me into his office that it was either going to be really good or really bad.

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Tigers clip J-Hawks in key MVC tilt

The Cedar Falls Tigers took a big step toward winning a division basketball title Monday night by beating Jefferson in an important game at Jefferson.

If these two teams meet again, a trip to the state tournament would be the grand prize.

 James Harrington poured in 24 points as the seventh-ranked Tigers tripped the ninth-ranked J-Hawks, 60-54, to grab control of the Valley Division race in the Mississippi Valley Conference.

Cedar Falls (10-2) has a two-game lead over Jefferson (8-4) in the Valley Division with four MVC games left in the regular season, so the Tigers are in command.

Winning a division title is nice, but making the state tournament in Des Moines is twice as nice. The Tigers and J-Hawks could meet in the Class 4A substate finals at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls on March 1 in a rematch.

"It would be a tough game," said Jarrod Uthoff, who had a difficult time Monday night. "If we both end up there, it will be a tough matchup like this one."

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Solid Strait racks up stats for Cougars

Courtney Strait is quietly having a superlative year for the Kennedy girls basketball team.

Strait, a junior, ranks in the top-10 in the Metro area in seven major categories and leads the Metro in free throw shooting at a healthy 80.6 percent.

She also ranks second in scoring (15.2), second in steals (51), third in rebounds (6.7), sixth in blocked shots (13), sixth in 3-pointers (23) and ninth in field goal shooting (41.9%).

Kiah Stokes of Linn-Mar continues to lead the Metro by wide margins in scoring (24.6), rebounding (14.7), field goal shooting (72.1) and blocked shots (97). She leads the state in scoring and field goal percentage.

Here are the top-10 in the Metro in eight major categories, based on statistics posted on the IGHSAU website through Monday.

SCORING

1. Stokes, Linn-Mar, 24.6; 2. Strait, Kennedy, 15.2; 3. Jacobson, Jefferson, 12.7; 4. Dawson, Washington, 11.4; 5. Peyton, Marion, 10.3; 6. Saxen, Xavier, 10.2; 7. Dellamuth, Prairie, 9.4; 8. Steffeny, Jefferson, 9.8; 9. Meier, Kennedy, 9.6; 10. (tie) Royster, Washington, 9.4; K.Kramer, Marion, 9.4.

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Linn-Mar boys No. 1, Kennedy up to 3

Linn-Mar is a unanimous choice as the No. 1 boys basketball team in the Associated Press Class 4A poll released Monday.

Linn-Mar (17-0) is the only unbeaten team in Class 4A. The Lions have been ranked No. 1 all season.

Kennedy (15-2) moved up one spot to No. 3 in this week's poll and Jefferson (12-3) dropped three spots into a tie for No. 9. Kennedy is four points behind No. 2 Ankeny (14-2), which moved up three spots from a week ago.

Jefferson is tied with Iowa City West (12-4). The J-Hawks were beaten by the Trojans, 59-45, Friday.

Sioux City Heelan (16-2), PCM Monroe (18-0) and Iowa Mennonite (18-0) are the top-ranked teams in the other three classes.

CLASS 4A

1. Linn-Mar (17-0), 2. Ankeny (14-2), 3. Kennedy (15-2), 4. Des Moines Hoover (15-2), 5. Sioux City East (13-3), 6. Davenport West (14-2), 7. Cedar Falls (11-3), 8. Waukee (13-4), 9. (tie) Jefferson (12-3) and Iowa City West (12-4).

Others receiving votes -- West Des Moines Valley 2, North Scott 2, West Des Moines Dowling 1.

 

 

Remembering the glory and tragedy of Hugh Leffingwell

When a Marion boys basketball player approaches 1,000 points for his career it's a remarkable achievement. Only six Marion players have achieved that milestone.

And when a new player reaches it, as Kasey Semler did Saturday, Marion old-timers start to think again about a bulky, blond kid who scorched the nets for the Indians more than half a century ago.

His name was Hugh Leffingwell, and he is still remembered by many as Marion's greatest basketball player. He is also remembered as the most tragic. But that part of the story comes later.

Semler, the Indians' point guard, scored 42 points Saturday to join the exclusive 1,000-point club at 1,005. He's averaging 22.9 points a game, one of the top marks in the state.

Amry Shelby notched 1,126 points just two years ago as he led the Indians to the state tourney, where they lost by a single point in the first round. Scott Benest had 1,013 in 1993, and was named to the All-Metro team as both a junior and senior.

In 1983, Todd Twachtmann, who was listed as a varsity player for four years, ended with 1,214 points and was named to the fourth All-State team. Gregg Anderson finished with 1,088 in 1973, when Marion won the Wamac championship and Anderson was named to the third All-State team.

Hugh Leffingwell scored 1,308. Of these, 1,282 came in his junior and senior years. The rest were scored in his sophomore year, when he was brought up late in the season from the freshman-sophomore team.

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Page 1337 of 1358

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