Friday, March 23, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Morrissey appears to be new Prairie grid coach

There were strong indications Thursday that former Upper Iowa University quarterback Mike Morrissey will be the next head football coach at Cedar Rapids Prairie.

Morrissey, 28, was the head coach at Thornridge High School in Dolton, Ill., this past season.

"I can't really confirm anything now," Morrisey said Thursday afternoon.  He said he will be in Cedar Rapids on Friday.


Paige, Bohannon lead Lions into title tilt

DES MOINES -- Marcus Paige and Matt Bohannon were impressionable middle schoolers when Linn-Mar won the Class 4A state basketball title in 2007 for the second time in four years.

Now wily upper classmen, they'll have a chance to cement Linn-Mar's place in state history Saturday night when they play for the 2011 championship at Wells Fargo Arena.

Another title would give Linn-Mar three state crowns in eight years, the stuff of dynasties.

Paige scored 23 points Friday afternoon and Bohannon netted 19 as the top-ranked Lions handled No.4 Iowa City West, 63-48, in the topsy-turvy semifinals.

Linn-Mar will put its perfect 25-0 record on the line against No.3 Des Moines Hoover (23-2) Saturday night at 8:05 for the title.


This year's team is Linn-Mar's best

I'd like to offer a few reflections on my attendance at the boys state basketball tournament in Des Moines on Wednesday.

Linn-Mar's performance in the quarterfinals against Cedar Rapids Washington was about as good as it gets for the Lions. They came in No.1, unbeaten, and played like No.1.

Already, their legacy in tournament history is the talk of the state tournament, Roy Williams excluded. And I would like to add to that thought with a few comments.

When the whole story is written, I think this year's Linn-Mar team will stack up as not one of the best, but THE best that Linn-Mar has had. Why do I say that?

Number 1, it's the team concept, even though Linn-Mar has its star attractions. The thing that has impressed me during the regular season and in the tournament is the Lions' ability to score in bunches and to jump on teams early.

Oh yes, you can say it's Matt Bohannon, it's Marcus Paige, it's the organization and the coaching, but the thing I'll remember about this team is the way they pass the basketball and attack.

In the quarterfinals against Washington, they had at least two plays off the fast break that went the full length of the court, and the passing was so good that the ball never touched the floor.

That is extraordinary, and in the main this year's team has answered to extraordinary.


Lions face stingy Hoover for title

DES MOINES -- The Linn-Mar Lions will face one of the stingiest high school basketball teams in Iowa Saturday night when they meet Des Moines Hoover in the finals of the Class 4A state tournament.

Tipoff at Wells Fargo Arena is scheduled for 8:05 p.m.

Hoover (23-2) allowed an average of just 35.6 points per game during the regular season and prides itself on defense. Linn-Mar, meanwhile, has two of the top weapons in the state tournament and averages a healthy 69.2 points for the campaign.

Matt Bohannon has averaged 25.5 points in Linn-Mar's victories in the first two rounds of the state tournament and Marcus Paige has been producing 18.5 points, making them Target A and Target B for the Huskies in the finals.

"We look forward to the challenge," Hoover Coach Courtney Henderson said Friday. "They have a heck of a ballclub, they have a heck of a tradition. They're one of the best programs in the state."

Linn-Mar (25-0) is seeking its third state title in eight years, but points could be hard to come by. Hoover held nine teams to under 30 points this season, including just 18 by Des Moines Lincoln.


Stokes named Iowa's top player by Gatorade

CHICAGO -- Linn-Mar senior Kiah Stokes has been named the 2010-11 Gatorade Iowa Girls Basketball Player of the Year.  She also won the award last year.

Stokes now is eligible for the Gatorade national player of the year honor that will be announced later this month.

Stokes was named Miss Iowa Basketball earlier this week and is a consensus first team all-state pick. She averaged 25 points, 14.9 rebounds and 5.6 blocked shots this season and finished her career as Iowa's all-time shot blocker with 515.  She also is No. 4 on the state's all-time rebounding list with 1,239 and she scored 1,704 career points. She will play in the McDonald's All-American Game and Women's Basketball Coaches Association All-America Game.

Stokes also has signed a letter of intent to play basketball on scholarship at two-time defending NCAA champion Connecticut.

Stokes is the second Linn-Mar player to win the Gatorade honor in the 26 years it has been awarded. Jamie Printy won the award in 2008-09 and has quickly established herself as one of the top players in the Big Ten as a guard at Iowa.  Iowa City High's Kelly Krei, also an Iowa standout, won the award in 2007-08.



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