Monday, March 19, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Saunders hustles J-Hawks into substate final

If Jarrod Uthoff is Iowa’s “Mr. Basketball”, then Alec Saunders should get votes for the “Mr. Hustle Award.” If there is such a thing.

The No. 8-ranked Jefferson J-Hawks got a stellar 27-point, 15-rebound performance from MVP-candidate Uthoff and a blue-collar-lunch-bucket display from Saunders to defeat a pesky Western Dubuque team, 60-50, in a Class 4A substate semifinal at Jefferson High School Friday night.

Jefferson (16-5) plays Waterloo West (9-14) Tuesday night at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls in the substate final for the right to go to the state tournament. Waterloo West upset Cedar Falls, 52-49, Friday night.

Saunders drained two 3-pointers and had 11 points, three steals and three assists, including a number of outstanding “effort plays” that won’t show up in the boxscore.


Hempstead stuns No. 5 Kennedy boys

The Dubuque Hempstead boys had Kennedy right where they wanted them for Friday night’s Class 4A substate semifinal in the Kennedy gym.

The underachieving Mustangs (11-12) had lost to the fifth-ranked Cougars (17-5) just last week by a 77-60 margin that wasn’t as close as the score indicated.

Kennedy, meanwhile, was coming off of an emotional 63-57 overtime win at Cedar Falls a week ago and was favored to advance to next Tuesday’s substate final.

And Hempstead, a 50-47 upset winner at Bettendorf on Monday, was again playing on the road, where it oddly enough lost only two games all year.

So, it was not all that surprising  for the Stangs (as they’re identified on their warm-up jerseys) to convincingly whip Kennedy 58-54 in last night’s rematch.


All-star game April 1 features Metro stars

Imagine an all-star basketball game with Metro stars Jarrod Uthoff, Josh Oglesby, Matt Bohannon, Wes Washpun and Kasey Semler all on the same court at the same time.

Imagine no more. Thanks to Jamie Johnson and Elite Sports USA, the inaugural Eastern Iowa All-Star Game will be staged on Friday, April 1 at Linn-Mar High School.

It will be a doubleheader, featuring a girls all-star game at 6 p.m. and a boys game at approximately 7:30.

Johnson, 36, has deep roots in high school basketball circles. He founded the Iowa Barnstormers all-star basketball program in 2004 and prior to that worked for FutureStars.


Trcka, Healy rule on the lanes

Xavier sophomore Tara Trcka, who won the Class 1A state bowling title Thursday, has been named the Metro's female bowler of the year and Jefferson senior Dan Healy is the male bowler of the year. Read about the All-Metro bowling team here.

Both bowlers also were honored by the Mississippi Valley Conference.

Trcka was named the Valley Division female bowler of the year. She and Jefferson junior Courtney Moore were unanimous all-conference selections. Read about the girls MVC bowling teams here.

Healy was the Valley Division male bowler of the year. He was joined on the first team by Michael Kilts. Linn-Mar had three bowlers on the Mississippi Division first team. Read about the boys MVC bowling teams here.


Tourney time could be good for Metro teams

At last we have hit tournament time, one of the most exciting times of the high school year athletically. Cedar Rapids and Marion, in both girls and boys basketball, should be well-represented in Des Moines.

First up will be Linn-Mar, as the defending girls champion, and Cedar Rapids Washington. Washington split two games with Linn-Mar in the regular season, which in my mind makes the Warriors viable contenders for the 4A state championship.

And on the boys side, does Cedar Rapids and Marion have an answer for last year's state titlist Ames? That was the Harrison Barnes era at Ames, and does Linn-Mar have an answer in the person of Marcus Paige?

In fact, it brings to mind the answer is a positive, because Paige is every bit the player that Barnes was with the Little Cyclones. And maybe come college time, Paige will be an even better player from his position and maybe become even more valuable to North Carolina than Barnes.


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