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Monday, October 23, 2017
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor
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Metro Sports Report

Telling the story of A Coach's Life

(Editor’s Note: Dan Kellams, a Marion High School graduate, is the author of “A Coach’s Life: Les Hipple and the Marion Indians,” the fascinating biography of one of Iowa’s greatest high school coaches. Kellams played four sports under the coach.)

At first, I had no intention of writing a book. Certainly not one that would take 10 years to finish.

The task began when I attended the 45th reunion of my Marion High School class in 1999. I had not seen most of my classmates for years, and the experience left me weak with nostalgia. Les Hipple, the coach who had dominated our high school days, had died a few months earlier. I told my classmates I was going to write something about Coach Hipple.

As the research began, word started going around that I was writing a book about Les Hipple.

“No, no,” I said. “I’m not going to write a book.  Something else ... an article maybe.  I can’t do a book.”

Eventually I realized that Les Hipple’s story had to be a book. The influence he had on so many athletes required it. And the arc of his career at Marion, where he rose to glory and fell in disgrace, had elements of classic tragedy that could not be summarized in an article.

Hired in 1945 to bring discipline to the school, he was fired in 1965 for being too strict. When everything around him changed, the coach did not, and it cost him a job he loved.

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This wasn't your mother's brand of basketball

Until the 1970s, there were no girls basketball teams in the Metro area. When basketball was introduced here, it was the 6-on-6, two-court variety.

Forwards played offense, guards played defense and neither were allowed to cross half court. A girl could dribble no more than twice. Defenders touching the ball in the offensive player’s hand were called for a foul.

My, how things have changed.

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Linn-Mar boys still No. 1

Undefeated Linn-Mar is still the No. 1 Class 4A boys basketball team in the state according to the Associated Press rankings released Monday.

Two other Metro teams also are ranked. Kennedy dropped one spot to fifth in this week's poll and Jefferson advanced two spots to No. 6.

Washington was among the teams receiving votes.

Linn-Mar (13-0) received all 13 first-place votes. Ankeny (11-1) moved up one spot to No. 2 and Cedar Falls (9-2) jumped four spots to third. Sioux City East fell three spots to fourth, followed by Kennedy and Jefferson.

The top-ranked teams in the other classes are Sioux City Heelan (13-0) in 3A, Hull Western Christian (13-1) in 2A and Iowa Mennonite (13-0) in 1A.

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Kiah Stokes leads Metro by wide margins

When it comes to Metro girls basketball, there's Kiah Stokes and there's everybody else.

Stokes leads the Metro in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and field goal percentage by wide margins in all four categories.

The Linn-Mar All-American is averaging 24.3 points, 14.9 rebounds, 4.8 blocks and hitting 70.8 percent of her shots as she continues to have a stellar senior campaign.

Two of her teammates top the Metro charts as well, with Kailee Karr leading in assists (62) and Jenna Eells leading in 3-pointers (31).

Annie Dale of Xavier leads the Metro in steals (48) and Courtney Strait of Kennedy leads in free throw shooting (84.5%).

The leaders are based on statistics posted by the IGHSAU through Sunday.

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Uthoff, Paige, Oglesby top Metro stats

Jarrod Uthoff, Marcus Paige and Josh Oglesby lead Metro basketball players in multiple categories this week.

Uthoff, the Jefferson star who has signed with Wisconsin, tops the Metro in scoring (26.3 ppg), rebounding (9.9) and blocked shots (36).

Paige, the Linn-Mar star who has committed to North Carolina, leads the Metro in steals (48) and is tied with Wes Washpun of Washington for most assists (53).

Oglesby, the Washington star who has signed with Iowa, paces the Metro in most 3-pointers (36) and best free throw shooting (90.3%).

Ian McBrayer of Linn-Mar leads the Metro in field goal percentage (67.1%).

The Metro leaders are based on statistics filed with the Iowa High School Athletic Association through Sunday.

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