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Friday, May 25, 2018
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Metro Sports Report

Stokes ends career on bench, in tears

DES MOINES -- Kiah Stokes ended her remarkable high school career in tears Friday afternoon.

She fouled out, Linn-Mar lost in overtime and her dream of winning back-to-back state titles evaporated.

Iowa City West rallied from a 14-point deficit and trimmed the second-ranked Lions, 65-58, in the semifinals of the Class 4A tournament at Wells Fargo Arena.

Stokes saved Linn-Mar with a 3-pointer with five seconds left in regulation -- just the second 3-pointer of her All-American career -- but she fouled out with 2:19 left in overtime and the Lions did not score a single point in her absence.

Stokes sat on the bench after the game ended, wiping away the tears, and was still sobbing more than 15 minutes later.

"I love my teammates," she said between sobs.

Stokes ended her prep career with incredible numbers. She scored 1,704 points, grabbed 1,239 rebounds and blocked 515 shots. She set school records in all three categories, set a state mark for blocked shots and finished fourth in state history in rebounds.

"Quite a ride," said Linn-Mar Coach Mike Brandt.

Linn-Mar jumped to a quick 18-4 lead in the first quarter and looked like it might bury the jittery Women of Troy, but Iowa City West settled down, forced turnovers, began making shots and outscored the Lions 24-8 in the second quarter.

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Bruns family gets to state basketball tourney

First up: A tip of the fedora to the four Metro area teams that have qualified for the boys state basketball tournament next week. Let's hope they all play up to their potential and show the rest of the state the fine basketball that's been played in the Metro area this year.

My impression of the two Class 4A substate finals at the U.S. Cellular Center Tuesday night was like watching two baseball no-hitters with the lack of scoring by the two visiting teams, North Scott and Dubuque Hempstead. Yes, they had near-shutouts pitched against them in the second half of their games against Linn-Mar and Washington.

With the state finals coming up, there are always stories within the story. So it was in Marion's victory in the Class 3A substate finals on Monday.

One of the assistant coaches at Marion, on a volunteer basis with the varsity, is Wes Bruns, who was an outstanding player at Cedar Rapids Prairie, where his late father Laverne Bruns was a very successful high school coach. But, Laverne Bruns never got a team to the state tournament. And when his son came along, the son also never got to the state
tournament as a player.

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Unash to be honored at state boys basketball

Scott Unash has been selected to receive a media award from the Iowa High School Athletic Association, the group announced Thursday.

Unash is program director at KGYM and a columnist for the Metro Sports Report. He has worked in radio the past 23 years, the first two at KOUR in Independence and the last 21 at KCRG and KGYM.  He is a 1984 graduate of Kennedy High School and graduated from the University of Iowa in 1988.

Six times Unash has been named top play-by-play announcer by the Iowa Broadcast News Association. He regularly calls high school football and girls and boys basketball games. He also has called high school baseball, Hawkeye Downs racing, Cedar Rapids Kernels baseball and college contests during his career.

Unash will receive his award between the Class 1A and 2A boys basketball championship games on Friday, March 11.

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Uthoff, Oglesby, Paige are MVC MVPs

Jefferson's Jarrod Uthoff has been named Player of the Year in the Valley Division and Washington's Josh Oglesby and Linn-Mar's Marcus Paige share the same honor in the Mississippi Division on the Mississippi Valley Conference boys basketball all-conference teams.

Uthoff, a senior headed for Wisconsin, leads the state in scoring with a 26.2 average and also averages 11.2 rebounds per game. He has the J-Hawks headed back to the state tournament for a second straight year.

Oglesby, a senior who will play for the Iowa Hawkeyes, is the Class 4A second-ranked scorer in the state with a 21.4 average.  He and senior teammate Wes Washpun, a first team Mississippi Division selection, have guided the Warriors back to the state tournament for a second straight season.

Paige, a junior who has committed to play for Coach Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels, is Linn-Mar's floor leader at point guard. He is a silky smooth shooter with a soft touch and a deft passer. He leads the top-ranked and undefeated Lions in scoring with a 17.7 average, and is shooting just over 50 percent from 3-point range. The Lions are making their eighth straight state tournament appearance and bidding for their third title in that span.

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Linn-Mar, IC West: Familiar foes with contrasting styles

There won't be any surprises when Linn-Mar plays Iowa City West in the semifinals of the Class 4A girls state basketball tournament Friday in Des Moines.

Tipoff at Wells Fargo Arena is scheduled for noon.

Linn-Mar likes to pound the ball inside to All-American center Kiah Stokes and let the 6-foot-3 senior go to work, relying on her deft touch and ambidextrous moves.

Iowa City West, by contrast, likes to run, press and launch 3-pointers at every opportunity, preferring an up-tempo game that produces turnovers and points in clusters.

If Stokes has a really big game, the Lions will probably win. If Iowa City West turns the game into a track meet, the Women of Troy will greatly increase their odds.

"They're a fast-paced team and they love to run," said Stokes, who averages 25.2 points. "I think we just have to play our game, whether we want to run or whether we want to do a halfcourt set, because we do have a height advantage. It just depends on how the game is going."

Linn-Mar and Iowa City West don't need any fancy scouting reports at this stage of the season. They know each other from the Mississippi Valley Conference, they saw each other play in the quarterfinals Wednesday and know what to expect.

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Page 1365 of 1403

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