Thursday, January 18, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

State titles have eluded C.R. public schools

Cedar Rapids public schools are in the midst of an almost inexplicable drought when it comes to winning state championships in football and boys basketball. And the thing is, their public school brethren in other Metro areas aren’t in much better shape.

High schools in the Cedar Rapids Community School District – Jefferson, Kennedy and Washington – have gone 38 years without a state football title and 26 years since winning a state basketball championship.  Jefferson is the only one among the three to win in football, that coming in the inaugural playoff derby in 1972. The last basketball titles for public school boys programs were in 1984 for Kennedy, 1969 for Washington and 1967 for Jefferson.


Wash girls top Xavier; Linn-Mar next

Washington Coach Frank Howell wanted to enjoy Monday night's 47-37 victory over Xavier before thinking about what's coming up next.

The Warriors host Kiah Stokes and No. 3 Linn-Mar on Thursday, but Howell wasn't ready to peek ahead.

"I'll try not to think about it until tomorrow morning, because I want to try and get some sleep," he said. "And if I think about that too hard, I probably won't be well-rested by Thursday."

The Warriors took care of business Monday to set up Thursday's big showdown for the Mississippi Valley Conference lead. Washington and Linn-Mar are both 7-1 in the Mississippi Division of the MVC, so the winner gets sole possesion of the lead.

"We can do it," said Jazz Royster, who led the Warriors with 13 points Monday. "We just have to find a way to keep Kiah from getting the ball."

Kiah is the incomparable Kiah Stokes, the prep All-American who will play for the Connecticut Huskies next season.


J-Hawk boys up to No. 2 in 4A poll

Jefferson moved up to the No. 2 spot in the Associated Press Class 4A boys basketball poll released Monday (Jan. 10).

Linn-Mar (9-0) remains the No. 1 team in the state. Jefferson (7-1), which escaped Iowa City West in overtime Friday night, moved up to No. 2 when Sioux City East was upset by Hull Western Christian, 54-50, Saturday night in Sioux City.

Kennedy (8-1) dropped two spots to No. 6 after being upset by Class 3A No. 10 Dubuque Wahlert Tuesday at Dubuque. The Cougars rebounded with a pair of wins at Sioux City over the weekend.

Washington (6-3) is the fourth Metro team in the rankings. The Warriors are tied with Davenport Central for No. 10.

The new rankings set up a pair of interesting games Friday night when Linn-Mar plays at Washington and Jefferson at Kennedy. Both games are scheduled to tip at 7:30.


Offers came early for Paige

MINNEAPOLIS -- Marcus Paige was just 14 years old, not yet in high school, when college basketball coaches began offering him full scholarships to attend their schools.

The first offer came from Ben Jacobson, the head coach at the University of Northern Iowa. The very next day, then-Iowa State coach Greg McDermott invited Paige to become a Cyclone.

This was during the summer of 2007, shortly after Paige had graduated from the eighth grade. College was still five years away, yet Jacobson and McDermott were willing to bet that the skinny, precocious point would grow into someone special.

They were right, but Roy Williams and the University of North Carolina won the grand prize. Paige committed to the Tar Heels on Thursday and made the announcement Saturday night before playing for Linn-Mar at the Timberwolves Shootout.


Mahmens picks UM-Duluth

Linn-Mar senior Mac Mahmens has accepted a scholarship to play football at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, which won the NCAA Division II national title this past season with a 15-0 record.

Mahmens visited Minnesota-Duluth this weekend, was offered a scholarship Sunday morning and accepted Sunday afternoon. Certain of his decision, he called one of Duluth's assistant coaches with the news while driving back to Iowa with his father.

"I knew that's the place for me," Mahmens told the Metro Sports Report. "It's awesome up there."

Mahmens is a 6-foot-2, 285-pound lineman who played offensive guard, defensive tackle and defensive end for Linn-Mar this past season. He said Minnesota-Duluth plans to put him in the middle of the offensive line at center, which is where he played for Linn-Mar in 2009.


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