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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Stokes keeps Linn-Mar's dream alive at state

DES MOINES -- Kiah Stokes did not play a spectacular game at the state basketball tournament Wednesday, but she was spectacular in the final 30 seconds.

That was enough to keep Linn-Mar's dream alive of winning back-to-back state titles.

Stokes scored the go-ahead basket with 20 seconds left and blocked Ankeny's final shot at victory, giving the second-ranked Lions a tense 48-47 victory in the quarterfinals of the 4A state tournament at Wells Fargo Arena.

Linn-Mar (22-2) will face No.3 Iowa City West (22-2) in the semifinals Friday at noon.

Linn-Mar trailed, 47-46, following a three-point play by Ankeny's Maddie Manning with 30.3 seconds left, putting the defending champs in jeopardy of a quick exit. That's when Stokes took over.

The Lions lobbed the in-bounds pass to her near the Ankeny foul line, and in most cases the 6-foot-3 center would hand the ball to one of the guards. Ankeny took that option away, so Stokes brought the ball up court herself.

She got there and saw an opening.

"I saw one of their girls start to help (on defense), but she went away," said Stokes. "That was kind of my key to just continue going toward the basket."

She made a spin move and scored, giving Linn-Mar its 48-47 advantage, but there were still 20 seconds to go. As it turned out, it was a scary 20 seconds for the Lions.

Manning shot and missed, but got the rebound. She shot and missed again, but Ankeny got the ball again. Manning took a third shot, Stokes blocked it, there was contact, the ball hit Manning's leg and went out of bounds with 0.5 seconds remaining.


Tia terrific, but Warriors lose

DES MOINES -- Tia Dawson played a magnificent game for Cedar Rapids Washington in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state basketball tournament Wednesday morning.

Unfortunately for Dawson and the Warriors, it will be the last high school game she'll ever play.

Iowa City West blitzed Washington in the fourth quarter with a 28-point barrage and topped the sixth-ranked Warriors, 67-58, at the Wells Fargo Arena.

Dawson, a 6-foot-2 senior who is bound for Dartmouth, poured in 27 points, grabbed 14 rebounds (setting another school record), and blocked three shots. But it wasn't enough.


An historic night for Metro boys basketball

It was an historic night for Metro boys basketball Tuesday at the U.S. Cellular Center.
Everyone who follows high school basketball around these parts was well aware that we have been witnessing something very special this season. That fact was validated when four boys Metro teams qualified for the state tournament in Des Moines next week.

Never before has the Metro sent four teams. On three other occassions three teams qualified. When the postseason pairings were released early last month, many of us realized this could be the year for this amazing breakthrough.
Now it has happened.
Enjoy it everyone ... because you never know when a year like this with great teams and amazingingly talented individuals is going to come around again. The last time, in my judgment, was 27 years ago.
Now, let's take a look at the Metro's prospects this year in Des Moines.


Linn-Mar, Prairie open indoor season strong

WAVERLY -- Brandon Ophoff and Kyle Dunn of Linn-Mar finished 1-2 in the 55 meter high hurdles at the Wartburg Indoor Track meet Tuesday.

Dunn, the state champion in the 400 hurdles last year, won his heat in 7.75 seconds, but Ophoff nipped him by two-hundredths of a second in the finals, clocking 7.86 to Dunn's 7.88.

Linn-Mar won the 800 relay and 1600 relay. Michael Detert, Aaron Hunter, Tommy Feller and Jake Luerkens ran the 800 relay. Dunn, Nick Lucas, Jordan Kremer and Matt Simon ran on the 1600 relay.

Prairie captured the sprint medley relay and the 3200 relay. Josh Rundall, Bryce Alberts, Matt Stocker and Jordan Burns ran the sprint medley. Kyle Stocker, Justin Burns, Matt Stocker and Jordan Burns captured the 3200 relay.

Kyle Stocker took second in the 400 dash in 54.91.

Taylor Vogel won the girls 200 meter dash for Washington in 26.82 seconds. Leslie Harder of Prairie won the high jump at 5-feet.

Kristin Rogers of Washington placed second in the 3000 meter run in 11:12.85. Hannah Grimm of Prairie took second in the high school jump at 5-feet.


Lions back to state for 8th straight time

North Scott tried a gimmick defense that had some success against Linn-Mar standouts Marcus Paige and Matt Bohannon on Tuesday night in a Class 4A substate tournament at the U.S. Cellular Center.

But it turned out the only way to truly shutout Bohannon was by latching the locker room door.

Bohannon's steal and coast-to-coast layup highlighted a 25-0 Linn-Mar run that carried the top-ranked Lions past North Scott, 50-25, and into the boys state basketball tournament for a record eighth straight year.

The Lions (23-0) earned the top seed in the tournament and will play eighth seeded Cedar Rapids Washington (17-8) next Wednesday (March 9) at 1:45 p.m.  The Warriors whipped Dubuque Hempstead, 56-31, in Tuesday's nightcap at the U.S. Cellular Center. Linn-Mar beat Washington twice during the regular season, 80-55 and 62-41.

Linn-Mar will be after its third state title in the last eight years. The Lions started their consecutive tourney appearance streak in 2004, when they won the Class 4A state title. They also won it in 2007.   The Lions had been tied with Cedar Rapids Regis for the longest streak of consecutive state tournament appearances. The Royals went seven straight times from 1989-95.

"Eight straight, people might say it gets old," said Bohannon, who scored 10 of his game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter. "But it never gets old. Every time is sweet. For some of us, this is our third time there. I can honestly say that the other two times have been good, but going back there is going to be great."

Paige and Ian McBrayer added 10 points apiece for Linn-Mar.  Darren Dillon had 12 points for North Scott (16-7).


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