Thursday, September 20, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

From Panthers to prep stars

Three area high school seniors who grew up together on a steady diet of basketball are winding up their senior seasons.

Alissa Oney (Washington), Kiah Stokes (Linn-Mar) and Kristin Kramer (Marion) were teammates on the AAU state championship Cedar Rapids Panthers team and played together for all six years (third grade through eighth grade) of the program.

The three won many 3-on-3 tourneys and were also 3-on-3 Iowa Games state champs in 2008. Their coach, Kathy Oney, gives all the credit to Mike Whited, who, according to Oney, laid the foundation when he started the program back in 1984.

“When kids came out of the Panther program, they had the foundation of basketball skills. We worked on fundamentals with repetition, ball handling, shooting, and doing things the right way. He taught me so much,” said Kathy Oney.


Looking ahead to the girls tournament

The tickets have been punched. Thirty-two teams in four classes are headed off to the capitol city and the Girls State Basketball Tournament next week. Included in that number are a pair of Metro teams in Linn-Mar and Washington.
There is something magical about watching teams celebrate after winning a championship, or in this case, earning a trip to state.
Before we take a look at the 4A field, a few comments about the week in Des Moines are in order. For the most part the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union does an outstanding job of hosting the annual affair at Wells Fargo Arena. I do have a couple of suggestions, though.
First of all, get rid of the dreaded 10 a.m. game on the first three days of the tournament. No games should be played at that time. In fact, no games of any kind should be played at that early hour.


Marion squeezes into 3A substate final

Dusty Albaugh and Kasey Semler got a taste of the Class 3A boys state basketball tournament in 2009 when they were sophomores. Now they want a full meal.

They could get it Monday night.

Albaugh scored 17 points Thursday night as Marion slipped by Mount Vernon, 38-37, in the Class 3A district finals on a neutral court at Kennedy High School.

Marion (16-7) will face Benton (16-7) in the substate finals Monday at 8 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Center for the right to play in the state tournament in Des Moines from March 8-12.

"It's a goal of ours to get back to state," said Albaugh, who made five 3-pointers Thursday. "Kasey and I and Tyler (Fisher), we know what that was like. We want another taste of that."


Northrup: I stuck to my convictions

Joel Northrup said on national television Wednesday (Feb. 23) morning that he decided in the fifth grade that he would never wrestle against a girl again.

Northrup is the Linn-Mar sophomore who forfeited his opening-round match in the Iowa state wrestling tournament last Thursday because he did not want to compete against Cassy Herkelman of Cedar Falls, one of two girls to make the tournament this year.

Northrup has declined interviews with local and state media, but he was scheduled to speak Wednesday morning with national correspondents from CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox from the KGAN studios in Cedar Rapids.

Northrup appeared on "The Early Show" on CBS. He was asked to explain his decision not to wrestle against Herkelman, which the family said last Thursday was based on religious principles.

"Wrestling is a combat sport," Northrup told CBS. "It gets violent at times. You get put in compromising holds and positions. I just don't think it's right that a boy should engage a girl in a manner like this."

Northrup finished third in the 2010 state tournament at 103 pounds and was ranked No.5 in the state at 112 pounds heading into the 2011 tournament. He won a consolation match after defaulting to Herkelman, then lost a match and was eliminated without placing.

The CBS correspondent reminded Northrup that Herkelman accepted the possible consequences of wrestling against a boy. Herkelman competed for the Cedar Falls varsity all season.

"I mean, she deserves to be out there, but I do believe that if she does wrestle, she should wrestle other girls and I should wrestle other boys," said Northrup.

Northrup was asked by CBS if he thinks he "cheated" Herkelman of an opportunity to compete.

"It's kind of a tough situation. I don't believe so," he replied. "I just had to stick with my convictions. It's hard for her, but I just hold on to what I decided in fifth grade, that I wouldn't wrestle a girl."


Stokes heads MVC honor teams

The honors keep coming for Linn-Mar senior Kiah Stokes.

Stokes was named first team all-Mississippi Valley Conference and Mississippi Division Athlete of the Year the league announced Wednesday.  Earlier in the day she was named the Cedar Rapids-Marion Metro Player of the Year.

Stokes, a McDonald's All-American, was one of seven Metro athletes to earn MVC first team honors. The league selects all-conference teams by division. Joining Stokes on the Mississippi Division team are Washington senior Tia Dawson and Kennedy junior Courtney Strait.  First team selections in the Valley Division are Prairie freshman Madison Dellamuth, Jefferson sophomore Taylor Jacobson and Xavier seniors Alex Saxen and Krissi Tow.

Stokes, Dellamuth and Saxen were unanimous selections.

Five Metro athletes are on the second teams. Linn-Mar senior Jenna Eells, Washington senior Alissa Oney and Kennedy senior Olivia Meier are on the Mississippi Division second team. Jefferson sophomore Kaitlyn Davidson and Xavier junior Emily Walvoord are on the Valley Division second team.

Coaches of the Year are Dr. Tony Pappas from Waterloo West in the Mississippi Division and B.J. Mayer of Iowa City West in the Valley Division. The Valley Division Athlete of the Year is Iowa City West sophomore Ally Disterhoft.


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