Saturday, February 23, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Marion boys chasing 4th state trip

The Marion Indians will be seeking their fourth trip to the boys state basketball tournament in school history Monday night when they face Benton in the Class 3A substate finals at the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.

This is the rubber match between the two Wamac Conference teams this season. The Indians (16-7) and Bobcats (16-7) split two games during the regular season, with each team winning at home.

Benton won the first game in a squeaker, 57-56, in early January. Marion prevailed in the second meeting in a lopsided game, 61-40, just three weeks ago.

Marion reached the state tournament in 1950 and 1952, then had to wait 57 years before making a return trip in 2009 when Kasey Semler, Dusty Albaugh and Tyler Fisher were sophomores. Semler leads the Indians at 21.8 points per game and Albaugh contributes 12.1 per contest.

Semler has dropped into second place in Class 3A scoring after holding the top spot for much of the season. Cole Darrow of Underwood is the new leader at 22.1 points.

Benton is led by seniors Zach Twedt (15.4 points) and Mitch Lester (12.6).

There is a Class 3A substate doubleheader at the U.S. Cellular Center. Fifth-ranked Solon (21-2) faces 10th-ranked Dubuque Wahlert (17-6) at 6:30.


Toothless Lions whipped by Waverly-SR

The Linn-Mar Lions tried to wrestle Waverly-Shell Rock with a depleted lineup Saturday at the Dual Team Championships.

The result was predictable.

The toothless Lions got trounced by the Waverly wrestling machine, 58-10, in the Class 3A quarterfinals at the U.S. Cellular Center.

Waverly-Shell Rock finished third after losing to Bettendorf in the semifinals and beating Southeast Polk. Iowa City West beat Bettendorf, 33-19, for the championship.

Linn-Mar had only four wrestlers at their accustomed spots in the 14-man lineup due to injury, illness and an inability to make weight at the end of a grueling campaign.

It was a recipe for a wipeout against Waverly-Shell Rock, which won the traditional state wrestling tournament in Des Moines last week and has one of the top programs in the state.

"That was the best (lineup) we had," said Linn-Coach Doug Streicher.

Linn-Mar nudged North Scott, 30-29, in the regional tournament Tuesday to qualify for the state duals, but Streicher knew it would be tough to hold the lineup together.

"A couple of guys were really, really hurting on Tuesday," he said. "We knew they probably weren't getting down (to make weight) twice this week. Then we had some sickness going through the lineup with the other guys and a couple of injuries, I guess."


Saunders hustles J-Hawks into substate final

If Jarrod Uthoff is Iowa’s “Mr. Basketball”, then Alec Saunders should get votes for the “Mr. Hustle Award.” If there is such a thing.

The No. 8-ranked Jefferson J-Hawks got a stellar 27-point, 15-rebound performance from MVP-candidate Uthoff and a blue-collar-lunch-bucket display from Saunders to defeat a pesky Western Dubuque team, 60-50, in a Class 4A substate semifinal at Jefferson High School Friday night.

Jefferson (16-5) plays Waterloo West (9-14) Tuesday night at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls in the substate final for the right to go to the state tournament. Waterloo West upset Cedar Falls, 52-49, Friday night.

Saunders drained two 3-pointers and had 11 points, three steals and three assists, including a number of outstanding “effort plays” that won’t show up in the boxscore.


Hempstead stuns No. 5 Kennedy boys

The Dubuque Hempstead boys had Kennedy right where they wanted them for Friday night’s Class 4A substate semifinal in the Kennedy gym.

The underachieving Mustangs (11-12) had lost to the fifth-ranked Cougars (17-5) just last week by a 77-60 margin that wasn’t as close as the score indicated.

Kennedy, meanwhile, was coming off of an emotional 63-57 overtime win at Cedar Falls a week ago and was favored to advance to next Tuesday’s substate final.

And Hempstead, a 50-47 upset winner at Bettendorf on Monday, was again playing on the road, where it oddly enough lost only two games all year.

So, it was not all that surprising  for the Stangs (as they’re identified on their warm-up jerseys) to convincingly whip Kennedy 58-54 in last night’s rematch.


All-star game April 1 features Metro stars

Imagine an all-star basketball game with Metro stars Jarrod Uthoff, Josh Oglesby, Matt Bohannon, Wes Washpun and Kasey Semler all on the same court at the same time.

Imagine no more. Thanks to Jamie Johnson and Elite Sports USA, the inaugural Eastern Iowa All-Star Game will be staged on Friday, April 1 at Linn-Mar High School.

It will be a doubleheader, featuring a girls all-star game at 6 p.m. and a boys game at approximately 7:30.

Johnson, 36, has deep roots in high school basketball circles. He founded the Iowa Barnstormers all-star basketball program in 2004 and prior to that worked for FutureStars.


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