Tuesday, March 19, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

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.


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.


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.


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