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Wednesday, December 11, 2019
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Metro Sports Report

Jarrod Uthoff is Iowa's Mr. Basketball

Jefferson senior Jarrod Uthoff, who burst onto the national recruiting scene last summer on the AAU circuit then went out and led the state in scoring this winter, has been named the 2011 Iowa Mr. Basketball by the Iowa Newspaper Association.

Uthoff, a 6-foot-8 forward who is wiry strong on the inside rebounding yet possesses a light, almost delicate touch shooting from the outside, is the sixth Metro prep to win the award and the first since Linn-Mar's Jason Bohannon won it in 2006. Like Bohannon did, Uthoff is headed to Wisconsin to play for the Badgers.

Uthoff led the state in scoring with a 26.2 average, despite often being double- and triple-teamed by opponents. He led the J-Hawks to a 17-6 record and back-to-back state tournament appearances.

Uthoff is the first Jefferson player to win the Mr. Basketball award. Linn-Mar has had two (Bohannon and Tod Lumsden), and Kennedy (Al Lorenzen), Regis (Adam Spanich) and Prairie (Justin Wessel) have had one apiece.

Twice the Metro has had winners in consecutive years. Lumsden and Lorenzen won back-to-back in 1983 and '84, and Spanich and Wessel did likewise in 1995 and '96.

 

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UNI coach impressed with Bohannon's skills

The Linn-Mar Lions wore the biggest smiles Saturday night after they won the Class 4A state basketball title.

The second-biggest smile belonged to University of Northern Iowa Coach Ben Jacobson. He hit the jackpot in Des Moines.

On Friday night, UNI signee Seth Tuttle led West Fork to the Class 2A title. Then on Saturday night, UNI signee Matt Bohannon helped Linn-Mar win the 4A crown.

Jacobson was there both nights, cheering for his future Panthers, envisioning them in Purple and Gold.

Tuttle, a 6-foot-8 forward, and Bohannon, a 6-4 guard, were delighted to see Jacobson, who had a floor pass and congratulated his prized recruits at Wells Fargo Arena.

Jacobson saw Bohannon torch Cedar Rapids Washington for a career-best 32 points in the quarterfinals Wednesday and saw him scorch Des Moines Hoover for 25 in the finals. Jacobson missed Bohannon's performance in the semifinals Friday afternoon because UNI had practice in Cedar Falls, but a Panther assistant coach was there.

Bohannon was named the captain of the Class 4A all-tournament team and was named the MVP for the entire tournament, regardless of class.

"The thing that we're most excited about is, Matt just keeps getting better and better all the time. He's obviously worked at it," said Jacobson. "He's a competitive kid, he's an unselish kid, and winning is the most important thing to him.

"A lot of the qualities that are hard to find, he's got them," said Jacobson. "And on top of that, he's a good player."

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Observations from the state tournaments

Well, things are beginning to return to normal. I'm catching up on my sleep and, above all, trying to eat healthier again after two weeks of the basic four "junk food" groups! Now that the state tournaments are in the rear-view mirror, here are a few things I took note of from the past two weeks:
 
Contact, Part I
Let's welcome the girls to the "No blood, no foul" club. It was the most physical girls tournament I have ever witnessed. I can't imagine E. Wayne Cooley , the former leader of the Girls Union tolerating the pushing and shoving and continuous contact that I witnessed! It sure wasn't the bygone era of 6-on-6 anymore!
 
Contact, Part II
Actually thought the contact may have been down for the boys tournaments, until the semifinals came and it was every man for himself again. At times the players are not playing basketball. It's football without the pads. Something needs to be done to address the physical play, especially off the ball and out of eye-shot of the officials.
 
Protect the Shooter
This one is in conjunction with my good friend and broadcast partner Phil Dunne. You can't have a kid shooting a jump shot get run over on the release, If you don't call this, basketball resorts to a sort of Darwinistic mentality. We saw more kids being thrown down after shooting a jump shot this year than ever before. Only a handful of fouls were called.
 
Free Throw Shooting
Worst year of foul shooting, aside from a precious few teams, that we have ever seen. Young kids, do you want to be assured of playing? Practice free throws!! You shoot over 70% and you will play at the end of games. But practicing free throws went out with short shorts and fundamentals.
 

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Warrior girls bounce into track season

CEDAR FALLS -- The Cedar Rapids Washington girls basketball team lost a tough game to Iowa City West in the quarterfinals of the state tournament on Wednesday, March 2.

The next day, Layloni Beard and Brooke Foreman reported for track practice. Alyssa Oney waited a few days, but she quickly made the transition from basketball as well.

"I think getting right into track gives you something else to look forward to," said Oney. "We can all burn out our anger or disappointment that we had."

The Warriors will not easily forget their 67-58 loss to Iowa City West, considering they had a six-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but Beard, Foreman and Oney felt good about what happened at the Mississippi Valley Conference indoor track meet Tuesday at the UNI-Dome.

The three Washington basketball players joined freshman Elena Burke to capture the shuttle hurdle relay in 40.71 seconds, nipping Iowa City West by eight-hundredths of a second.

"It was good," said Beard. "All of us ran well."

There were more good things to come for the Warriors.

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A 'Hippleman' enters the Hall

DES MOINES -- It's been nearly 50 years since Gordon Rundquist played basketball for Coach Les Hipple at Marion High School, but he'll always be a "Hippleman" and will always be grateful.

Rundquist was inducted into the IHSAA Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday night for his accomplishments as a coach, most notably at Maquoketa Valley from 1970 to 2005, but it all began under the watchful eye of Hipple in the 1950s and '60s.

"He was more like a father to me," said Rundquist. "My parents were divorced, and he started taking care of me in about the fourth grade. He'd give me rides to school.

"He lived a block from my house. He'd let me into the gym to shoot. It was a great, great experience."

Hipple was known as a stern disciplinarian who had strict rules about driving (don't, unless absolutely necessary) and girlfriends (avoid them). Those rules were broken on a regular basis, but there were consequences.

"Of course we had girlfriends back in that time," said Rundquist. "We'd be standing by our locker with our girlfriend, and you'd feel this warm glow on the back of your head and you'd look around and there's Coach standing there.

"He never said anything," Rundquist remarked. "You just went down to the gym before practice and 'Twice up the ropes' for talking to a girl in the hall. You just did it. 'That's once, Coach. That's twice.' You knew what the punishment was."

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