Thursday, October 17, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Tigers clip J-Hawks in key MVC tilt

The Cedar Falls Tigers took a big step toward winning a division basketball title Monday night by beating Jefferson in an important game at Jefferson.

If these two teams meet again, a trip to the state tournament would be the grand prize.

 James Harrington poured in 24 points as the seventh-ranked Tigers tripped the ninth-ranked J-Hawks, 60-54, to grab control of the Valley Division race in the Mississippi Valley Conference.

Cedar Falls (10-2) has a two-game lead over Jefferson (8-4) in the Valley Division with four MVC games left in the regular season, so the Tigers are in command.

Winning a division title is nice, but making the state tournament in Des Moines is twice as nice. The Tigers and J-Hawks could meet in the Class 4A substate finals at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls on March 1 in a rematch.

"It would be a tough game," said Jarrod Uthoff, who had a difficult time Monday night. "If we both end up there, it will be a tough matchup like this one."


Solid Strait racks up stats for Cougars

Courtney Strait is quietly having a superlative year for the Kennedy girls basketball team.

Strait, a junior, ranks in the top-10 in the Metro area in seven major categories and leads the Metro in free throw shooting at a healthy 80.6 percent.

She also ranks second in scoring (15.2), second in steals (51), third in rebounds (6.7), sixth in blocked shots (13), sixth in 3-pointers (23) and ninth in field goal shooting (41.9%).

Kiah Stokes of Linn-Mar continues to lead the Metro by wide margins in scoring (24.6), rebounding (14.7), field goal shooting (72.1) and blocked shots (97). She leads the state in scoring and field goal percentage.

Here are the top-10 in the Metro in eight major categories, based on statistics posted on the IGHSAU website through Monday.


1. Stokes, Linn-Mar, 24.6; 2. Strait, Kennedy, 15.2; 3. Jacobson, Jefferson, 12.7; 4. Dawson, Washington, 11.4; 5. Peyton, Marion, 10.3; 6. Saxen, Xavier, 10.2; 7. Dellamuth, Prairie, 9.4; 8. Steffeny, Jefferson, 9.8; 9. Meier, Kennedy, 9.6; 10. (tie) Royster, Washington, 9.4; K.Kramer, Marion, 9.4.


Linn-Mar boys No. 1, Kennedy up to 3

Linn-Mar is a unanimous choice as the No. 1 boys basketball team in the Associated Press Class 4A poll released Monday.

Linn-Mar (17-0) is the only unbeaten team in Class 4A. The Lions have been ranked No. 1 all season.

Kennedy (15-2) moved up one spot to No. 3 in this week's poll and Jefferson (12-3) dropped three spots into a tie for No. 9. Kennedy is four points behind No. 2 Ankeny (14-2), which moved up three spots from a week ago.

Jefferson is tied with Iowa City West (12-4). The J-Hawks were beaten by the Trojans, 59-45, Friday.

Sioux City Heelan (16-2), PCM Monroe (18-0) and Iowa Mennonite (18-0) are the top-ranked teams in the other three classes.


1. Linn-Mar (17-0), 2. Ankeny (14-2), 3. Kennedy (15-2), 4. Des Moines Hoover (15-2), 5. Sioux City East (13-3), 6. Davenport West (14-2), 7. Cedar Falls (11-3), 8. Waukee (13-4), 9. (tie) Jefferson (12-3) and Iowa City West (12-4).

Others receiving votes -- West Des Moines Valley 2, North Scott 2, West Des Moines Dowling 1.



Remembering the glory and tragedy of Hugh Leffingwell

When a Marion boys basketball player approaches 1,000 points for his career it's a remarkable achievement. Only six Marion players have achieved that milestone.

And when a new player reaches it, as Kasey Semler did Saturday, Marion old-timers start to think again about a bulky, blond kid who scorched the nets for the Indians more than half a century ago.

His name was Hugh Leffingwell, and he is still remembered by many as Marion's greatest basketball player. He is also remembered as the most tragic. But that part of the story comes later.

Semler, the Indians' point guard, scored 42 points Saturday to join the exclusive 1,000-point club at 1,005. He's averaging 22.9 points a game, one of the top marks in the state.

Amry Shelby notched 1,126 points just two years ago as he led the Indians to the state tourney, where they lost by a single point in the first round. Scott Benest had 1,013 in 1993, and was named to the All-Metro team as both a junior and senior.

In 1983, Todd Twachtmann, who was listed as a varsity player for four years, ended with 1,214 points and was named to the fourth All-State team. Gregg Anderson finished with 1,088 in 1973, when Marion won the Wamac championship and Anderson was named to the third All-State team.

Hugh Leffingwell scored 1,308. Of these, 1,282 came in his junior and senior years. The rest were scored in his sophomore year, when he was brought up late in the season from the freshman-sophomore team.


Dunn chooses Hogs over Hawks

Kyle Dunn had a choice to make.

Dunn, a two-time Iowa state champion in the 400 meter hurdles for Linn-Mar, was being courted by Iowa and national track power Arkansas.

On the one hand you had Iowa and former national champion 400 meter hurdler Joey Woody, a Hawkeye assistant coach.

On the other, you had the irrepressible Chris Bucknam, who built Northern Iowa into a national contender with Iowans such as Woody before being wooed away to Arkansas three years ago.

"I know Joey's a great coach, but to have the coaches that made Joey so great, I knew that could definitely be advantageous for me," Dunn said of his choosing the Razorbacks, who have won 11 outdoor and 19 indoor NCAA team championships since 1984.

"Arkansas is perenially a good track program," Dunn said. "I knew the track coaches were previously at UNI and I heard great things about Coach Bucknam, coach (Doug) Case and coach (Travis) Geopfert."

But Arkansas was a long shot when the recruiting process started. 


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