Friday, November 22, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

The Greatest Show in Iowa

Once again it’s time for the annual event known as the “8-Ring Circus”!

Of course we are talking about the state wrestling tournament, which begins its annual four-day run today (Wednesday) at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Many Metro wrestlers will be taking to the mats on Thursday morning in the 3A session, and while a team trophy will in all likelihood not be coming back to town, there are several opportunities for an individual title and many placewinners.

Speaking of the state wrestling tournament, I have been covering high school sports since 1989 and nothing can even hold a candle to the excitement that is produced at this event, especially on Saturday night during the finals.

While Wells Fargo Arena is a great venue and has all the amenities that the modern-day fan needs, the tournament shined brightest across the street at "The Barn" -- Veterans Auditorium. It didn’t matter the day, it didn’t matter the class and it didn’t matter which session of the meet it was, the place was special. It was full to the rafters more than it wasn’t for every session, and even when there were a few precious seats to be had,  the atmosphere was second to none.


Bohannon, Paige torch J-Hawks

Linn-Mar senior Matt Bohannon knows how to lighten the mood before a big game.

The top-ranked Lions, crippled and missing their two tallest starters, were about to play Jarrod Uthoff and the Jefferson J-Hawks Tuesday night when Bohannon said something on the bench that had everybody laughing.

The Lions were still smiling after the game.

Bohannon and Marcus Paige poured in 30 points apiece as Linn-Mar topped the 10th-ranked J-Hawks, 70-64, in a Mississippi Valley Conference game at Jefferson.

The 30 points were career highs for both players and lifted the Lions to their 20th straight win.

Bohannon and Paige couldn't remember what Bohannon said before the game, or perhaps they didn't want to share a secret.

"We just had to stay loose and make the guys feel comfortable," claimed Paige.

"I said we have to play bigger than ourselves tonight, we have to play taller tonight," countered Bohannon. "We did a good job of that."

Maybe Bohannon said something like this to Paige to draw a few guffaws before the game: "Marcus, I know you're a great point guard and you'll be going to North Carolina and all that, but just for fun, why don't you move to forward in our 2-3 zone and help us keep Uthoff under control. And we'll both score 30."

Or something like that.


Tia Dawson headed to Dartmouth

Cedar Rapids Washington senior Tia Dawson has accepted an offer from Dartmouth College to pursue an Ivy League education and play NCAA Division I basketball.

Dawson struggled with the decision, uneasy with the notion of going so far from home, but finally decided the offer was too good to refuse. Dartmouth is located in Hanover, N.H.

"I had to decide by Friday, but they gave me until Monday because I was still on the edge of whether I should go or not," Dawson said Tuesday. "So last night (Monday night) they called and I made up my mind I was going to go there."

Dawson said she actually reached her decision Saturday night, but kept it a secret until Monday. "I didn't tell anybody," she said.

"I didn't tell my mom until I was on the phone with the coach," she said. "I wanted it to be a surprise for her. She was kind of scared that I was going to say no."

Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships, but they can provide academic scholarships and need-based grants in their financial package. It costs approximately $55,000 per year to attend Dartmouth, and Dawson said the school will cover about 95 percent of her costs.

Dawson, a 6-foot-2 senior, is averaging 11.5 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.8 blocks for Washington, which is ranked No.6 in Class 4A with a 17-3 record heading into postseason play. She holds the career record for blocked shots at Washington.


Morgan Paige excited to play Hawkeyes

A talented basketball player named Paige has an important game in Iowa Wednesday night.

Morgan, not Marcus.

Linn-Mar junior Marcus Paige has been in the news a lot this season, leading the top-ranked Lions through an undefeated campaign and committing to North Carolina, but his big sister will take center stage Wednesday when Wisconsin visits Iowa for a Big Ten game in Iowa City.

Morgan, a 5-foot-9 freshman, is averaging 3.4 points for the Badgers, who are just one game out of first place in the Big Ten standings. She started 10 games earlier in the season due to injuries, but is a top reserve at this point.

Linn-Mar does not play Wednesday, and Morgan expects to see a lot of familiar faces in the stands at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.


Kiah Stokes tops Metro in 4 departments

Kiah Stokes has won the quadruple crown.

The McDonald's All-American from Linn-Mar topped the Metro in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and field goal percentage for the 2010-11 regular season.

Not only that, the 6-foot-3 did it by wide margins in each category.

Stokes averaged 25.0 points, 15.1 rebounds, 5.5 blocks and shot 71.8 percent from the field. The runners-up in those columns were Courtney Strait of Kennedy in scoring (15.3), Tia Dawson of Washington in rebounding (10.6), Dawson in blocked shots (3.8) and Alex Saxen of Xavier in field goal percentage (51.1).


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