Monday, November 18, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

J-Hawk boys up to No. 2 in 4A poll

Jefferson moved up to the No. 2 spot in the Associated Press Class 4A boys basketball poll released Monday (Jan. 10).

Linn-Mar (9-0) remains the No. 1 team in the state. Jefferson (7-1), which escaped Iowa City West in overtime Friday night, moved up to No. 2 when Sioux City East was upset by Hull Western Christian, 54-50, Saturday night in Sioux City.

Kennedy (8-1) dropped two spots to No. 6 after being upset by Class 3A No. 10 Dubuque Wahlert Tuesday at Dubuque. The Cougars rebounded with a pair of wins at Sioux City over the weekend.

Washington (6-3) is the fourth Metro team in the rankings. The Warriors are tied with Davenport Central for No. 10.

The new rankings set up a pair of interesting games Friday night when Linn-Mar plays at Washington and Jefferson at Kennedy. Both games are scheduled to tip at 7:30.


Offers came early for Paige

MINNEAPOLIS -- Marcus Paige was just 14 years old, not yet in high school, when college basketball coaches began offering him full scholarships to attend their schools.

The first offer came from Ben Jacobson, the head coach at the University of Northern Iowa. The very next day, then-Iowa State coach Greg McDermott invited Paige to become a Cyclone.

This was during the summer of 2007, shortly after Paige had graduated from the eighth grade. College was still five years away, yet Jacobson and McDermott were willing to bet that the skinny, precocious point would grow into someone special.

They were right, but Roy Williams and the University of North Carolina won the grand prize. Paige committed to the Tar Heels on Thursday and made the announcement Saturday night before playing for Linn-Mar at the Timberwolves Shootout.


Mahmens picks UM-Duluth

Linn-Mar senior Mac Mahmens has accepted a scholarship to play football at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, which won the NCAA Division II national title this past season with a 15-0 record.

Mahmens visited Minnesota-Duluth this weekend, was offered a scholarship Sunday morning and accepted Sunday afternoon. Certain of his decision, he called one of Duluth's assistant coaches with the news while driving back to Iowa with his father.

"I knew that's the place for me," Mahmens told the Metro Sports Report. "It's awesome up there."

Mahmens is a 6-foot-2, 285-pound lineman who played offensive guard, defensive tackle and defensive end for Linn-Mar this past season. He said Minnesota-Duluth plans to put him in the middle of the offensive line at center, which is where he played for Linn-Mar in 2009.


No reason to wait, Paige commits to UNC

MINNEAPOLIS -- Marcus Paige has been a big fan of the North Carolina basketball program since he was in the second grade, barely big enough to dribble a ball.

Now his dream of playing for the famed Tar Heels will come true.

Paige, a junior at Linn-Mar, announced Saturday he's accepted a scholarship offer from North Carolina Coach Roy Williams and will join the Tar Heels for the 2012-13 school year.

"It's exciting," he said after playing in the Timberwolves Shootout at the Target Center. "There's not really a whole lot of words to describe it, especially when you know it's a dream you've had as a kid. It's just a great feeling."

Ellis Paige, the point guard's father, summed up the family's feelings in one word. "Elated," he said.

Paige had planned to wait until after the 2010-11 high school season to narrow his list of colleges, take more visits and make a decision, but he saw no reason to wait any longer.

"That was the plan, but I always said if something feels right I'm not going to drag it out for no reason," he said. "Things fell into place and it felt right. There's no need to wait."

Paige called Williams with the news Thursday night.

"He was pretty excited," Paige said. "It was good to see him happy that I'm going to be a part of the program in a couple of years."

Williams has a rich history of landing some of Iowa's elite basketball players. He signed Raef LaFrentz and Kirk Hinrich while coaching at Kansas, now he's lured Harrison Barnes and Paige to his new post at North Carolina.

Williams has visited Paige four times in Iowa, and Paige said his relationship with the successful coach was a pivotal factor in his decision.


Pederson perfect, Lions win tourney

Josh Pederson, a 140-pound Linn-Mar Lion, has never bowled a perfect 300 game. But Saturday at the Lion Invitational, he wrestled one.

Pederson separated himself from the entire field by pinning all five of his opponents, including a buzzer-beater in the finals in 5:57 to lead the Linn-Mar Lions over the Bobcats of Western Dubuque, 55-18.

“It feels great," said Pederson. “I just came out trying not to force my shots, stay patient, and it came to me.”


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