Friday, February 24, 2017
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Xavier High School - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Xavier's victory leaves Lilly in tears

Tom Lilly has won 522 games and four state titles during his 32 years as a girls basketball coach, but his emotional well still runs deep  after all that time.

Lilly dissolved in tears Tuesday night after the sixth-ranked Xavier  Saints trimmed 13th-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock, 42-38, in the regional  finals to earn a trip to the Class 4A state tournament.

Lilly hugged long-time assistant coach and pal Stephanie Potts after the buzzer sounded in the intense ballgame and he needed his trademark blue towel to wipe away the tears.

"It's always a special moment," Lilly said after getting his emotions  under control. "I just felt our seniors have given us so much this year.

"I knew that at the end of it, somebody was going to be extremely  disappointed because it was very hard-fought, it was back and forth, neither team was going to given an inch.

"And we just happened to prevail with a 14-year-old," he said with a  wry smile. That's pretty amazing on how that all works out."

Freshman Caitlynn Daniels is actually 15 now, but the rookie made two of the biggest plays in the game in the final minute with the state  berth on the line.



Xavier bowlers struggle at state meet

DES MOINES - Xavier High School bowlers Jacob Fulton and Tanya Zaugg  had a tough time in the Class 2A state tournament at Plaza Lanes in  Des Moines Tuesday.

Fulton, who had the top qualifying score for the state meet with a  strong 512 series, rolled games of 162 and 186 Tuesday for a 348  series and finished well out of the money. Alec Reseland of Urbandale  won the individual title with a 535 series.

Zaugg rolled games of 139 and 175 for a 314 series. Kaitlyn Moore of  Keokuk won the title at 470.


Saints earn date with No. 7 Mustangs

MOUNT VERNON - Bryce Schulte faced an unusual situation last month when he was replaced in Xavier's starting lineup by his younger brother.

Bryce, a senior and star football player, was dispatched to the bench in favor of Quinn, a sophomore and a kid who grew up battling his  older brothers in the back yard.

A less confident athlete might have sulked and moped about the situation, but not Bryce Schulte.

Schulte was asked Monday night if there have been any fights in their house about who gets to start.

"No, not over starting," he said, smiling. "Maybe some other things, but not over that."

Both Schultes were in the starting lineup Monday night when the Saints whipped DeWitt Central, 70-30, in the opening round of the Class 3A  playoffs at Mount Vernon High School.

Quinn Schulte has started the last 10 games after replacing his brother in the lineup. Bryce Schulte, who started the first 12 games of the season, has returned to the starting lineup the last two games  with Jackson Joens sidelined while trying to fully recover from a concussion.

The Schultes combined for 17 points Monday as Xavier (11-11) earned a date with seventh-ranked Mount Vernon (17-5) in the district finals  Thursday at 7 p.m. at Mount Vernon.



Noonan sparks No. 6 Saints in regional

Xavier senior Lexi Noonan has not decided if she'll play basketball or  volleyball in college, so there was a chance Saturday night that her  athletic career was going to coming to an untimely finish after the  Saints mustered only 15 points in the first half in the Class 4A  regional semifinals against Clear Creek Amana.

"It could have been the end of my basketball career," she realized,  "but we picked it up."

Noonan poured in 19 of her game-high 21 points in the second half and  Xavier rallied for a 55-33 victory over Clear Creek Amana at Ron  Thillen Gymnasium for their ninth straight win.

The Saints (16-6) will host 13th-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock (16-6) in  the regional finals Tuesday night, with the winner advancing to the  Class 4A state tournament.

Xavier trailed 18-15 at halftime after a sluggish 16 minutes of  basketball against the visitors from the Wamac Conference, but they  notched 40 points in the second half.

"We had a shaky first half, but once we settled down in the second  half we played a lot better," said Noonan. "Coach always says our  offense feeds off our defense, so once we picked up our defense in the  second half it led to our offense and we got more scoring  opportunities."

Clear Creek Amana (13-10) took a series of five-point leads in the  third quarter at 20-15, 22-17, 24-19 and 26-21 before the Saints  finally got untracked midway through the stanza.



Gerke takes 3rd at state wrestling

DES MOINES - Xavier High School senior Josh Gerke whipped Nick Graham of Johnston, 12-7, in the consolation match for third place at 145  pounds in the Class 3A state wrestling tournament Saturday.

Gerke was nipped 5-4 in the opening round Thursday, but he rebounded with five straight victories in the wrestle-backs to end the season  with a 43-4 record and a medal.

Gerke topped Trevor Anderson of Glenwood, 6-2, in his first match Saturday before beating Graham for third place.

Gerke placed fifth at the state tournament last year.

Xavier senior Alex Francois lost to Jacob Melton of Boone, 15-10, and finished eighth at 220 pounds. Francois ended the year with a 24-19 record.

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