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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Xavier High School - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Too much Stokes sidelines Saints

Xavier girls basketball coach Tom Lilly said if his team could have played the game without a scoreboard they might have had a chance against second-ranked Linn-Mar Tuesday night.

“We came out the first half and played like we had nothing to lose, like it was a summer league game," he said. “Then, at the half, we looked up at the scoreboard and saw we were ahead by three. We saw the possibility of winning. It made it a different game, psychologically more than physical.”

 In other words, the Saints (15-8) played the second half trying their best not to lose instead of just trying to win.

The Linn-Mar girls, meanwhile, came out of the intermission with but one mission:

 Throw the ball over the top of everybody else to super-sized senior superstar Kiah Stokes and let her pop in buckets at will.

As a result, the Lions quickly erased a 19-16 halftime deficit with an 18-2 third quarter run and coasted to a 48-30 victory.



McLaughlin takes over in OT for Xavier boys

OTTUMWA -- The mark of a true competitor is to never back down, come ready to play and fear no one.

The Cedar Rapids Xavier boys hoops squad got the memo.

The Saints (7-15) and Coach Matt Jenkins made the long haul down to Wapello County and promptly knocked off the Ottumwa Bulldogs, 61-54, in overtime in a Class 4A substate quarterfinal at Evans Middle School Monday night.

"Our guys just made plays. That's what it boils down to. Guys gutted it out. We sensed the moment," said Jenkins.

Up next for the Saints is the top dog in the state, in the form of undefeated and top-ranked Linn-Mar (21-0) in the substate semifinals Friday night at Linn-Mar.

Xavier is no stranger to its league rival. It played the top power in the large-school class twice and lost by 19 and 20 points, although the Saints were tied at halftime in the first fray.

"They are a phenomenal team. We wouldn't have it any other way," said Jenkins. "To be the best, you've got to beat the best. We'll see what happens."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 00:07



Easy victory over Marshalltown sends Xavier to regional final

Cedar Rapids Xavier jumped all over Marshalltown from the start Saturday night and quickly erased any drama as to who would be advancing to the regional girls basketball final with a 70-18 victory at Ron Thillen gymnasium.

Xavier (15-7) jumped out to a 15-7 first-quarter lead and never trailed in the game, as its full-court press and pressure defense were just too much for Marshalltown (4-19) to handle.

The Saints forced 34 turnovers in the game and despite their fast pace gave the ball away only eight times.

"We certainly felt that we could put some pressure on them," Coach Tom Lilly said.

"We were aggressive enough that we were able to make them play at a faster pace than maybe they are comfortable with."

The faster pace helped the Saints get other aspects of their game going as well.

"We did really well," said junior forward Alex Bartz. "We ran the floor well. We were doing great on defense. We transitioned well. So I think that we did an awesome job tonight."

Bartz found her way into the record books, tying the single-game blocks record with six. The 6-foot-1-inch Bartz matched the school record previously shared by the Ridge sisters, RyAnne and Shannon.

Last Updated on Sunday, 20 February 2011 00:35



Tara Trcka qualifies for state bowling tourney

Xavier sophomore Tara Trcka has qualified for Thursday's Class 1A bowling meet, and the Linn-Mar girls have qualified as an at-large team for Class 2A meet Friday.

Trcka shot a 388 in Saturday's regional tournament at May City Lane. Her name was not on the list when the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union released the names of qualifiers Saturday night, although her 388 was better than several of the scores that had been reported as at-large qualifiers. By Sunday, she was on the list.

Trcka is one of 16 qualifiers for the individual championship.  Hope Seyb of Keokuk had the top score in regionals with a 490.

Trcka's cousin, Allie Trcka of Cedar Rapids Jefferson, qualified for the Class 2A individual championship.

Linn-Mar finished third at the Class 2A regional at May City Bowl on Saturday. But both at-large teams to fill out the 10-team tournament field came from that regional. The Lions join regional champ Jefferson and second-place Muscatine in the 2A field.

Jefferson's score of 2983 was the highest recorded in the state during regionals. Muscatine had the second-highest score at 2956 and Linn-Mar's 2727 was fourth. Kennedy also is in the field after winning the Marshalltown regional. The Cougars' 2640 was the sixth-best score.

The Linn-Mar boys were the only Metro team to qualify for the Class 2A meet. Sophomore Dreyson Robe will compete for the individual title after shooting a 506, the third-best qualifying score in the state.


Chicchelly goes high tech for a win

DES MOINES -- Braxton Chicchelly used his skills as a wrestler and computer surfer to reach the semifinals of the Class 3A state wrestling tournament Friday.

Chicchelly, a 130-pound senior from Xavier High School, did not know anything about David Lewis of Bettendorf, his mystery opponent in the quarterfinals Friday morning, so he borrowed an assistant coach's laptop Thursday night in a local hotel room and did some research.

He googled "David Lewis" and found all sorts of useful information, including video of Lewis in action.

"I saw him wrestle an Oregon kid, and I tried to use the exact same thing the Oregon kid did," Chicchelly explained. "It worked for me."

Chicchelly dominated Lewis, 6-2, sending him to the semifinals Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

Chicchelly said he used "heavy hands" to subdue Lewis. In other words, he tried to control his opponent's hands and make him submit to Chicchelly's other skills.

"I knew if I did that and kept the pressure up for six minutes, it was going to be a pretty good outcome," he said. "I kind of knew how to take him down and what kind of stragety to use."

Who says wrestling isn't high-tech?

Last Updated on Friday, 18 February 2011 23:32



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