Wednesday, March 29, 2017
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Xavier High School - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Saints slay No. 1 Waverly in OT

DES MOINES - The Xavier Saints never stopped believing in themselves even when they had a disappointing 4-9 record in late January.

Now the Saints firmly believe they can win their second state championship in a row.

The remarkable Saints bumped off top-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock, 47-41, in overtime Thursday night in the semifinals of the Class 3A state tournament at Wells Fargo Arena.

Xavier (15-11) will face Sergeant Bluff-Luton (17-9) in the championship game Saturday at 6:05 p.m.

Xavier and Waverly-Shell Rock slugged it out on defense all night in a low-scoring affair that featured 12 ties and nine lead changes in the 36-minute contest.

The Go-Hawks took a 41-38 lead on their first possession in overtime on a three-point play by All-American Austin Phyfe, but the Saints shut them out the rest of the way and finished the game with a 9-0 run for the gritty victory in Des Moines.

Xavier all-star Matt Mims gave the Saints the lead for good, 42-41, with a huge 3-pointer and the Saints came up with a series of big  defensive stops from there.



Saints earn date with No. 1 Waverly

DES MOINES - The Xavier Saints like being the underdog.

They relish it, embrace, thrive on it.

That's good, because the Saints will be big underdogs Thursday night when they face top-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock in the semifinals of the Class 3A state basketball tournament.

The Saints reached the semifinals Tuesday afternoon when they whipped fourth-ranked Mount Pleasant, 59-44, in the opening round at Wells  Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Xavier (14-11) and Waverly-Shell Rock (23-1) will tangle Thursday at 6:35 p.m.

Waverly-Shell Rock dumped the Saints by 22 points, 76-54, when they met in Waverly in the second game of the season Dec. 3.

"We learned that they're really freaking good," Xavier Coach Ryan  Luehrsmann said when asked about the Go-Hawks. "They've got a big-time player in (Austin) Phyfe and a bunch of tough, competitive kids.

"We're just hoping that we can give them a good game on Thursday night. I think they're playing at a very high level right now."

Phyfe, a 6-foot-10 senior who has signed with Northern Iowa, is averaging 19 points and 13 rebounds for Waverly-Shell Rock and could be a load for Xavier. But the Saints faced an impressive big man last year when they defeated Cordell Pemsl and Dubuque Wahlert in the Class 3A state championship game, so they've been in this spot before.

"We have to send a lot of guys at him and not let him get comfortable and take away what he likes to do most," said Max Techau, a 6-foot-7 senior who will have the primary job of guarding Phyfe.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 March 2017 06:10



Noonan named all-state by IGCA

Xavier senior Lexi Noonan was named a second team all-state selection  by the Iowa Girls Coaches Association Wednesday in Class 4A.

Noonan averaged 14.4 points and 5.9 rebounds for the Saints this  season, leading the team in both categories. She helped Xavier reach  the semifinals of the state tournament and finish with an 18-7 record.

On Tuesday, Noonan was honored as a first team all-state selection in  Class 4A by the Iowa Newspaper Association.

Chloe Rice of Marion made first team all-state in Class 4A on the IGCA  list and Kayba Laube of Marion was third team all-state.

Kennedy Dighton of Jefferson and Kamryn Finley of Linn-Mar were named  third team all-state in Class 5A by the coaches.


Sad day for Saints at state tourney

DES MOINES - There were 42 seconds left in Xavier's loss to North  Scott in the Class 4A state basketball tournament Friday morning when  Coach Tom Lilly sent seldom-used senior Lauren Cooling into the game.

The Saints trailed by only seven points at the time and Lilly could  have kept his starters on the floor and prayed for a miracle, but he  wanted to make sure Cooling got into the game for a taste of the state  meet.

Lauren Cooling's mother, Sue, died Wednesday from cancer. She was only  54 years old.

Two days later, Lauren took the floor for the semifinals of the state  tournament at Wells Fargo Arena and there wasn't a dry eye among the  Xavier players, coaches and fans.

"At some point in time you recognize the situation and that basketball  is not the most important thing at that moment in time," said Lilly,  who has won 523 games and four state titles in his career.

"Nobody on our team would have argued with the fact that she needed to  see the court at some point in time."

The sixth-ranked Saints fell to eighth-ranked North Scott, 58-49,  mostly because they committed too many turnovers, committed too many  fouls and could not keep the Lancers off the offensive backboard.



Xavier boys draw Mt. Pleasant at state

The Xavier boys basketball team has been seeded No. 4 for the Class 3A state tournament next week and will face No. 5 seed Mount Pleasant in the opening round Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. in Des Moines.

Xavier defeated Mount Pleasant by 10 points, 55-45, in the season opener at Xavier Nov. 28.

If the Saints defeat Mount Pleasant, they would play No. 1 seed Waverly-Shell Rock or No. 8 seed Atlantic in the semifinals on Thursday, March 9 at 6:35 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena.

The Saints lost at Waverly-Shell Rock by 22 points, 76-54, in the second game of the season Dec. 3.

Xavier is the defending state champion.

The other half of the Class 3A bracket features West Delaware against Dallas Center-Grimes and Pella against Sergeant Bluff-Luton.

The Kennedy Cougars are seeded No. 5 in the Class 4A state tournament and will meet No. 4 seed Dubuque Hempstead in the opening round on Wednesday at 2:45 p.m.

With Seedings

Tuesday, March 7

2 p.m. - No. 1 Waverly-Shell Rock (22-1) vs No. 8 Atlantic (19-5)
3:45 p.m. - No. 4 Xavier (13-11) vs No. 5 Mount Pleasant (22-2)
6:35 p.m. - No. 2 West Delaware (24-0) vs No. 7 Dallas Center-Grimes (15-9)
8:15 p.m. - No. 3 Pella (22-2) vs No. 6 Sergeant Bluff-Luton (15-9)

With Seedings

Wednesday, March 8

1:05 p.m. - No. 1 Iowa City West (20-3) vs No. 8 Newton (19-5)
2:45 p.m. - No. 4 Dubuque Hempstead (18-5) vs No. 5 Kennedy (18-5)
6:35 p.m. - No. 3 Bettendorf (18-5) vs No. 6 Sioux City East (21-2)
8:15 p.m. - No. 2 West Des Moines Valley (19-4) vs Des Moines North (18-5)


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