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Sunday, December 17, 2017
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor
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Metro Sports Report

High school bowling is here to stay

Iowa’s newest sanctioned high school sport isn’t like the rest. There are no two-a-day practices in the heat of August. No cheerleaders or pep band. No tickets sales at the door.

High school bowling hasn’t exactly captured the imagination of student bodies, nor the general public. But it’s a sport that is taking off in Iowa. It’s a sport highly competitive but also perfect for the student who just wants to participate.

Every Metro school has a boys’ and girls’ bowling team now. Actually, several local schools have assembled bowlers the past couple decades, but it is only recently that the sport has been sanctioned by the Iowa High School Athletic Association (last year) and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (2005).

Over 80 schools now field varsity bowling teams in Iowa, separated into two classes (by enrollment) for post-season competition. They are as small as Mormon Trail of Garden Grove, with a pool of 59 students, and as large as West Des Moines Valley (over 2,000 students).

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Albaugh leads Indians past Clippers

MARION -- Dusty Albaugh is a man for all seasons for the Marion Indians.

Winter, spring, summer, fall. Basketball, track, baseball, football. You name it, he does it.

It was basketball Tuesday night and Albaugh helped the Indians trim Clear Creek Amana, 57-53, in a key Wamac Conference game at Marion.

Albaugh tossed in three 3-pointers and scored 13 points. Of equal importance, he drew the key defensive assignment against hot-shooting Clay Miller with the game on the line and made sure Miller did not get good looks at the basket.

The night began with Marion, Clear Creek Amana and Vinton-Shellsburg all tied for the West Division lead in the Wamac Conference with 7-3 records, so the Indians left the gym with at least a share of the lead in their trousers.

Marion blew a 21-point lead and lost in overtime at Vinton-Shellsburg on Friday, so the Indians got a little antsy when they squandered an 11-point advantage against Clear Creek Amana.

"We're not repeating that again," Albaugh thought. He was right.

Albaugh, a 6-foot-1 senior, excels at all four sports at Marion and will get a chance to play in college, based on the number of recruiters who are calling him.

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Linn-Mar boys on memorable ride

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- The Linn-Mar Lions hope their path to the Class 4A state championship in Iowa runs through Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Coach Chris Robertson and the top-ranked Lions drubbed Apple Valley (Minn.) in Minneapolis last weekend, then hopped on the bus again Saturday and clipped Madison Memorial (Wis.) in La Crosse.

First they played at the Target Center, an NBA arena, then they played at the La Crosse Center, another big venue. First the Timberwolves Shootout, then the Midwest Players Classic.

That's on top of their rugged 16-game schedule in the Mississippi Valley Conference, a date at the U.S. Cellular Center and other tough non-conference games.

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No. 1 Lions flex muscles in Wisconsin

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- The best high school basketball team in Iowa might be the best team in Wisconsin, too.

They play for Linn-Mar.

The Lions left Iowa and beat one of the best teams in Wisconsin on Saturday night with a 74-64 victory over Madison Memorial in the Midwest Players Classic at the La Crosse Center.

Linn-Mar (12-0), ranked No. 1 in Iowa, proved to be too polished, too balanced and too good for Madison Memorial, which is ranked No. 3 among the big schools in Wisconsin.

Marcus Paige and Josh Montague scored 21 points apiece, Matt Bohannon collected 16 and Shane Benton added 12 in a wire-to-victory for the Lions, who never trailed.

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Conner Herman wins J-Hawk title

Ask Conner Herman about his sixth place finish in last year’s state tournament and he’ll tell you that wasn’t the plan.

“Sixth place is not where I had my goals set," Herman said.

Herman got a measure of payback Saturday against top-ranked and undefeated Joe Scanlan of Johnston. Herman defeated Scanlan last year en route to the state semifinals, but Scanlan ended up fourth and Herman sixth.

“I beat him last year but he came back further in the wrestle-backs than I did,” Herman said.

In a tough field of 13 teams that boasted second ranked Waverly-Shell Rock, the Herman-Scanlan bout was the only match that featured the Nos. 1 and 2 ranked wrestlers in Class 3A.

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