Saturday, March 24, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Linn-Mar claims district mat title

EPWORTH -- They held a demolition derby at Western Dubuque High School Saturday and called it a Class 3A district wrestling tournament.

Linn-Mar survived a day of bloody noses to trim Prairie, 223-207.5, for the district title on a day that had a little of something for everyone.

A little happiness, a little sadness.

Prairie and Kennedy crowned four individual champions apiece, Linn-Mar captured three titles and Xavier notched one as Metro wrestlers nabbed 12 of the 14 individual crowns.


Jason Bohannon eyes European contract

Jason Bohannon sees his basketball future on European soil.

The former Wisconsin Badger was in attendance on Friday night at Linn-Mar High School to see brother Matt in action and said he hopes to hear from a German club team in the next few days.

“It is just a tough market this year,” Bohannon said. “The economy is kind of rough so a lot of teams don’t have the money to bring Americans over, so they are filling their rosters with European guys.”

Bohannon was recently released by the Iowa Energy, the Des Moines-based affiliate of the 16-team NBA Development League.


Ableman sees new UI pool -- 34 years later!

Let's start off with some random thoughts in the middle of an Iowa winter.

With that in mind, I attended the finals of the USA Diving at the new Iowa pool last Sunday. And it so happened that I ran into Randy Ableman, the former Cedar Rapids Washington diver, Olympian and coach of the University of Miami diving team.

We visited about the district winning streak of the Washington swimmers, which reached 48 straight titles last Saturday. A remarkable feat. Randy and I reminisced about when this streak started in the coaching days of Hal Krizan and Jim Voss.

It certainly has to be one of the most amazing streaks in high school swimming history. Randy dove for both coaches, who started the dynasty. He's been the long-time coach of the Hurricanes under university president Donna Shalala, the former University of Wisconsin president.

One of his women divers from Miami became one of the representatives to advance to the U.S. National team this year.

To show you how things work out, Randy dove at Iowa and during his recruitment was told that by his senior year the Hawks would have a new diving pool. Thirty-four years later, Randy Ableman was able to see the results when he brought the Miami divers to the Hawks' new facility.


Albaugh, Semler lead Indians to Wamac crown

As usual, the dynamic duo of seniors Dusty Albaugh and Kasey Semler  came through Friday night and carried the Marion boys to a 57-35 home court win over Dyersville Beckman.

“The Red Nation really had something to cheer about tonight,”  Albaugh, the talkative one of the two, said about the Indian student section that whooped it up long after the game was over.

Marion (13-7, 13-5 Wamac) wrapped the Wamac West Division title.

“We played with a lot of intensity and played really good defense," Albaugh said. "And Kasey, he’s something else. He’s able to drive and open up the lanes, then kicks it out for open shots.”

Albaugh received three of Semler’s no-look passes for long 3-pointers and four others for shorter baskets as he tied his longtime running mate for game-high honors with 19  points.

After being held to two buckets and two free throws in the  first half, Semler scored 13 in the second, including seven straight from the charity stripe.

It was his pinpoint passing, though, that sparkled  throughout. He had 10 assists to go along with his 19 points, but could have had a half dozen more if he hadn’t faked out his own  teammates with bullets that bounced out of bounds.


Lions whip Wash, win MVC title

Shane Benton led his team in floor burns and hustle Friday night. And that was saying something.

Benton’s top-ranked Linn-Mar Lions used precision passing and a blue collar work ethic to break the game wide open in the second half and easily defeat Washington, 62-41, to clinch a Mississippi Valley Conference division championship at Linn-Mar.

“We just have got to go after everything,” Benton said. “I like to go after every loose ball.”

Benton scored 11 points and brought a boat load of passion and defensive intensity. At one stage in the third quarter he dove for a ball near the baseline, which brought the entire Linn-Mar bench to its feet.

Benton also had several strong moves inside and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line. He said the team enjoys playing together.

“It is just so much fun. I feel really good about this team. We have a great group of seniors and a lot of good juniors. It is a special group of guys,” the 6-foot-3 senior said.

A University of North Dakota recruit, Benton had the assignment of guarding Warrior star Josh Oglesby.

“He kind of reminds me of Reggie Miller,” Benton said. “With that high release, he is tough.”

Oglesby finished with 21 points, but had to earn every basket. He started off hot, scoring 13 of his team’s first 14 points, but had only eight points over the final 16 minutes of play. He hit 8-for-18 shots from the floor and 2-of-3 free throws.


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