Sunday, February 18, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Xavier girls fall to another ranked foe

A possible concussion. A sprained finger. Another painful loss.

That was the story Thursday for the 14th-ranked Xavier girls basketball team, which lost a tight game to a ranked opponent for the third time in six days.

Iowa City West clinched the Valley Division title in the Mississippi Valley Conference with a 49-45 victory over the 14th-ranked Saints at Ron Thillen Gymnasium.

The third-ranked Trojans won their first conference title since 1979, snapping a drought that lasted 32 years. "We're ecstatic," West Coach B.J. Mayer remarked.

Ecstasy for Iowa City West, agony for Xavier.

The Saints lost to 11th-ranked Dowling Catholic, 38-37, Saturday on a long 3-pointer in the final seconds, then lost to fourth-ranked Waterloo West, 32-29, on Tuesday.

"It was deja vu all over again," said Coach Tom Lilly.

Annie Dale suffered an apparent concussion in the fourth quarter and had to be helped to the Xavier locker room, but she appeared bright-eyed after the game and did not require further medical care. Alex Bartz sprained a finger, and neither player was on the floor at the end.


Linn-Mar girls still at No. 2

Linn-Mar remains the No. 2 team in Class 4A in the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union girls basketball rankings released Thursday.

Linn-Mar (16-1) trails No. 1 Des Moines East (16-0).

Washington (13-3) fell two spots to No. 7 and Xavier (12-5) dropped three spots to No. 14 among Metro teams.

Mississippi Valley Conference members Iowa City West (14-1) and Waterloo West (14-2) are third and fourth.  Iowa City High (13-4) is No. 10.

Ballard (15-1), which was beaten by Linn-Mar 50-40 Saturday at the U.S. Cellular Center, remains the No. 1 team in Class 3A. Mount Vernon (15-1) is No. 2. The Mustangs' only loss also is to Linn-Mar.

IGHSAU Rankings>>


1. Des Moines East (16-0), 2. Linn-Mar (16-1), 3. Iowa City West (14-1), 4. Waterloo West (14-2), 5. Southeast Polk (16-1), 6. Ankeny (14-2), 7. CR Washington (13-3), 8. Pleasant Valley (14-1), 9. Sioux City North (11-3), 10. Iowa City High (13-4), 11.  West Des Moines Dowling (13-2), 12. Mason City (13-3), 13. Waukee (12-4), 14. CR Xavier (12-5), 15. Lewis Central (12-2).


Weight classes for wrestling could change

The Board in Control of the Iowa High School Athletic Association voted Tuesday to support proposed weight changes for high school wrestling.

The next step in the proposed changes will come in April, when the rules committee for the National Federation of State High School Associations will consider the issue. If the National Federation adopts the proposal, the new weights could go into effect next season.

Under the proposal, all of the weights except the 285-pound class would be altered, some by only one pound but some by a significant amount.

The 14 current weight classes are 103, 112, 119, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, 152, 160, 171, 189, 215 and 285. The proposed new classes would be 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285.

The proposed new classes are based on body-fat studies and are intended to promote a healthier sport.


Let's think big when the Cell Center reopens

It’s been a significant last 10 days for the city of Cedar Rapids and the U.S. Cellular Center.

First it was announced that the 2011 Girls State Volleyball Tournament will remain in the city. This was in jeopardy because the tournament's home since 1991, the U.S. Cellular Center, is going to be closed for renovation, forcing the IGHSAU to look for another site. After much deliberation, and a last second push by Sioux City, the tournament will temporarily move to the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena for 2011. This is huge news for the city and the surrounding area.

The state tournament has pumped in a tremendous amount of revenue into the metro area over its run and if that money left, particularly post-flood, the entire metro as well as the corridor would have taken a hit. The IGHSAU has not guaranteed that the tournament will stay in Cedar Rapids beyond 2015, when the contract with U.S. Cellular Center expires, but hopefully that will be a formality after it sees the improvements made.


Streaking Wahawks slip past Saints

Among Metro teams and fans, No. 6 Waterloo West may be best known as the only team that has managed to tame the mighty Linn-Mar Lions.

Tuesday night, the Wahawks took down another top Metro team, defeating No. 11 Xavier 32-29 after a fierce, evenly played defensive skirmish in which turnovers were more numerous than baskets. In the end, Waterloo senior leader Jadyn Spencer won the game at the free throw line.

For Xavier (12-5, 8-4), it was a missed opportunity to topple a streaking team.

“We consider Waterloo West a state tournament caliber team, and we had every opportunity to win on our home floor,” said Coach Tom Lilly. “We just didn’t finish the job.”

The Wahawks (14-2, 10-2) led 11-7 after the first period, riding on eight points by Spencer. The Saints held her in check and collected five points from guard Annie Dale in the second period as Waterloo limped to a 16-13 half-time lead with Spencer on the bench with three fouls.

After the break, Xavier took care of the ball and benefitted from balanced scoring to take its first lead of the game, 21-20, at 4:30 in the third period. The Saints outscored the Wahawks 12-7 to eek out a 25-23 lead to end the quarter.

Both teams struggled to find the hoop in the final period until Dale hit a lay-up for Xavier with 4:47 remaining, giving the Saints a four-point edge that seemed cavernous in the low-scoring affair.

But Spencer hit a free throw and a bucket and Wahawk freshman Haley Puk launched a huge three to give Waterloo a two-point lead with 2:30 left in the game.

Xavier’s Alex Saxen tied the game at 29 with a minute to go, but Spencer was fouled at the other end and coolly tossed in two free throws for the lead. Saxen missed a running jumper with 10 seconds on the clock, and Waterloo got the ball into Spencer’s hands one more time. She was fouled and made a final free throw to seal the three-point victory.


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