Tuesday, February 18, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Indians brace for No. 1 Waverly-SR

Marion thought it would have a good basketball team this season with Kasey Semler and Dusty Albaugh, but the Indians finished January with a wobbly 9-7 record and their hopes appeared to fade.

They haven't lost since.

The Indians (17-7) will be riding an eight-game winning streak when they face No.1 Waverly-Shell Rock (24-0) in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament Tuesday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Tipoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Marion posted a 4-5 record in January, hardly the mark of champions, but Coach Mike Manderscheid told his guys to wipe January from their minds and get ready for February.

"It was a new month," he said. "We knew going into the season, when you play seven of nine games on the road in January, it's tough. Even if you're in the Wamac (Conference), it's still tough to go in there and beat teams on the road.

"We got out of January and we said, 'Hey, it's a new month, a new beginning, let's just start over and work hard and see what we can do and make a little bit of a run here.' "

Waverly-Shell Rock began its "run" in November and never stopped. Waverly-Shell Rock has won 24 straight games by an average margin of 23.6 points, and the Class 3A club has pocketed wins over such Class 4A teams as Cedar Falls, Waterloo West, Waterloo East and Xavier along the way.

Marion is seeded No.8 for the eight-team tournament and Waverly-Shell Rock is seeded No.1. The Indians know they are big underdogs, but that hasn't dimmed their enthusiasm for making their second trip to the state tournament in three years.


Coaches pick Stokes, Dawson 1st team all state

Kiah Stokes from Linn-Mar and Tia Dawson from Washington have been named to the Class 4A first team all-state girls basketball team announced Monday by the Iowa Girls Coaches Association (IGCA).

Stokes and Dawson led their respective teams to the state tournament. Stokes' team lost in the semifinals, Dawson's in the first round.

Stokes led the state in scoring with a 25.0 average, and was second in rebounding (14.9) and blocked shots (141). She set the career state record for blocked shots with 515. Stokes is a top candidate for the Miss Basketball Award that will be announced Tuesday.  She also has signed to play college basketball at two-time defending NCAA champion Connecticut.

Dawson saved her best game for last. She scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the Warriors' 67-58 first round tournament loss to Iowa City West. She averaged 12 points, 10 rebounds and blocked 91 shots. Dawson is bound for Dartmouth.

State champion Des Moines East had two members of the first team -- Markisha Wright and Shronda Butts.  Virginia Johnson of Iowa City High and Ally Disterhoft of Iowa City West, Sioux City North's Brittni Donaldson and Southeast Polk's Caitlin Ingle also were named to the first team.

Des Moines East's Sam Powell was named coach of the Year. The Scarlets finished 26-0.


Iowa prep baseball needs changes

The signs are there. A brilliant Sunday of sunshine. The first sighting of robins chirping in the trees. Snow evaporating. One week remaining in the “winter’’ high school sports season.

As the calendar flips to March each year, the anticipation of spring and summer begins. Certain events bring the favored seasons closer – Daylight Savings Time, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter and so on. Weather in the next couple months can be unpredictable but is largely tolerable. Knowing what’s around the corner this time of year is a good thing.

Soon after the boys state basketball tournament concludes this week, the focus of Metro area athletes will turn in earnest to the spring sports seasons of track and field, soccer, tennis and golf. Athletes are finally back outside ... running, throwing, and competing.

For all that is good about that, the step-child of Iowa high school sports still is two months away from surfacing. Iowa high school baseball doesn’t begin competition until late May and is gone seemingly before it gets rolling. Iowa is unique in that regard, which isn’t a good thing in my mind.

Whereas football and basketball have continued to be strong in involvement and fan participation over the years, baseball in many places has taken a back seat. Most of the baseball season takes place when school is not in session, which lessens student body support. Many baseball players also find themselves torn between being on the diamond or training for another sport or finding a job.

I would like to see a couple changes in Iowa high school baseball, but I’m not about to hold my breath waiting for them to happen.


Stokes named to D.M. Register all-state team

Linn-Mar senior Kiah Stokes was named to the Des Moines Register Class 4A all-state basketball team Sunday.

Stokes, a 6-foot-3 center, helped the Lions reach the semifinals of the 4A state tournament this season. She averaged 25 points, 14.5 rebounds and 5.6 blocked shots.

Stokes scored 1,704 points, grabbed 1,239 rebounds and blocked a state-record 515 shots during her four-year career and set school records in all three categories.

Stokes was joined on the Class 4A first team by Virginia Johnson of Iowa City High, Markisha Wright of Des Moines East, Brittni Donaldson of Sioux City North and Shronda Butts of Des Moines East. Wright and Butts led Des Moines East to the 4A state title Saturday night with a victory over Iowa City West.

The second-team Class 4A selections were Maddie Manning of Ankeny, Jayden Spencer of Waterloo West, Megan Hayes of Bettendorf, Caitlin Ingle of Southeast Polk and Ally Disterhoft of Iowa City West.

The third-team Class 4A picks were Stacy Clark of Pleasant Valley, Jordan Gillenwater of Council Bluffs Lincoln, Emily Parker of Johnston, Jadda Buckley of Mason City and Laura Brewer of Waukee.

The Iowa Newspaper Association (INA) all-state teams and Miss Basketball will be announced Tuesday.

Stokes was named to the Class 4A all-tournament team Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.


Precocius frosh raises Hawks' hopes

While the girls state basketball tournament officially closed the books on the prep careers of several outstanding Mississippi Valley Conference seniors, the Metro’s top young player eyed the tourney from a distance, dreaming of writing her own chapters in future contests.

Prairie’s Madison Dellamuth, a starting point guard who was the only freshman selected to the MVC first team, attended the Cedar Rapids Washington-Pleasant Valley substate game just to get a feel for the competitive environment.

“Even watching the Washington game, I know we can be there,” she says of her team, which finished 4-18 overall and 3-13 in the MVC this season. “It was kind of hard because I think as a team we could be out there and we could compete with those teams.”


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