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

Metro Sports Report

Sports Medicine: Changing seasons

A teenage athlete just completed their competitive winter sports season. They aren’t as much fun to be around at home. Their appetite seems to be waning. They are crankier and more tired than usual, and it seems they’ve lost their motivation.

The athlete complains they feel like they are in a tough spot. The spring sports coach wants them to join in the tail-end of the “off-season” conditioning program with their spring sport teammates to build camaraderie; official practice starts in two weeks. How can they possibly get ready for the upcoming competitive spring sports season?

Here are some healthy tips for parents, athletes and coaches to help answer that question:

PARENTS: Facilitate Recovery

1. Don’t panic. The “crash” at the end of a long and competitive season is very common.

The physical and psychological stresses of participating in a competitive sport can take their toll on your teenager. They need some time away from the day-to-day pressures of training and competition. Give your kids some personal space and time to themselves.

2. Get your kids to talk. Encourage open discussions about how they feel about the season ending and the upcoming season starting.

3. Encourage non-sport activities. Provide them with opportunities to relax!

4. Provide healthy food options and encourage them to get some restorative sleep.

5. If your teenager has unresolved aches/pains, or you believe they are injured, seek advice from your sports medicine professional as soon as possible.


Xavier faces decision if IGHSAU adds 5th class

DES MOINES -- Xavier High School could have an interesting decision to make this spring for its girls basketball program if the IGHSAU expands to five classes.

Should the Saints continue to compete against the biggest schools in the state for a spot in the state tournament, or should they compete in the second-biggest class and make life a little easier for themselves? They could have a choice.

The Board of Directors for the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) delayed a vote on a possible new fifth class Friday at its meeting in Des Moines, but it appears likely a new Class 5A will be formed soon. A decision could be made at the next IGHSAU board meeting in late May.

Class 5A would include the 40 largest schools in the state and Class 4A would include the next 40 or 48 largest, depending on which proposal the board likes best. Xavier is currently the 47th largest school in the state and would fall into Class 4A, but the Saints could petition the IGHSAU for a spot in 5A.


Stokes ends career on bench, in tears

DES MOINES -- Kiah Stokes ended her remarkable high school career in tears Friday afternoon.

She fouled out, Linn-Mar lost in overtime and her dream of winning back-to-back state titles evaporated.

Iowa City West rallied from a 14-point deficit and trimmed the second-ranked Lions, 65-58, in the semifinals of the Class 4A tournament at Wells Fargo Arena.

Stokes saved Linn-Mar with a 3-pointer with five seconds left in regulation -- just the second 3-pointer of her All-American career -- but she fouled out with 2:19 left in overtime and the Lions did not score a single point in her absence.

Stokes sat on the bench after the game ended, wiping away the tears, and was still sobbing more than 15 minutes later.

"I love my teammates," she said between sobs.

Stokes ended her prep career with incredible numbers. She scored 1,704 points, grabbed 1,239 rebounds and blocked 515 shots. She set school records in all three categories, set a state mark for blocked shots and finished fourth in state history in rebounds.

"Quite a ride," said Linn-Mar Coach Mike Brandt.

Linn-Mar jumped to a quick 18-4 lead in the first quarter and looked like it might bury the jittery Women of Troy, but Iowa City West settled down, forced turnovers, began making shots and outscored the Lions 24-8 in the second quarter.


Bruns family gets to state basketball tourney

First up: A tip of the fedora to the four Metro area teams that have qualified for the boys state basketball tournament next week. Let's hope they all play up to their potential and show the rest of the state the fine basketball that's been played in the Metro area this year.

My impression of the two Class 4A substate finals at the U.S. Cellular Center Tuesday night was like watching two baseball no-hitters with the lack of scoring by the two visiting teams, North Scott and Dubuque Hempstead. Yes, they had near-shutouts pitched against them in the second half of their games against Linn-Mar and Washington.

With the state finals coming up, there are always stories within the story. So it was in Marion's victory in the Class 3A substate finals on Monday.

One of the assistant coaches at Marion, on a volunteer basis with the varsity, is Wes Bruns, who was an outstanding player at Cedar Rapids Prairie, where his late father Laverne Bruns was a very successful high school coach. But, Laverne Bruns never got a team to the state tournament. And when his son came along, the son also never got to the state
tournament as a player.


Unash to be honored at state boys basketball

Scott Unash has been selected to receive a media award from the Iowa High School Athletic Association, the group announced Thursday.

Unash is program director at KGYM and a columnist for the Metro Sports Report. He has worked in radio the past 23 years, the first two at KOUR in Independence and the last 21 at KCRG and KGYM.  He is a 1984 graduate of Kennedy High School and graduated from the University of Iowa in 1988.

Six times Unash has been named top play-by-play announcer by the Iowa Broadcast News Association. He regularly calls high school football and girls and boys basketball games. He also has called high school baseball, Hawkeye Downs racing, Cedar Rapids Kernels baseball and college contests during his career.

Unash will receive his award between the Class 1A and 2A boys basketball championship games on Friday, March 11.


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