Saturday, December 07, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Ranked teams get byes, Warriors do not

Washington will have to make the Class 4A boys state basketball tournament the hard way this year.

No.1 Linn-Mar, No.3 Kennedy and No.9 Jefferson have drawn high seeds and first-round byes for the substate tournaments that begin Feb. 21, but Washington drew a No.3 seed and will have to win three games to reach the state tournament instead of just two.

Linn-Mar and Kennedy are No.1 seeds and drew first-round byes. The Lions and Cougars could be part of an attractive doubleheader at the U.S. Cellular Center on March 1 in the substate finals, playing back-to-back games for berths at state without having to face each other on the road to Des Moines.

Jefferson is a No.2 seed and also drew a bye, but the J-Hawks could have to play No.1 seed Cedar Falls at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls for a trip to state. Cedar Falls beat the J-Hawks, 60-54, in a conference game at Jefferson Monday night.

The Class 3A and 4A postseason pairings were announced Tuesday by the Iowa High School Athletic Association.


Another tough loss for Wash boys

Frustration, thy name is Washington.

The heartache continued for the Washington Warriors Tuesday night when they dropped their sixth game of the season to a Top 10 opponent in another nip-and-tuck affair.

The seventh-ranked Cedar Falls Tigers denied the Warriors, 50-48, on a basket by Bobby Brummel with two seconds left in a Mississippi Valley Conference game at Washington.

The Warriors, once ranked themselves, have lost six times to ranked opponents this season with setbacks by 2, 3, 5, 7 and 8 points (and one by 25).

Washington Coach Brad Metzger beat a hasty retreat after the game and was unavailable for comment. Wes Washpun, who fouled out, and Josh Oglesby, who shot 6 for 19, also were unavailable.

That left the talking to reserve center McCauley Todd, the only Warrior who lingered in the gym after another frustrating loss.

"Yeah, it's tough," said Todd. "I think we're really, really close. These tough losses, I think, will help us in the long run and in the tournament when we get there."


Nothing ho hum about Warriors' streak

Years ago, I learned a valuable journalistic lesson from a man who had a hand in winning the Pulitzer Prize.

I was a young reporter for the Cedar Rapids Gazette in the mid-1970s, assigned one Saturday to cover the boys’ district swimming meet. Washington had won several team championships in a row and, to no one’s surprise, captured another that day.

My lede on the story went something like this: “Ho hum. Another year, another district title for Washington.’’

The following Monday morning, I had barely taken off my coat in the newsroom when I heard a gruff voice, “Dukes, my office!’’ It was Jack Illian, then The Gazette’s managing editor.

In the 1930s, Illian was one of the reporters who developed a series of stories on corruption and misgovernment in the State of Iowa, a body of work that earned The Gazette the Pulitzer Prize in 1936.

Illian was in the final years of his newspaper career in the 1970s, but still had a keen eye for good reporting and writing. He was a little like Ben Bradlee, the Washington Post editor who everyone got to know in “All The President’s Men.’’

Tough, stern and particular, but fair. I knew when he called me into his office that it was either going to be really good or really bad.


Tigers clip J-Hawks in key MVC tilt

The Cedar Falls Tigers took a big step toward winning a division basketball title Monday night by beating Jefferson in an important game at Jefferson.

If these two teams meet again, a trip to the state tournament would be the grand prize.

 James Harrington poured in 24 points as the seventh-ranked Tigers tripped the ninth-ranked J-Hawks, 60-54, to grab control of the Valley Division race in the Mississippi Valley Conference.

Cedar Falls (10-2) has a two-game lead over Jefferson (8-4) in the Valley Division with four MVC games left in the regular season, so the Tigers are in command.

Winning a division title is nice, but making the state tournament in Des Moines is twice as nice. The Tigers and J-Hawks could meet in the Class 4A substate finals at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls on March 1 in a rematch.

"It would be a tough game," said Jarrod Uthoff, who had a difficult time Monday night. "If we both end up there, it will be a tough matchup like this one."


Solid Strait racks up stats for Cougars

Courtney Strait is quietly having a superlative year for the Kennedy girls basketball team.

Strait, a junior, ranks in the top-10 in the Metro area in seven major categories and leads the Metro in free throw shooting at a healthy 80.6 percent.

She also ranks second in scoring (15.2), second in steals (51), third in rebounds (6.7), sixth in blocked shots (13), sixth in 3-pointers (23) and ninth in field goal shooting (41.9%).

Kiah Stokes of Linn-Mar continues to lead the Metro by wide margins in scoring (24.6), rebounding (14.7), field goal shooting (72.1) and blocked shots (97). She leads the state in scoring and field goal percentage.

Here are the top-10 in the Metro in eight major categories, based on statistics posted on the IGHSAU website through Monday.


1. Stokes, Linn-Mar, 24.6; 2. Strait, Kennedy, 15.2; 3. Jacobson, Jefferson, 12.7; 4. Dawson, Washington, 11.4; 5. Peyton, Marion, 10.3; 6. Saxen, Xavier, 10.2; 7. Dellamuth, Prairie, 9.4; 8. Steffeny, Jefferson, 9.8; 9. Meier, Kennedy, 9.6; 10. (tie) Royster, Washington, 9.4; K.Kramer, Marion, 9.4.


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