Friday, February 28, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Wes Washpun gets offer from Missouri State

Cedar Rapids Washington senior Wes Washpun has been offered a scholarship to play basketball at Missouri State.

Washpun said Tuesday he is seriously considering the offer, but wants to visit Missouri State and possibly other schools in the next few weeks before making a decision.

Missouri State Coach Cuonzo Martin called Washpun Monday night and made the offer, shortly after Washpun had scored 21 points and helped Washington beat Clinton in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A substate tournament.

"I just thought it was another call, and to get the offer like that was pretty exciting," he said. "It's definitely exciting news and I'm very appreciative of the offer."

Washpun, a 6-foot-1 point guard, is averaging 17.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3.4 steals and 2.2 blocked shots for the Warriors (15-8).

Washpun also has offers from North Dakota, North Dakota State and South Dakota State. "I'm still thinking I'm going to wait and take all my visits after the season is over before I make my decision," he said.

The Iowa Hawkeyes have expressed interest, but have not offered a scholarship. Northern Iowa offered Washpun a scholarship that would have started in 2012 instead of 2011, meaning Washpun would have been a walk-on next season, but UNI withdrew its offer last fall after Washpun said he was not ready to decide.


'Jazz'-ed up Warriors headed to state

The Washington Warriors got all “Jazz-ed” up on Tuesday night. As in senior forward Jazz Royster.

Royster responded to a second-quarter tongue-lashing from Coach Frank Howell and spearheaded her team to a 70-51 regional final victory over No. 7 Pleasant Valley at Prairie High School.

The sixth-ranked Warriors (19-3) will face No.3 Iowa City West (21-2) next Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the first round of the girls state tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

It will be Howell’s fifth trip to Des Moines in eight years at the helm of the Warriors. He also made two appearances as head coach at Audubon High School.

Royster said she took Howell’s comments in stride.

“I kind of like it when I get yelled at because it makes me work harder,” she said. “I have never been to state before. It feels great.”

With his team leading by eight points, Howell removed Royster from the game early in the second quarter. He angrily scolded the junior for several seconds and then sent her back in the game.

Royster immediately responded with a three-point play, then banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key, followed by a offensive rebound and a put-back. In a span of just three minutes, Royster had ignited the Warriors with eight key points, giving her team a 20-point lead (37-17).

Washington led 39-17 at halftime and Pleasant Valley (18-4) never threatened again.

Leading scorer and rebounder Tia Dawson played sparingly in the first half for Washington due to foul problems, making Royster’s heroics even more important.

“That was a big deal for us,” Howell said of Royster’s second-quarter binge. “Especially because Tia (Dawson) had two fouls. Jazz played really big for us.”


Late game heroics save Marion boys

Sub-par shooting didn’t stop middle school girls with Indian jerseys and war-painted faces from asking to pose for photos with Dusty Albaugh and Kasey Semler after Wednesday night’s game.

For the Marion seniors are not only teen heartthrobs, they’re bona fide stars.

With the white-knuckler of a game with Center Point-Urbana on the line, knotted-up with just seconds to go, it was Albaugh and Semler who pulled it out for their team.

“It’s fitting that it was the two of them that came through in the end,” said Marion Coach Mike Manderscheid after the 55-51 home victory over CPU in a first round Class 3A substate matchup of Wamac rivals.

“They’ve been doing it all year.”

And they’ll likely be called on to do again when they face Mount Vernon or Independence Thursday night in a substate semifinal at Kennedy.  Independence's game against Mount Vernon scheduled for Monday night was postponed to Tuesday because of icy road conditions.

The Indians (15-7) and Stormin’ Pointers (10-12) faced each other twice in the regular season with Marion winning both, 86-78 and 72-60.

“We knew we’d get their A game,” said Albaugh. “They’re a good team, and they play hard. And, yeah, it was pretty intense.”

It was a see-saw struggle of two well-prepared, gritty fighters all night long.


McLaughlin takes over in OT for Xavier boys

OTTUMWA -- The mark of a true competitor is to never back down, come ready to play and fear no one.

The Cedar Rapids Xavier boys hoops squad got the memo.

The Saints (7-15) and Coach Matt Jenkins made the long haul down to Wapello County and promptly knocked off the Ottumwa Bulldogs, 61-54, in overtime in a Class 4A substate quarterfinal at Evans Middle School Monday night.

"Our guys just made plays. That's what it boils down to. Guys gutted it out. We sensed the moment," said Jenkins.

Up next for the Saints is the top dog in the state, in the form of undefeated and top-ranked Linn-Mar (21-0) in the substate semifinals Friday night at Linn-Mar.

Xavier is no stranger to its league rival. It played the top power in the large-school class twice and lost by 19 and 20 points, although the Saints were tied at halftime in the first fray.

"They are a phenomenal team. We wouldn't have it any other way," said Jenkins. "To be the best, you've got to beat the best. We'll see what happens."

Xavier senior point guard Mitch McLaughlin drained seven free throws in the extra session and accounted for nine points in overtime. McLaughlin talked about playing in the extremely strong Mississippi Valley Conference,­ a big reason the Saints came ready to play right off the bat.

"Everyone asked, 'What's wrong with your record?' We kind of just ignored it. We knew we were better than what we were showing," said McLaughlin, who finished with a game-high 19 points.


J-Hawk booster club has raised $1.8 million

“It’s amazing how much money can be made by selling a candy bar or bag of popcorn one item at a time,” says Mark Fiala, technology facilitator at Jefferson High School.

Is “amazing” a bit of an exaggeration?  Well, recently the Jefferson Athletic Booster Club, of which Fiala is currently president,  gave JHS athletics  a $50,000 contribution, and it was the second $50,000 check the club has given this school year. That brings the total to more than $1.8 million over the years.

 Yes, ”amazing” sums it up pretty well.

 “Vital” would work, too.  Just ask Athletics Director Scott Kibby.

The club has been in existence since the 1957-58 school year, but “Most of that ($1.8 million) has come recently,” said  Kibby, “about $800,000 in just the past nine years.”

The club’s goal is $100,000 per year. Of that $100,000, Kibby said about $60,000 is needed “just to make ends meet,” to cover operating expenses.  Hiring officials, alone, costs about $45,000 a year, he said.


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