Wednesday, April 08, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Lions back to state for 8th straight time

North Scott tried a gimmick defense that had some success against Linn-Mar standouts Marcus Paige and Matt Bohannon on Tuesday night in a Class 4A substate tournament at the U.S. Cellular Center.

But it turned out the only way to truly shutout Bohannon was by latching the locker room door.

Bohannon's steal and coast-to-coast layup highlighted a 25-0 Linn-Mar run that carried the top-ranked Lions past North Scott, 50-25, and into the boys state basketball tournament for a record eighth straight year.

The Lions (23-0) earned the top seed in the tournament and will play eighth seeded Cedar Rapids Washington (17-8) next Wednesday (March 9) at 1:45 p.m.  The Warriors whipped Dubuque Hempstead, 56-31, in Tuesday's nightcap at the U.S. Cellular Center. Linn-Mar beat Washington twice during the regular season, 80-55 and 62-41.

Linn-Mar will be after its third state title in the last eight years. The Lions started their consecutive tourney appearance streak in 2004, when they won the Class 4A state title. They also won it in 2007.   The Lions had been tied with Cedar Rapids Regis for the longest streak of consecutive state tournament appearances. The Royals went seven straight times from 1989-95.

"Eight straight, people might say it gets old," said Bohannon, who scored 10 of his game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter. "But it never gets old. Every time is sweet. For some of us, this is our third time there. I can honestly say that the other two times have been good, but going back there is going to be great."

Paige and Ian McBrayer added 10 points apiece for Linn-Mar.  Darren Dillon had 12 points for North Scott (16-7).


J-Hawks escape and are off to state

CEDAR FALLS -- The collective "Phew" could be heard all the way back to the west side of Cedar Rapids Tuesday night.

The Jefferson boys basketball team is going back to the state tournament for the ninth time in school history.

Barely. Sparingly. Nervously.

It was eighth-ranked Jefferson 57, underdog Waterloo West 55 in the Class 4A substate finals at the McLeod Center on the University of Northern Iowa campus. And "Phew" doesn't begin to describe how the J-Hawks escaped.

Jefferson (17-5) will face third-ranked Des Moines Hoover (21-2) in the opening round of the state tournament on Wednesday, March 9 at 8:15 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

DiMarco Mallett missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer Tuesday night that would have given Waterloo West (9-15) an improbable trip to the state tournament with a losing record.

"We kept saying, 'Give ourselves a chance, Give ourselves a chance,' and we did," said Waterloo West Coach Justin Little. "We had a shot. It looked good to me and it just missed."

Jarrod Uthoff and his long arms bothered Mallett just enough on the final shot of this tense chess match. The J-Hawks whipped Waterloo West by 30 points in January at Waterloo West, but the Wahawks upset Cedar Falls in the substate semifinals last Friday and were hungry for more.

"It was kind of ripe for an upset," said Jefferson Coach Stu Ordman. "They had nothing to lose."

On the other hand, Jefferson had everything to lose.


Prime time Warriors headed to state

The Washington boys looked like a team primed for state tournament play as they cruised past Dubuque Hempstead 56-31 Tuesday night in a 4A substate final at the U.S. Cellular Center.

The Warriors completely throttled the Mustangs’ only real scoring threat. And once they got their own offensive motor running in the second half, the Warriors put the pedal to the metal.

“Coach (Brad) Metzger told us at halftime to keep putting the pressure on and to blow the game out,” said Washington senior sharpshooter Josh Oglesby.

“Then they opened the second half with a couple of 3s. That seemed to get us motivated. It really got us going and got me going, too.”

Oglesby led all scorers with 22 points, 18 of them coming in the second half. He hit five 3-point goals.

As usual, running mate Wes Washpun provided the rest of the Warrior offensive punch. He pitched in with 18 points on a variety of acrobatic moves, including a flurry one minute just before halftime when he had two jumpers on either side of a high-flying runaway dunk after a steal.


Wash, Linn-Mar familiar faces at girls state

It seems like you can't hold a girls state basketball tournament these days without inviting Linn-Mar or Washington -- or both.

This is one of those "both" years.

Linn-Mar qualified for the Class 4A state tournament in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and again this year. Washington made it to Des Moines in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and again this season.

This is the seventh straight year the Lions or Warriors -- or both -- have played in the state tournament. They've made a total of 10 trips to Des Moines during that span -- five trips apiece -- but ironically they've never played each other in Des Moines during that span.

That could change this week.

If Linn-Mar and Washington both win their opening-round games at the state tournament Wednesday, they'll clash in Friday's semifinals at noon at Wells Fargo Arena.

Getting to the semifinals won't be easy, however.


Two women, two daughters, one dream

Two women, seemingly not so much alike.

Julie Saddler, 47, is a doctor, an anesthesiologist who started medical school at the University of Iowa in her early 30s, long after first getting her college degree in business and working as an airline flight attendant.

She lives in a big, new home on the outskirts of Marion.

Sylvia Dawson, 48, is a civil servant, a senior clerk in the office of the Linn District Court criminal division who began working there 31 years ago right out of high school.

She lives more modestly in the Polk elementary school district in midtown Cedar Rapids.

They’ve both been divorced for a number of years. They’re small town girls, Julie from Anamosa  and Sylvia from Alburnett.

Bonded six years ago through their basketball playing daughters, both will be in the bleachers Wednesday morning at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines for the girls state basketball tournament.

When the Washington Warriors play first, at 10 a.m. against Iowa City West, the two friends will be rooting for Sylvia’s daughter, Tia Dawson.

Then, when the Lions of Linn-Mar take the floor with Ankeny at 11:45 a.m., they’ll be clapping for Julie’s daughter, Kiah Stokes.

Two tall and slender girls, with much in common besides unique and similar-sounding first names.


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