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

Metro Sports Report

Best birthday present? A trip to state

Kasey Semler got the only present he wanted for his 18th birthday Monday night at the U.S. Cellular Center.

He can thank Dusty Albaugh and the rest of his buddies on the Marion High School basketball team for giving him a trip to the Class 3A state tournament in Des Moines.

Albaugh popped in 21 points and Semler netted 15 as the Indians trimmed Benton Community, 48-44, in the Class 3A substate finals before several thousand fans in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Marion (17-7) will face No.1 Waverly-Shell Rock (24-0) in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament on Tuesday, March 8 at 3:30 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Marion is seeded eighth in the eight-team tournament and Waverly-Shell Rock is seeded No.1, but the Indians embraced the challenge of facing the favorite club.

"We'll be ready to go," vowed Albaugh, who popped in four 3-pointers. "We want to see the best. We want to match ourselves up with them. It will be a good game."

It certainly was a good birthday for Semler, who played in the 2009 state tournament as a sophomore and was itching for icing on his cake Monday night.


Linn-Mar boys eye spot in state history

The Linn-Mar Lions can make history Tuesday night if they beat North Scott and earn their eighth straight trip to the boys state basketball tournament.

Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 Tuesday night at the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Linn-Mar is currently tied with Cedar Rapids Regis for the longest streak in history with seven consecutive trips to state. Regis, which combined with LaSalle to form Xavier High School in 1998, made seven straight trips from 1989 through 1995.

Davenport High School (1947 through 1952) and Hull Western Christian (1988 through 1993) made six straight trips to the boys state basketball tournament, according to records posted on the IHSAA website.

Linn-Mar began its streak when it won the Class 4A title in 2004. The Lions also won the 4A crown in 2007. They finished second in 2005 and 2009, placed third in 2008 and 2010, and were fourth in 2006.


Cougar mats club cashing in on NAIA tourney

The arrival of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics  wrestling tournament in Cedar Rapids later this week means some extra  work for members of the Kennedy High School Parent Wrestling Support Club,  as well as extra money for the club treasury.

“We’ll have 35 to 40 volunteers per session,“  said club president Mike Sheldon. The workers will be responsible for keeping track of the written scorebook, the score clock and riding time. They also will serve as floor managers and assist as necessary with computer equipment. The tasks are similar to those the club handled for AAU youth tournaments for several years. Those tournaments have since moved to Des Moines.

The NAIA tournament has five sessions spread over Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It’s the first time the  tournament will be held in Cedar Rapids, but not the first visit to Iowa. It was held in Sioux City from 2005-2008.  The organization expects 5,000 to 8,000 spectators will attend. The tournament’s official host  is Mount Mercy University, but the Kennedy boosters will be working for the event facility.


Indoor track season starts Tuesday

Four Metro high school teams will start the indoor track season at the Wartburg Indoor Meet Tuesday in Waverly.

Linn-Mar and Prairie are sending members of their boys teams to the Hoover Fieldhouse at Wartburg College. Members of the Washington and Prairie girls teams also will compete.

There are 13 indoor meets on Metro schedules around the state this March with events in Waverly, Cedar Falls, Iowa City, Ames, Mount Vernon and Pella.

The outdoor track season will begin in late March and early April. Coaches use the indoor meets to prepare for outdoor competition.

"It gives us an opportunity to get together," said Prairie boys coach Bill Schwarz. "It makes it easier to get this kind of work done this early in the season."

Teams were allowed to begin official practices Feb. 14, allowing only two weeks of workouts before the first meet. As a result, coaches are inclined to ease into the indoor meets.


Marion boys chasing 4th state trip

The Marion Indians will be seeking their fourth trip to the boys state basketball tournament in school history Monday night when they face Benton in the Class 3A substate finals at the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.

This is the rubber match between the two Wamac Conference teams this season. The Indians (16-7) and Bobcats (16-7) split two games during the regular season, with each team winning at home.

Benton won the first game in a squeaker, 57-56, in early January. Marion prevailed in the second meeting in a lopsided game, 61-40, just three weeks ago.

Marion reached the state tournament in 1950 and 1952, then had to wait 57 years before making a return trip in 2009 when Kasey Semler, Dusty Albaugh and Tyler Fisher were sophomores. Semler leads the Indians at 21.8 points per game and Albaugh contributes 12.1 per contest.

Semler has dropped into second place in Class 3A scoring after holding the top spot for much of the season. Cole Darrow of Underwood is the new leader at 22.1 points.

Benton is led by seniors Zach Twedt (15.4 points) and Mitch Lester (12.6).

There is a Class 3A substate doubleheader at the U.S. Cellular Center. Fifth-ranked Solon (21-2) faces 10th-ranked Dubuque Wahlert (17-6) at 6:30.


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