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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Bohannon's 25 send No. 1 Lions past Cougars

The people who told Matt Bohannon he'll never be as good as his brother Jason could be right.

He might turn out better.

Bohannon popped in 25 points Friday night as No.1 Linn-Mar beat fourth-ranked Kennedy, 66-57, in a choppy Mississippi Valley Conference game before a near-capacity crowd at Linn-Mar.

Jason Bohannon helped Linn-Mar win the Class 4A state title in 2004 and was named Iowa's Mr. Basketball in 2006, then had a solid career at the University of Wisconsin. Matt is five years younger than Jason, but closing ground fast.

Linn-Mar Coach Chris Robertson, who has coached all three Bohannon brothers so far -- Jason, Zach and Matt -- said Matt has been motivated by unfavorable comparisons to his siblings.


4th quarter rally boosts Wash girls

Out-shot, out-rebounded, but not out-hustled.

The No. 5 Washington Warriors used a thrilling 14-4 run in the fourth quarter to engineer an important and hard-fought 57-54 come-from-behind win over No. 8 Iowa City High on Friday night in girls basketball at the Warrior gym.

Washington moved to 12-2 overall (9-2 MVC) and Iowa City High dropped to 12-4 overall (7-4 MVC).

Washington led only once early in the first quarter, before finally taking the lead against at 50-48 with 2:26 left to play. City High dominated the boards (35-20) and scored six more field goals than the Warriors (18 to 12).

Washington won the game by hitting 28-of-38 from the foul line and outscoring City High, 23-10, in the final eight minutes.

“I didn’t want to hear that,” Warrior Coach Frank Howell said when informed of the rebounding stats. “I knew we were getting outrebounded pretty badly, but I don’t think it will hurt my mood too much. It turned out OK.”

City High committed 28 turnovers against the vaunted Warrior full-court press. Howell went inside to Jazz Royster down the stretch.

“We had a pretty good matchup with Jazz Royster in the low block and we tried to expose that a little bit,” he said. “We did a great job getting her the ball and letting her go to work.”


Lions have a fine all-around program

The Linn-Mar against Washington boys basketball game last Friday at Washington generated a nice gate for the Warriors, even though they were outplayed by quite a margin by the top-ranked Lions.

The gate was in the $7,000 range for the packed house and meant a nice increase for the Warriors' athletic program. They also got to see a sideshow for a bonus in the appearance of North Carolina Coach Roy Williams, who slipped into the Warriors' gym after a 1 hour, 40 minute jet ride from North Carolina to watch Marcus Paige.

He paid his own way at the gate, also bought his own popcorn and posed for every boy, girl, mother and father in the house. I had a nice visit with him, but he had to cut it a little short because the only person he could talk to after the game was Linn-Mar Coach Chris Robertson (NCAA rules prohibited him from talking to Paige, other than to say hello).


Cougars venture into the Lions' den Friday

Bob Fontana has been the Kennedy boys basketball coach since the 1997-98 campaign, so he's had a good (and sometimes painful) look at the remarkable success the Linn-Mar Lions have enjoyed during the past eight years.

It began in 2004 when the Lions won the Class 4A state title, beginning a string of seven straight trips to the state tournament. They've won two state titles during that time (2004 and 2007), been the state runnerup twice (2005 and 2009), placed third on two occasions (2008 and 2010) and were fourth once (2006).

Linn-Mar (12-0) is undefeated and ranked No.1 in the state this year, so there's an excellent chance the Lions will make their eighth straight journey to Des Moines and contend for high honors again.

In Fontana's opinion, this could be the strongest Linn-Mar team in the entire bunch. That's saying a lot, and it could be psychological "coach speak" as No.4 Kennedy prepares for Friday's showdown at Linn-Mar, but he could be right.

Linn-Mar's starting lineup is loaded with three Division I players and two others who could play in college as well. They've got a superstar who's committed to North Carolina, they've got the third Bohannon brother, they've got good size up front, they can beat you outside, they can beat you inside, they're smart and they play good defense.

What's not to love? Unless you play for the other team, of course.


Blaha win keys Prairie victory over Lions

Trey Blaha never beat Alijah Jeffery in AAU youth wrestling tournaments, but they're freshmen in high school now and Blaha has fired the first shot.

Blaha defeated Jeffery in a battle of ranked 103-pounders Thursday night to help Prairie trim Linn-Mar, 30-27, in a Mississippi Valley Conference dual meet at Linn-Mar.

Jeffery won both times they meet on the AAU circuit, but Blaha prevailed Thursday with a solid 9-4 victory.

"The team needed me. I had to pull through," he said.

Jeffery was ranked No. 5 in the state by The Predicament with a 26-2 record heading into Thursday's showdown, while Blaha was ranked No. 9 with a 26-4 mark.


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