Saturday, February 25, 2017
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Kirkwood Community College - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

No. 1 Kirkwood women clinch ICCAC title

FORT DODGE - The top-ranked Kirkwood women's basketball team clinched  at least a tie for the ICCAC conference title Saturday with a 78-47  victory over Iowa Central in Fort Dodge.

The Eagles secured the No. 1 seed for the regional tournament and  raised their records to 28-0 overall and 12-0 in the league.

Shaneequah Watkins made all four of her 3-pointers and led a balanced  attack with 17 points. Deleyah Harris scored 16 points, Simone Goods  had 14 and Tay Tay Wilson 13.

Goods was named the national NJCAA Division II Player of the Week for  her performances in two victories last week.

KIRKWOOD (78): Harris 6 2-2 16, T.Wilson 4 5-6 13, Puok 0 0-0 0,  Axcell 2 0-0 6, Taylor 0 0-0 0, Watkins 6 1-1 17, Voss 1 1-2 3, Cotton  3 1-2 7, Goods 5 4-5 14, Usher 1 0-0 2. Totals 28 14-18 78.

3-point goals - Kirkwood 8 (Watkins 4, Harris 2, Axcell 2).


No. 8 KCC men upset by Iowa Central

FORT DODGE - The eighth-ranked Kirkwood men's basketball team was  stung by Iowa Central, 82-80, Saturday in Fort Dodge.

The setback dropped the Eagles (22-5, 8-2) one game behind  Southwestern in the ICCAC standings with two games left in the regular  season.

Kirkwood belted Iowa Central by 29 points when they met Jan. 28 in  Cedar Rapids, but the rematch in Fort Dodge was a different story.

The Eagles saw a 14-point lead melt away in the second half and their  final possession of the game ended with a turnover.

Iowa Central won only its second game in the conference this season,  raising its records to 10-19 overall and 2-8 in the league.

Iowa Central used just six players in the ballgame and got 30 points  from Tray Croft and 23 points from Prince Moss. The two freshmen from  Alabama combined for nine 3-pointers.

Kirkwood was back at full strength with Miles Wentzien (shoulder) and  Kaliph Fagan (extracted wisdom tooth) in uniform after missing several  games, but none of the Eagles had big scoring games.

Shakur Triplett led Kirkwood with 15 points and nine rebounds.  Wentzien scored 13 points, Chris King 12, Byron Harp 10 and Fagan 10.

Kirkwood hosts NIACC Wednesday night.

KIRKWOOD (80): Triplett 7 1-2 15, Harp 4 1-2 10, Jackson 1 0-0 3,  Wentzien 2 8-9 13, Meeker 0 0-0 0, Fagan 3 4-5 10, C.King 4 1-2 12,  Marble 3 0-0 9, Henry 0 0-0 0, D.King 4 0-0 8. Totals 28 15-20 80.

IOWA CENTRAL (82): Swift 4 3-4 13, Croft 12 2-5 30, Moss 8 2-3 23, Jok  0 0-0 0, Miller 2 3-4 7, Hawkins 3 3-4 9. Totals 29 13-20 82.

Halftime - Kirkwood 40, Iowa Central 36. 3-point goals - Kirkwood 9  (C.King 3, Marble 3, Harp 1, Jackson 1, Wentzien 1), Iowa Central 11  (Moss 5, Croft 4, Swift 2).


Rima excited about Kirkwood baseball team

Kirkwood baseball coach Todd Rima plans to have three catchers and  three shortstops in his starting line Saturday when the Eagles begin  the season against Johnson County, but don't be alarmed.

It's a sign of strength, not insanity.

Kirkwood is blessed with an abundance of talented catchers and  shortstops who are capable of playing other positions, so this is a  way to strength the overall lineup.

"It allows us to put our nine best offensive guys on the field," Rima  said this week, "and we can do that and still be good on defense.

"We had to move some guys just to make sure we could get all their  bats in the lineup."

Toran Shadidi, who missed last season with an injury after hitting  .342 in 2015, has earned the starting job behind the plate.

Spencer Wiskus, who was a star catcher at Iowa City West, has moved to  first base. And Tyler Bordner, a part-time catcher for Kirkwood last  year and a .354 hitter, has moved to right field.

"I think Shahidi is as good as any catcher in our league," said Rima.  "And Wiskus and Bordner are really good.



No. 1 Eagles lose Ajak to torn ACL

Kirkwood Coach Kim Muhl is confident his team can make a good run in the postseason tournament next month, but the top-ranked Eagles will have to do it without Awal Ajak.

Ajak, a 6-foot freshman from Des Moines, confirmed Wednesday night that she suffered a torn ACL in her left knee in a win over Southwestern on Feb. 11 and has been lost for the season. Her surgery is scheduled for Monday.

Kirkwood collected another blowout Wednesday with an 85-37 victory over Southeastern Community College at Johnson Hall, but Muhl knows  the Eagles will face stiff competition if they reach the national tournament and compete for the national title.

Kirkwood (27-0, 11-0) has not been pushed by too many teams this season, but Muhl is confident they'll respond to the challenge when  the time comes and kick into a higher gear, even without Ajak.

"With this group, I think they can," he said. "They've got a pretty strong mental approach to the game. They know what's at stake.

"They bought in, they guard and they really pass the ball to each other."

Ajak, a key reserve on a deep and talented club, was averaging 8.1  points and 3.7 rebounds when she got hurt. She watched Wednesday's game in street clothes with her crutches nearby.



No. 4 KCC softball team sweeps Clarke

DUBUQUE - The fourth-ranked Kirkwood softball team swept a  doubleheader from Clarke University, 9-1 and 11-1, Wednesday in Dubuque.

Monika Bevans went 3-for-3 and drove in three runs for the Eagles  (6-0) in the opener. Taylor Nearad went 3-for-4 and scored twice.  Amanda Pipolo was 2-for-3.

Angie McBeain (2-0) tossed the first four innings for the victory.

Lexi Ferrari was 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBIs and three runs in  the second game. Bevans drove in three more runs and now has 16 RBIs  in just six games this season.

Maddie Hansen went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Morgan Frost was 2-for-4 and  DoniRae Mayhew drove in two runs.

Lexi Kinnaird (2-0) struck out 10 batters in five innings in the nightcap.


No. 9 Kirkwood men claim 22nd win

The ninth-ranked Kirkwood men's basketball team cruised to a 95-62 victory over the Mount Mercy junior varsity at Johnson Hall Tuesday  night.

The Eagles raised their record to 22-4.

Da'Rion King led Kirkwood with 22 points and eight rebounds. Shakur Triplett collected a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Elijah Henry contributed 16 points and nine rebounds for the Eagles. Chris King finished with 13 points, six assists and five rebounds. Carlo Marble added 11 points.

Chris Brown led Mount Mercy with 22 points.

MOUNT MERCY (62): Stoeffler 2 3-4 8, Van Oort 4 0-0 9, Mallett 1 0-0  3, Frazier 0 0-0 0, Brown 8 6-9 22, Reischauer 5 3-4 13, Ehlen 0 0-0  0, Shelman 3 0-0 7, Kehinde 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 12-17 62.

KIRKWOOD (95): Triplett 6 4-4 16, Harp 2 0-0 5, Meeker 2 0-0 6, C.King  6 0-0 13, D.King 9 4-5 22, Jackson 2 2-2 6, Marble 3 2-2 11, Henry 7  2-3 16. Totals 37 14-16 95.

Halftime - Kirkwood 51, Mount Mercy JV 28. 3-point goals - Mount Mercy  JV 4 (Stoeffler 1, Van Oort 1, Mallett 1, Shelman 1), Kirkwood 7  (Marble 3, Meeker 2, Harp 1, C.King 1).


No. 4 KCC softball team starts 4-0

DAVENPORT - The fourth-ranked Kirkwood softball team won all four of its games at the Saint Ambrose tournament Saturday and Sunday at the SAU Dome in Davenport.

The Eagles defeated Saint Ambrose 6-5, Waubonsee 11-1, Carl Sandburg 25-0 and John Wood 15-6.

All-American catcher Maddie Hansen drove in 11 runs in the four games. All-American center fielder Taylor Nearad hit .583 and scored eight  runs from the leadoff spot in the batting order. And All-American left fielder Morgan Frost hit .533 and scored eight runs.

Freshman DoniRae Mayhew hit .571 and was the winning pitching in two of the games. Freshman Monika Bevans also hit .571 and drove in 10  runs. And freshman Angie McBeain hit .455, scored eight runs and was the winning pitcher in relief against Saint Ambrose.

Hansen, Bevans and McBeain hit home runs in the tournament.


Harp plays sweet music for Eagles

The Kirkwood Eagles slapped adversity in the face again Saturday afternoon.

If you've followed the Kirkwood men's basketball team this season, you know it's nothing new.

The ninth-ranked Eagles dressed only eight players due to medical  issues and still managed to knock off DMACC, 83-63, in a key ICCAC  conference game at Johnson Hall.

Earlier this year, the Eagles had to borrow a few players from the Kirkwood baseball team when five of their own players were suspended  for two games by the NJCAA.

The Eagles are now 3-0 with a short-handed roster.

"They've been faced with a lot of different adversity during this  year," said Kirkwood Coach Bryan Petersen. "Basically our message to  the team was, 'We've done this before, so we have to find a way and  not make excuses.'

"I thought the guys did a really nice job, coming out and setting the  tone the first five minutes."

Byron Harp poured in 26 points for the Eagles and padded his stat line with six assists, five rebounds, five 3-pointers and one only turnover  in 39 minutes.



Wilson nets 20 as No. 1 Eagles roll

Kirkwood Coach Kim Muhl went on a recruiting trip to the Chicago suburbs last year to scout a player at Rich East High School who ended  up going to Monroe College in New York.

It turned out to be a fruitful trip, however, because Muhl landed a  talented point guard from Rich East instead.

Hello, Tay Tay Wilson.

Wilson made three 3-pointers tossed in 20 points Saturday to help the  top-ranked Eagles gun down the DMACC Bears, 82-57, in an ICCAC  Conference game at Johnson Hall.

"We were actually recruiting another kid from her high school," Muhl  explained. "I liked Tay. She hit shots. Point guards that can hit  shots are fun."

Wilson made it a fun day for Kirkwood as the Eagles raised their  impeccable records to 26-0 overall and 10-0 in the league with four  games left in the regular season.

Wilson, a 5-foot-6 freshman, is averaging just 6.5 points and 3.2  assists for Kirkwood, but don't be fooled by those modest numbers.  She's the floor general on a deep and balanced club where the points,  rebounds and assists are spread around.

Wilson can score 20 points and help her club win a ballgame, or she  can score no points and help her team.



3 All-Americans boost Kirkwood softball

The Kirkwood softball team begins the season Saturday with three All-Americans in its starting lineup, including the 2016 National Player of the Year with Taylor Nearad.

No wonder Coach Joe Yegge is optimistic.

Nearad enjoyed a spectacular year last season when she hit .602 with 30 home runs and 129 RBIs, nearly winning the national Triple Crown.

Maddie Hansen hit .455 with 20 homers and 93 RBIs. Morgan Frost checked in at .498 with 10 homers and 72 RBIs.

The Eagles boast an All-American in center field, an All-American behind the plate and an All-American in left field.

That's a good way to build a lineup.

"We should be able to score as well as anyone in the country," Yegge said this week.


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