Tuesday, March 03, 2015
MONDAY'S SCOREBOARD - BOYS BASKETBALL - CLASS 3A REGIONAL FINAL: Xavier 80, Mount Vernon 64 ... WOMEN'S BASKETBALL - MCC Tournament Final: Clarke 56, Mount Mercy 52 ...
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Metro Sports Report

Saints ride big 2nd half to state

Ryan Luehrsmann played in two NCAA basketball tournaments during his career with the Iowa Hawkeyes, but he never reached the Iowa high school tournament during his stellar prep career at Cedar Rapids Washington.

Now he's going to Des Moines with the Xavier Saints.

The Saints poured in 56 points in the second half Monday night and whipped Mount Vernon, 80-64, in the Class 3A substate finals at the U.S. Cellular Center.

Xavier is seeded No. 6 at state and will meet No. 3 seed Pella on Tuesday, March 10 at 8:15 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

The Saints (16-8) have been on a surge the past month with eight straight wins, but they struggled in the first half against Mount Vernon and trailed 30-24 after the first 16 minutes of action. Xavier fans had sweaty palms at halftime, but the Saints regrouped and came out with fire in their eyes in the third period.

"In the locker room we just calmed down and said, 'This game is ours,'" senior Calvin Winker remarked. "We needed to focus more on defense and pounding it inside, because we knew we had an advantage with that. And that's what we did.

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Clarke denies Mustangs in MCC final

It was a typical "ugly" match-up between the Clarke and Mount Mercy women's basketball teams.

The usual result when the two teams meet in Cedar Rapids has been a Mustang victory. With a berth in the NAIA Division II national tournament on the line, the visiting Crusaders picked an opportune time to turn the ugly game into a thing of beauty.

Senior Amanda Hamilton hit 4-of-5 free throws in the final minute as Clarke held off the Mustangs, 56-52, to win the final MCC Tournament title on Monday night before a good crowd at the Hennessey Recreation Center.

"Every time we have played them the last two years, the game has been in the 50s," Adams said. "We don't play the prettiest games with Mount Mercy, but this is the first time we have ever won on this court."

Clarke (20-13), the fourth-seed, used stingy defense and timely offense to earn a berth in the national tournament beginning on March 11 at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City.

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Armstrong willed Saints to 2013 title

Kayla Armstrong was a superb soccer player at Xavier High School and a member of four state championship teams in a row, but she had only mixed results as a basketball player.

Then came the 2013 state basketball tournament and she became a star.

It all began innocently enough in the opening round of the state tournament when Armstrong scored four points in a 50-45 victory over Lewis Central. She had averaged a modest 6.9 points during the regular season, so it was no big deal.

What happened next was truly amazing.

Armstrong turned into a superstar in the semifinals with 22 points, six rebounds, six steals and five assists in a 68-57 victory over Sioux City Heelan with an astounding performance.

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Nic Uhlir wins Metro Spotlight Award

Nic Uhlir of Linn-Mar is the winner of the Metro Spotlight Award for high school boys this week, the Metro Sports Report announced Sunday.

Uhlir, a senior guard, is a key member of the Linn-Mar boys basketball team that will face Kennedy in the Class 4A substate finals Tuesday at 8 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Center.

The sixth-ranked Lions enter the game with an 18-4 record and boast a 10-1 mark in their last 11 outings. The ninth-ranked Cougars enter the game with a 17-5 record and sport a 9-1 mark in their last 10 games.

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McKenna Andersen wins Metro Spotlight Award

McKenna Andersen of Xavier is the winner of the Metro Spotlight Award for high school girls this week, the Metro Sports Report announced Sunday.

Andersen, a 5-foot-9 junior, is a key member of the Xavier basketball team that will play Harlan in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state tournament Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

The eighth-ranked Saints enter the state tournament with a 17-6 record, with all six of their losses to Class 5A clubs. The top-ranked Harlan Cyclones have a spotless 23-0 mark.

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