Sunday, December 04, 2016
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor
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Metro Sports Report

No. 1 Eagles hold off Illinois Central

Miles Wentzien scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds Saturday  afternoon as the top-ranked Kirkwood Eagles trimmed Illinois Central, 76-69, in a men's basketball game at Johnson Hall.

The game was tied, 63-63, with less than four minutes remaining, but  the Eagles marched to the foul line and made 13 of 14 free throws in  the last 3 minutes, 15 seconds to secure the victory.

Kirkwood was hot at the charity stripe all day, sinking 39 of 46 free  throws for 84.8 percent. The Eagles made only 14 field goals in the ballgame and made only five two-point shots, but they won the game  with a 39-19 bulge in free throws.

Wentzien and Kaliph Fagan shot 9-for-10 at the foul line, Harp was  7-for-8 and Chris King was 6-for-6. Harp snapped the 63-63 tie with a pair of free throws and Fagan followed with a pair to make it 67-63.

Fagan finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. Harp had 12 points  and four assists. Da'Rion King contributed eight points and nine rebounds. Chris King had nine points and three assists.

There were nine ties in the ballgame and 12 lead changes. Neither team  led by double digits.

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Xavier girls fall to No. 7 IC West

It's just the first week of December, but Xavier Coach Tom Lilly  already has a raspy voice from yelling instructions at his team.

Lilly's vocal chords got a real workout Friday night as the Saints  fell to seventh-ranked Iowa City West, 44-35, in a ragged Mississippi Valley Conference game at Ron Thillen Gymnasium.

"Move! Move!," barked Lilly at one point. "Screen! Screen!"

Sometimes his instructions worked and sometimes they didn't as the  Saints committed a string of costly turnovers. The Trojans also committed their fair share of mistakes, but the visitors had 6-foot-1  junior Logan Cook and she was the best player on the floor.

Cook finished with a game-high 16 points and was the only player on  either team to score in double figures.

Lilly tried his best to steer his club to an upset with directions to  "Post up! Diagonal! Get out there!"

Kiana Stanek tied the game for Xavier at 21-21 by popping in a  3-pointer with with seven minutes left in the third quarter and Kylie Brown pulled the Saints within 24-23 with a layup shortly after.

Things got a little out of control after that as Iowa City West (3-0,  2-0) scored 13 straight points to grab a commanding 37-23 lead early in the fourth quarter as the Saints (2-2, 1-1) hit a scoring drought.

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Muhl collects 800th victory with Kirkwood women

QUINCY, Ill. - Kim Muhl was inducted into the NJCAA Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011 after winning six national titles, but he's still rolling up the victories at Kirkwood Community College.

Muhl collected his 800th victory Wednesday night as the seventh-ranked Eagles bounced John Wood College, 85-59, in Quincy, Ill.

Wood has compiled an 800-174 record in 28 years at Kirkwood with 23 trips to the regional finals, 16 berths in the national tournament and 22 straight 20-win campaigns.

Deleyah Harris led Kirkwood Wednesday night with 20 points, 12 rebounds, three steals, two blocked shots and one assist. Olivia Usher popped in 13 points, Megan Axcell had 11 points and Tay Tay Wilson added 10. Simone Goods had nine rebounds.

Kirkwood raised its perfect record to 8-0. John Wood fell to 1-7.

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Herdliska, Drahozal join MSR softball league

Two more former all-state softball players have joined the new Iowa Women's Softball League, which will begin its first season of competition this May.

Ali Herdliska, who starred at Solon High School, and Erin Drahozal, who starred for the Xavier Saints, are the 18th and 19th players to join the league so far, with many more on the way.

Herdliska, a corner infielder, helped Solon make five straight trips to the state tournament, capped by a state title when she was a senior in 2015. She was a two-time all-state selection and made the all-tournament team at the state meet.

Herdliska enjoyed a tremendous year as a freshman this past season at South Dakota State, where she belted 16 home runs and was named the Summit League Freshman of the Year.

(CLICK HERE TO REGISTER)

Drahozal, a pitcher and third baseman, was a three-time all-state selection at Xavier High School. She is now a sophomore at Upper Iowa with a promising future.

The Iowa Women's Softball League has been formed by the Metro Sports Report to give all college players in Iowa, along with all Iowans who are competing at out-of-state schools, a chance to play in a competitive league during the summer.

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Xavier girls push No. 9 Johnston

The people who vote in the girls basketball rankings think Johnston has the No. 9 team in Class 5A as the new season begins.

If those rankings are legitimate, it could be good news for the Xavier Saints once the Class 4A postseason tournament rolls around in February.

The Saints made a couple of serious runs at the ninth-ranked Dragons Saturday before falling short, 47-38, in an early non-conference game at Ron Thillen Gymnasium.

The Saints trailed 27-15 at halftime, but they scored the first nine points of the second half to pull within 27-24 on a basket by Amelia Ivester.

Johnston spurted to another 12-point margin at 39-27 early in the fourth period, but the Saints scored seven straight markers to climb within 39-34 on a basket by Lexi Noonan and later crept within 42-38 on two free throws by Emily Jasper with just 2:17 left to play.

Xavier did not get over the hump, but Coach Tom Lilly liked the way his club kept battling against one of the top Class 5A programs in the state.

"It shows we're not willing to step back and accept the fact that we're getting beat and now we'll get beat by 20," he said. "So you have to be pretty encouraged with that."

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