Saturday, January 20, 2018
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Metro Sports Report

No. 2 KCC women trim No. 7 NIACC

Arika Wooldridge joined a championship team when she transferred from Winona State to Kirkwood this season.

She played like a champion at crunch time Wednesday night.

Wooldridge made several key plays in the final minutes to help the second-ranked Eagles trim No. 7 NIACC, 68-59, in an ICCAC conference game at Johnson Hall.

The game was tied, 56-56, with five minutes left, but Kirkwood outscored the visitors 12-3 down the stretch for the nine-point victory.

Wooldridge, a 6-foot-2 center from Center Point, re-entered the contest with 3:35 remaining and played a pivotal role from there.

She hit an eight-footer in the lane to beat the shot clock and give Kirkwood a 62-56 lead, then she scored in the low post to make it 64-59 with about a minute remaining.

She also grabbed three key defensive rebounds during that spurt and helped the Eagles raise their records to 16-3 overall and 2-0 in the league.


No. 13 Eagles knock off NIACC

Kirkwood Coach Bryan Petersen pulled Chris King and Ethan Meeker into a private meeting prior to the holiday break last month to talk about where the Eagles were headed.

It had been a choppy season at that point and Petersen wanted his two experienced sophomores to help point the Eagles in the right direction.

It's worked.

King and Meeker played important roles Wednesday night as the 13th-ranked Eagles continued their surge with a 76-63 victory over NIACC in a conference game at Johnson Hall.

King popped in six 3-pointers and scored 23 points. Meeker, who missed the first month of the season with a broken hand, contributed eight points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals.

Most of all, they're providing more of the leadership that may have been lacking earlier in the campaign.

"I just wanted more ownership from those guys in particular, because they've been in our program and they've played a good amount of minutes over their careers," said Petersen. "I just wanted more ownership, because at the end of the day this is their last go-round at Kirkwood.


'Jake's Game' is big success for Jacobson

Ben Jacobson, smiling broadly, embraced his family and warmly acknowledged all the fans who flocked to Johnson Hall Wednesday night to support him in his fight against brain cancer.

"Unbelievable," was his one-word response when asked what the night meant to him. "Unbelievable."

Jacobson, 34, was diagnosed with Level 2 brain cancer in October. The 2 1/2-inch tumor in the frontal lobe of his brain is inoperable, due to its location, but he has vowed to wage a fierce battle against the disease.

Jacobson has been back on the job as an assistant men's basketball coach at Kirkwood Community College since mid-November and he's extremely appreciative of all the support he's received from the Kirkwood athletic department, the Kirkwood community, friends and fans.

A GoFundMe campaign has raised $10,155 for the Jacobson family to help with expenses, already surpassing the initial goal of $10,000.

The NIACC basketball teams, who were Kirkwood's opponents in the doubleheader Wednesday, raised $1,970 for Jacobson at a basketball clinic and presented Jacobson with a check during a pre-game ceremony.


Brie Tauber joins IWSL for 2018 campaign

Brie Tauber, an outstanding student/athlete at Clarke University in Dubuque, has joined the Iowa Women's Softball League for the 2018 campaign this summer.

Tauber, a middle infielder, hit .368 for Clarke last season as a sophomore. She also stole 23 bases and scored 51 runs in 53 games. She is a switch-hitter, somewhat of a rarity in college softball.

Clarke finished with a 41-12 record in 2017, including a 26-8 mark in the Heart of America Conference.

In addition to her work for the Clarke softball team, Tauber was named a Scholar/Athlete All-American by the NFCA in 2017 and made the Dean's List. She is studying biology and physical therapy.


Tauber earned five varsity letters during her high school career at Dubuque Hempstead and hit .397 as a senior in 2015. She was a member of the National Honor Society at Hempstead and was a two-time all-conference selection on the softball field.


'Jake's Game' fundraiser for KCC coach

Ben Jacobson has discovered that a lot of friends are rooting for him in his fight against brain cancer, including people he doesn't even know.

The "GoFundMe" campaign to help Jacobson and his family with their medical expenses has reached $7,620 toward the initial goal of $10,000.

The basketball program at NIACC, one of Kirkwood's rivals in the ICCAC conference, has raised an additional $2,000 for Jacobson through their own clinics.

And now Kirkwood Community College, where Jacobson has worked as an assistant men's basketball coach the past five years, will be holding a special fundraiser for Jacobson Wednesday night when the Eagles host NIACC in a doubleheader that begins at 5:30 p.m. with the women's game at Johnson Hall.


Kirkwood is calling it "Jake's Game," and spectators are asked to wear gray, the color for brain cancer awareness.

Jacobson, 34, was diagnosed in October with Level 2 brain cancer. There is an inoperable 2 1/2-inch tumor in the frontal lobe of his brain, located in a delicate spot that cannot be removed by surgery.


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