Archive for January, 2009

Rivalry Saturday: Parting shots

January 26, 2009

Some final observations as Rivalry Saturday fades in the back horizon:

The paid attendance was 2,460. Still not super, but better. It’s a record for the five years they’ve held it. I still don’t think 4,000 is out of the question. It’s just a matter of getting good teams, good matchups that draw. And better weather (Saturday WAS a chilly day and may have kept some people home).

Cedar Rapids Kennedy showed a lot of guts. Down 15 midway through the third quarter and still down five when Jade Rogers fouled out, the Cougars found a way to get it done against a team that was at least as talented as them.

Linn-Mar … where do you start? Printy and Stokes are Division-I players, no doubt about it. But the key to this team is the other kids. Klopfenstein, Kearney, Norman … the bench probably would win a half-dozen MVC games.

MFL MarMac is going to be fine, if and only if discovers success from the free throw line. The Bulldogs were 3 of 14 from the stripe while Springville was 16 of 20. There’s your difference, and then some.

Mount Vernon was the biggest disappointment of the day. I didn’t see the energy I saw from the same kids in volleyball. On the other hand, DeWitt Central’s sophomores (Smith and Keitel) were even better than I expected them to be.

Memo to Springville fans: Enjoy this ride. A team, a class like this, doesn’t come around often, particularly at a small school. For some schools, it never comes. This group has 13 more games to play, at most. Relish each of them.

I could have done without the Marion students’ chants. “Air-ball, air-ball” is cute for a possession or two. Then it gets kind of tiresome.

Finally, here’s a list of potential matchups I have submitted to Scot Moenck for 2009-10 (seven to pick six):

Linn-Mar vs. Cedar Rapids Kennedy

Waukon vs. MFL MarMac (both coaches sound receptive to it)

Anamosa vs. Mount Vernon

Marion vs. Williamsburg or Vinton-Shellsburg (Vinton drew well Saturday)

Maquoketa Valley vs. Cascade

Belle Plaine vs. Sigourney

Washington (Iowa) vs. somebody (Iowa City Regina, maybe)


Live chat, noon today

January 26, 2009

Please join fellow preps writers Jeff Dahn, K.J. Pilcher and me for a live chat from 12 to 12:30 today.

Rivalry Saturday: Springville vs. MFL MarMac

January 25, 2009

8:18 p.m. — We’re running about 25 minutes behind for the finale of Rivalry Saturday. No introductions are necessary. MFL MarMac (15-0) is ranked No. 1 in Class 2A and was the state runner-up last year. Springville (14-0) carries a 27-game winning streak, a run that included the 2008 1A state championship. The Orioles are top-ranked in 1A. Five minutes to tipoff.

8:21 p.m. — MFL’s Whitney Wubbena has a contraption of some sort on the right shoulder. She’s fiddling with it … maybe the adhesiveness is an issue. I’ve never used that word. Adhesiveness.

8:31 p.m. — Intros and tip. The Bulldogs have their game faces on.

8:33 p.m. — Melissa Moon kicks off the scoring with a free throw. MFL 1-0.

8:35 p.m. — Katie Eiben calls for the ball, gets called for 3 seconds.

8:37 p.m. — Wubbena scores inside for first FG. Bulldogs 3-0 4:40.

8:38 p.m. — Chelsey Lamker 3, then Springville turnover. MFL 6-0. O’Donnell pleas to get the ball inside. 3:06 left in 1st.

8:41 p.m. — Another trey for Lamker makes it 9-0, then Eiben converts a three-point play to break the ice for Springville. Callie Kloubec makes a free throw, and it’s 9-4.

8:45 p.m. — Moon scored on a putback, then Kloubec counters for Springville. A big discussion on alternate possession with 0.1 seconds left. I don’t think either team wants it. MFL 11-6 after one quarter.

8:49 p.m. — Second foul on Carly Martin.

8:51 p.m. — Moon hits a long one, on the 3-point line. 13-6. Emily Blietz picks up a foul. She’s been quiet.

8:52 p.m. — Somebody opened the door. A big draft of cold wind blew in. Blietz fouls again. Sarah Davidson makes a free throw, then misses one.

8:54 p.m. — Springville has a really tall cheerleader. Why doesn’t she play? I don’t know why, but I have a tough time telling Bre Oxley and Alison Woods apart.

8:56 p.m. — Kellie Wagner puts back her own miss and it’s 15-7. Lamker hits another 3, and it’s 18-7.

8:58 p.m. — TV timeout. Oh lord, they’re doijng the Macarena. Another cold gust. Eiben hits two FTs. 18-9. The ball goes out of bounds and the tall Springville cheerleader gets out of the way.

9:01 p.m. — Martin has an ugly gash on her knee. Gretchen Eastman to the rescue. Prewrap, and she’s back in the game.

9:05 p.m. — Eiben hits two free throws, then Kloubec zips back door for a bucket. Lamker closes the half with her fourth trey, and the Bulldogs take a 21-13 lead into the locker room.

9:08 p.m. — Springville’s 3-for-17 from the field in the first half.

9:15 p.m. — Ready to start the second half. I’m 55 minutes from headline. Hustle up.

9:16 p.m. — Kloubec scores on Orioles’ first possession. 21-15. Wagner shoots two free throws. Missed both.

9:18 p.m. — Wagner scores from the elbow. Eiben (Eiben!) hits a 3. Lamker scores. Eiben scores and draws a foul. I can’t keep up. 25-21. 5:55 left in 3rd. Orioles force a turnover. Orioles fans perk up.

9:21 p.m. — Martin scores on backdoor feed from Oxley. Blietz shoots two FTs. No good, good. 26-23, 4:35 left.

9:23 p.m. — McKenna Snitker hits an open shotm, and it’s five-point game. Blietz picks up fourth foul. TV timeout, 28-23, 3:46 left in 3rd.

9:26 p.m. — Kloubec converts a putback, Martin scores on a lovely reverse layup and it’s a one-point game.

9:27 p.m. — Eiben scores inside. Springville has its first lead, 29-28, 2:06 left in the third. An MFL fan is taking his frustrations out on the refs.

9:29 p.m. — Snitker hits again. MFL’s back in front, 30-29. Davidson draws a charge on Wagner.

9:32 p.m. — End of three. MFL MarMac 30-29. If the loser of this game drops from No. 1, it’s a crime.

9:34 p.m. — Hailey Hart scores, then Blietz. Springville turns it over.

9:35 p.m. — Blietz fouls out. Davidson smiles.

9:40 p.m. — Hustle play by Snitker leads to Wubbena basket. 34-31. Lamker steal and is fouled. Ball dances around, no good.

9:40 p.m. — Eiben free throws. One of two. 34-32. MFL misses two shots, boards ’em both. Time out 4:27 left.

9:43 p.m. — Davidson hits a baseline 3 and pumps her fist. Eiben hacks Snitker, who makes one of two free throws to tie it.

9:47 p.m. — Wagner fouls out. Eiben drains 2 FT. Orioles up 2, 2:50 left.

9:49 p.m. — Orioles up 2 with the ball. 2:15 left. 21 minutes til deadline. Take a deep breath.

9:51 p.m. — Martin takes a hard foul Misses first FT. Makes second. 1:56 left.

9:52 p.m. — Moon walks. Martin drives and draws a foul. Makes one. Makes another. 40-35. 1:25 to go.

9:53 p.m. — Lamker hits a long 3 to keep the Bulldogs alive. 40-38, 1:07 to go. Timeout MFL. Great game.

9:54 p.m. — Snitker foul, then Oriole foul. Riley Schiler misses two FTs. 0:39 left.

9:56 p.m. — Martin fouled. Good. Good. 42-38, 0:24 left.

9:57 p.m. — Moon misses 3. Eiben finishes. 44-38. Final.

Rivalry Saturday: Maq. Valley vs. North Linn

January 25, 2009

6:53 p.m. — It’s Game 5 at the U.S. Cellular Center. Maquoketa Valley leads North Linn, 12-6, after one period. Writing the Kennedy-Assumption gamer. Will be back shortly.

7:10 p.m. — OK. Back. Maquoketa Valley had an 11-point lead. It’s 19-18 now. Halftime.

7:11 p.m. — Crowd’s starting to gather again for the 8 p.m. finale.

7:25 p.m. — Nickname of the day: Kendra Kregal is “Bird.” Don’t know why.

7:28 p.m. — Bird just scored. Maquoketa Valley leads, 27-23, 4:08 left in the third.

7:30 p.m. — I figured Springville would have a huge crowd advantage against MFL MarMac. Not so fast. Bulldogs supporters are lining the north side.

7:33 p.m. — North Linn ties it, then Bird scored five in a row to put the Wildcats up 32-27.

7:42 p.m. — There’s just no stopping Bird. Two more baskets in the fourth quarter. Wildcats lead 36-29, 5:28 to go.

7:45 p.m. — Kim Muhl sighting.

7:46 p.m. — Another Bird basket. 38-29. It’s an 11-2 run.

7:57 p.m. — Maquoketa Valley stretches it to 43-33, 1:22 to go.

8:05 p.m. — Wildcats win 46-38. All hail Bird. She scored 19 of her 23 points in the second half.

Rivalry Saturday: Kennedy vs. Assumption

January 24, 2009

4:28 p.m. — Game 4 of Rivalry Saturday is 3 minutes away. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (10-3), the fourth-ranked team in Class 4A, faces 3A No. 5 Davenport Assumption (12-2). The Knights were 2008 2A state champs.

4:40 p.m. — Much of the crowd has exited and the intensity level has lulled since the Linn-Mar-Ballard game. Kennedy leads 3-0 through three minutes.

4:46 p.m. — It took 5 minutes, 31 seconds, but Assumption’s finally on the board. Cougars led, 6-1.

4:53 p.m. — Still no field goals for the Knights. Kennedy leads, 8-3, after one quarter.

5:05 p.m. —  Pardon my negligence. Writing the Linn-Mar/Ballard story right now. Kennedy leads 17-15 midway through the second quarter.

5:20 p.m.  — All right, story’s done and my head’s back in the game. Assumption leads 22-21 at half.

5:28 p.m. — Next to the Kennedy bench, which is a treat. Dennis Roloff is one of the more demonstrative guys around. “Get ‘er out of the lane,” he pleaded.

5:30 p.m. — A press-bench neighbor on Kristen Hahn: “That No. 1 works her ass off.”

5;31 p.m. — Six second-half points already for Allison Spinas-Valanainis. Whoops. Make that eight. Assumption leads 30-23.

5:33 p.m. — Time out, Kennedy. Knights leads, 35-25, and it’s time for Cyndi Lauper. Girls just Want to Have Fun.

5:40 p.m. — Lead swells to 15, now back down to 10.

5:44 p.m. — Assumption leads 42-36. One quarter to play.

5:45 p.m. — Assumption fans aren’t so bad when their students stay home.

5:48 p.m. — Laura Boenish drains a 3-pointer…Cougars within 45-43.

5:51 p.m. — Kennedy’s the aggressor now. Boenish shooting free throws…missed first of bonus.

5:53 p.m. — Rogers missed front end, too … Spinas-Valainis scored on other end…47-43, 3:30 to go.

5:55 p.m. — Rogers fouls out … Sam Thrapp hits one, misses one… 48-43, 3:00 to go.

5:56 p.m. — Hahn for three, Assumption by two.

5:57 p.m. — Mary Beth Bush makes 2 FT. Knights up 50-46, 2:00.

5:58 p.m. — Mariah Duke nails a trey. 50-49, 1:41 to go…timeout Kennedy.

5:59 p.m. — Kennedy steal, then Olivia Meier drive. CRK 51-50, under a minute.

6:00 p.m. — Assumption miss .. Duke makes first of two FTs…timeout Assumption.

6:02 p.m. — Duke makes second. Three Assumption misses, then a Kennedy foul in the scrum. Thrapp one-and-one … makes first, makes second. Kennedy 53-52, with the ball 0:33 left.

6:05 p.m. — Grace Fennelly fouls out. Duke makes 2FT. 55-52, 0:31 left.

6:06 p.m. — Hahn steal, Thrapp foul, Hahn make FT, miss FT… Valainis score … Kennedy 56-54, 3.6 seconds left.

6:08 p.m. — Duke fouled (Youngblut’s 5th). Duke 2 FTS: Make, make … Kennedy 58, Assumption 54. Final.

Rivalry Saturday: Linn-Mar vs. Ballard

January 24, 2009

2:41 p.m. — We’re 4 minutes away from the headline game of the day: 4A #1 Linn-Mar (13-0) vs. 3A #1 Ballard (14-0). The Lions are averaging a 36-point victory margin while the Bombers are blasting the competition by 35 ppg.

2:48 p.m. — Game time. Probably the biggest crowd right now in Rivalry Saturday history.

2:50 p.m. — Ballard two scores, Linn-Mar two fouls. 3-0, Bombers.

2:55 p.m. — Midway through the first quarter, Linn-Mar still without a field goal. 3-1, Ballard.

3:00 p.m. — Two free throws for Printy. Linn-Mar takes its first lead, 7-6. 0:48 left in 1st quarter.

3:03 p.m. — One field goal for each team in first quarter. Lions lead 8-6. It’s time for Cotton Eyed Joe.

3:06 p.m. — Linn-Mar’s run is 9-0 before Zimmerman scores. Linn-Mar, 12-8. Two fouls on Printy.

3:10 p.m. — The individual score/foul board isn’t being used. Wish it was. D.J. Norman and Rachel Kearney have nine points between then in the second quarter. Lions lead 19-12, 3:23 left in the half.

3:12 p.m. — Stokes swats Zimmerman.

3:13 p.m. — Stokes swats Zimmerman again.

3:15 p.m. — Printy 2 FTs, Norman 2 FTs. Linn-Mar lead is 11.

3:18 p.m. — Halftime. Linn-Mar 24-12. Halftime entertainment: Prairie vs. North Cedar little girls.

3:31 p.m. — Ballard 4-20 from the field in the first half. Linn-Mar strikes first on a Rachel Kearney putback.

3:33 p.m. — Larry Niemeyer sighting. All the stars are out.

3:35 p.m. — Printy drains a 3, Linn-Mar leads 33-17 and Ballard calls time. The role players are deciding this one. Morgan Terpstra is hustling hard, and Kearney and Norman are shining.

3:38 p.m. — Stokes scores and draws a foul. It’s 35-17, 3:49 left in the third and possibly heading toward routdom.

3:44 p.m. — Taylor Greenfield’ sfree throw ends a 13-0 Lions run, but Klopfenstein answers with a 3-pointer. Not a misprint at 44-18. Just an unexpected mismatch.

3:46 p.m. — 44-22, end of 3rd. “Dude Looks a Lady” in the jukebox.

3:51 p.m. — Printy drive and a pretty dish for a Stokes layup. It’s 52-27, 4:55 to go.

3:52 p.m. — Those declarations that Ballard’s the best team in the state? Drop ’em.

3:58 p.m. — Scoreboard malfunction.

4:01 p.m. — Zimmerman has 10 in the 4th. Linn-Mar 56-35, 2:20 to go.

4:06 p.m. — Subs in.

4:07 p.m. — It’s a final. Linn-Mar wins, 59-41.

Rivalry Saturday: Vinton-Shellsburg vs. Marion

January 24, 2009

12:45 p.m. — We’re 12 minutes from tipoff of Game 2 at Rivalry Saturday. Marion (11-1, 7-0) is ranked No. 4 in Class 3A and threatening to run away with the Wamac West. Vinton-Shellsburg (8-6, 3-5) is struggling but always brings its A-plus game for Marion.

12:54 p.m. — Scot Moenck: Attendance is way up from last year.

12:59 p.m. — Intros and tip.

1:04 p.m. — Good vocal crowd for Vinton. Vikettes up 4-2.

1:07 p.m. — Fish. Swish. For three.

1:10 p.m. — Back to back hoops for Allison Emrich. Vikettes lead 12-6.

1:12 p.m. — Fish. Swish. For three.

1:15 p.m. — That’s three times three for Brittany Fish. Tied at 14-14 after one.

1:16 p.m. — A little Journey for music during the break.

1:23 p.m. — Trading baskets, back and forth … Marion 22-20 3:40 2nd.

1:27 p.m. — Gene Klinge sighting.

1:33 p.m. — Back to back buckets by Morgan Paige, then Allison Emrich hits 1 of 2 FTs. Marion 26-25 at half.

1:34 p.m. — Halftime entertainment: Marion vs. Vinton fifth-grade girls.

1:43 p.m. — Emrich and Fish have nine points apiece for their respective teams.

1:47 p.m. — Trading baskets, trading leads … Rinehart, top of the key … Marion leads 32-29.

1:51 p.m. — Marion students’ “Air-ball” chant growing tiresome. TV timeout … 36-31, Marion. Morgan Paige is starting to take over.

1:53 p.m. — Fish. Swish. From three. Marion by 8.

1:56 p.m. — Alli O’Neill scores on a putback and the lead is double digits.

1:58 p.m. — Vinton-Shellsburg scoreless through the last 4:46 of the quarter … Marion’s up 42-31.

2:02 p.m. — Jan Jensen sighting.

2:05 p.m. — Three minutes, no points, in fourth quarter.

2:09 p.m. — This game’s lost its flow. No Vikette field goals since 6:30 mark of 3rd quarter … that’s a drought of almost 12 minutes. Marion, 46-33, 2:42 to go.

2:13 p.m. — Paige score and foul. Final nail, meet coffin.

2:15 p.m. — It’s a final: Marion 50, Vinton-Shellsburg 35.

Rivalry Saturday: Mt. Vernon vs. DeWitt Central

January 24, 2009

11:13 a.m. — OK, we’re up and running for Game 1 at Rivalry Saturday. It’s Mount Vernon (11-3 overall, 6-2 Wamac East) and DeWitt Central (11-3, 7-0). The Sabers can pretty much lock up the divisional crown with a win.

11:16 a.m. — Intros. Opening attendance: Maybe 200. There’s a row of Mount Vernon girls, maybe fifth-graders, in white uniforms. They look ready to play.

11:21 a.m. — Early nomination for Mount Vernon Coach Bob Kintzel as best-dressed coach. Maroon shirt with black pants and multi-color tie. Sharp.

11:23 a.m. — Central is the faster team out of the gate. It’s 10-3, Sabers.

11:29 a.m. — There is supposed to be a TV timeout at the first dead ball after 4:00 mark of the quarter. Somebody forgot to tell the officials.

11:30 a.m. — Scrap that. Mediacom cut the TV timeouts. Good.

11:33 a.m. — Central 15, Mount Vernon 7. End 1st.

11:37 a.m. — Mount Vernon scores back-to-back buckets for the first time all game and draws within 17-11.

11:41 a.m. — Apparently the TV timeouts have been reinstituted. We’re taking one.

11:44 a.m. — I’m afraid Central’s going to be really good for a while. The top two players are sophomores — guard Lindsay Smith and post Jennifer Keitel are dominating. Sabers lead 27-13 and Kintzel took a timeout.

11:50 a.m. — Halftime. Central leads 27-17. Halftime entertainment: Fifth-grade basketball — Cedar Rapids Panthers vs. those Mount Vernon Mustangs.

11:52 a.m. — Smith has 12 points, Keitel seven at the half for Central. Karly Cochrane leads the Mustangs with six.

12:01 p.m. — Mount Vernon turns it over, first possession of second half.

12:04 p.m. — It’s 27-19, and has been for a while.

12:08 p.m. — Karly Cochrane’s at the line. Track season’s not far away, and she’s going to be one of the best in the area. Looks like she’s muscled up a bit. Missed two free throws though.

12:11 p.m. — Public service announcement: This game will be aired at 8 p.m. tomorrow on Mediacom.

12:16 p.m. — Basket by Kylea Weber gets Mount Vernon within six, closest it’s been since midway through the second quarter.

12:24 p.m. — Kintzel to team: “We need a run.”

12:25 p.m. — Central’s up 9, 3:30 to play and becoming VERY deliberate with the ball.

12:27 p.m. — A handful of Springville Orioles are here. Their tipoff is 7 hours, 33 minutes away.

12:29 p.m. — Obstructed view. A very tall official in front of me. Meanwhile, Mount Vernon is scoreless in the fourth. 2 minutes to go. Central by 11.

12:32 p.m. — What was Ron Gonder’s phrase about songbooks? It’s 41-27, 90 seconds to go. It’s over.

12:36 p.m. — That’s a wrap. DeWitt Central 42, Mount Vernon 29. Smith finishes with 22 points.

Rivalry Saturday scoreboard

January 24, 2009

**Want more live blogging from Rivalry Saturday? Catch Jacob Kopp’s live blog on**

DeWitt Central 42, Mount Vernon 29 (Final)

Marion 50, Vinton-Shellsburg 35 (Final)

Linn-Mar 59, Ballard 41 (Final)

Cedar Rapids Kennedy 58, Davenport Assumption 54 (Final)

Maquoketa Valley 46, North Linn 38 (Final)

Springville 44, MFL MarMac 38 (Final)

It was worth the peril

January 24, 2009

The roads were surprisingly bad on the way to and from Van Horne last night.

But the boys’ basketball game between Solon and Benton Community made it worth the white-knuckle driving.

Benton’s Levi Montague hit a desparation 3-pointer as time expired in regulation, but Solon owned overtime and prevailed, 78-68.

This was excellent basketball. Solon has a bevy of playmakers, most notably UNI signee Matt Morrison (20 points, 8 steals) and post Tucker Wentzien (17 points, 14 rebounds). Benton sophomore Zach Twedt (22 points) is going to be terrific.

The Bobcats stayed close by hitting 13 of 30 3-point attempts, but ran out of gas in the last 3 minutes of OT as the Spartans scored the final 14 points.

I cover boys’ basketball in the Metro occasionally on a spot basis and find it to be brutish. The game has gotten too physical. But this … this was extremely enjoyable.

Now it’s off to the U.S. Cellular Center for Rivalry Saturday. I’ll have regular updates there.