By Jeff Johnson
CEDAR RAPIDS [--] They went down to Mount Pleasant a couple of weeks ago and picked up a nice win. But that was the regular season, and the Marion Indians think the relevance of that game is negligible at best when it comes to this postseason rematch.
“I don’t think it makes one bit of difference,”Marion Coach Mike Manderscheid said of tonight’s Class 3A boys’ basketball substate final at the U.S. Cellular Center.”
This rematch features a pair of 19-4 clubs playing for a trip to the state tournament next week in Des Moines. It would be Marion’s first state appearance since 1952.
It’s the second game of a 3A substate double-header, following Mount Vernon (16-7) and Dubuque Wahlert (17-6), who tipoff at 6:30.
“Mount Pleasant is a really, really athletic team,” Manderscheid said. “They are very athletic, strong and physical. It’ll be two teams who like to run. I think the scoreboard will light up a little bit.”
Mount Pleasant starts two sophomores, the best one is 6-foot-4 center Henry Kreiger-Coble. An aggressive banger, he is shooting 71 percent from the field, leading the Panthers in scoring (17.5 points per game) and rebounding (8.8).
Senior guard Jordan Cotton (14.4 points per game) is an all-state football player who signed earlier this month with Iowa.
Marion has been led all season by Amry Shelby, the best “unknown” player in the Metro. Shelby is averaging 23.4 points per game, scoring 31 and 33 points, respectively, in the Indians’ two postseason games.
But Manderscheid, in his first season, said his team is far from a one-man show. Levi Lynott is third on the team in scoring (9.0) and first in rebounding. Sophomore Kasey Semler averages 9.7 points per game.
“I think all along we would put eight or nine kids on the floor that would be kind of athletic and work hard,” Manderscheid said. “Has (their success) been surprising? Maybe a little. But it’s about how hard you work, and this team works hard.”
Wahlert will be favored to win the opener tonight. The Golden Eagles won last year’s 3A state title on a last-second shot by Eric May, the Iowa recruit who is averaging 24.3 points per game this season.
In a 1A substate final at Northern Iowa’s McLeod Center tonight, it’s West Central (19-4) against Cedar Falls NU High (18-4).
Amry Shelby, Cedar Falls NU High, Dubuque Wahlert, eric may, Henry Kreiger-Coble, Jordan Cotton, Kasey Semler, Levi Lynott, Marion, McLeod Center, Mike Manderscheid, Mount Pleasant, Mount Vernon, Northern Iowa, u.s. cellular center, West Central