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The Gazette KCRG
Posted November 29, 2010
MVC season starts with a bang: City at Linn-Mar

MARION — Twenty-seven overall. Forty-four in regular-season games. Thirty-three in Mississippi Valley Conference games.

Kiah Stokes, Linn-Mar

Those are Linn-Mar’s current girls’ basketball winning streaks. And they’re all on the line Tuesday night.

Class 4A fourth-ranked Linn-Mar, the defending state champion, hosts No. 3 Iowa City High in an MVC opener. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

“It’s going to be a big challenge,” said City High Coach Bill McTaggart. “We’re going to need to control the boards, because I think we’ll have a height advantage.”

For the most part. Linn-Mar (1-0) lost four starters from last year’s squad, but returns University of Connecticut signee Kiah Stokes, a 6-foot-3 post.

Stokes accumulated 30 points in the Lions’ 63-29 rout of Muscatine on Saturday.

“Obviously, our focus is on Kiah,” McTaggart said. “We don’t expect to stop her, but if we can slow her down a little bit, that will help our chances.”

Virginia Johnson, Iowa City High

Linn-Mar has rolled up a 73-4 record in Stokes’ three-plus years as a varsity player. The Lions were state semifinalists in 2008 and 2009, then went all the way last year.

The Lions’ last regular-season and MVC loss came to City High, 62-56, on Feb. 8, 2008.

City High (2-0) features Virginia Johnson, who has signed with Iowa. Johnson is averaging 24.5 points per game, including a 35-point output in a season-opening win over Burlington.

McTaggart said Johnson has added 18 pounds to her 6-foot-1 frame since last season. Johnson scored the game-winning basket as a freshman in the 2008 state final against Cedar Rapids Washington.

The Mississippi Division appears to be the power division in the MVC. Linn-Mar and City High both reside there. So do sixth-ranked Cedar Rapids Washington and No. 11 Waterloo West.

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