DES MOINES – It was apparent in her college choice.
And it was painfully obvious after her high school career ended at Wells Fargo Arena.
Kiah Stokes hates to lose.
“I don’t like it at all,” Stokes said Saturday night after the was named to the Class 4A all-tournament team. “I like to be on the winning team.”
In four years at Linn-Mar High School, Stokes won a lot. The Lions built a 94-7 record, including four state-tournament appearances and the 2010 4A championship.
“It’s been a great run,” she said. “A lot of girls never get to go to state. I got to go four times. And to win a state championship, nobody can take that away from me.”
Nor this: Stokes was voted Miss Iowa Basketball 2011 by sportswriters during all-state voting on Saturday.
“That’s really cool,” Stokes said after hearing the news and receiving hugs from her parents, Greg Stokes and Julie Saddler.
A 6-foot 3 post, Stokes led the state in scoring this season, averaging 25.0 points per game. She also snagged 14.9 rebounds and blocked 5.6 shots per game as Linn-Mar finished 22-3.
She ends her career as the state’s all-time leader in blocks (515) and ranks fourth in rebounds (1,239). She finished with 1,704 points.
Stokes had some big moments at state, dribbling the ball the length of the court for the go-ahead basket, then blocking Maddie Manning’s final shot in the Lions’ 48-47 quarterfinal win over Ankeny.
In the semifinals, Stokes forced overtime with a 3-pointer at the end of regulation — her first trey of the season. But she fouled out in overtime and Iowa City West prevailed, 65-58.
She hates to lose, as evidenced by her tears in the press room afterward.
Stokes has signed to play at the University of Connecticut, the premier women’s basketball program in America.
“It’s going to be really challenging,” she said. “But I’m ready for a new experience and the challenges it’s going to bring.”
Half of the eight-player 4A first team hails from the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City corridor.
Joining Stokes are Ally Disterhoft of West, Tia Dawson of Cedar Rapids Washington and Virginia Johnson of Iowa City High.
Disterhoft, a sophomore guard, guided West to the finals in its first state-tournament appearance. She averaged 15.0 points by shooting 54 percent from the field (including 45 percent from long distance) and 83 percent from the free throw line.
West finished 23-3 and returns virtually its entire team for 2011-12.
Dawson, a 6-2 senior post, averaged 12.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game as Washington finished 19-4 and reached the state tournament. She will play at Dartmouth next year.
Johnson is a 6-2 forward bound for Iowa. She notched 23.0 points and 10.1 rebounds as the Little Hawks went 17-6.
Taylor Dicus of Mount Vernon and Mackenzie Bigbee of Williamsburg are 3A first-teamers.
Dicus (6-2, senior) moved to Mount Vernon from Florida before her junior year and led the Mustangs to the finals twice. They won the 2A title in 2010, then finished second in 3A last week.
“I’m very blessed,” Dicus said after the Mustangs fell to Davenport Assumption on Saturday. “I’ve had some amazing opportunities here. I’m really going to miss my teammates.”
Dicus averaged 12.5 points and 7.2 rebounds as Mount Vernon finished 24-3 this season.
A 6-foot junior, Bigbee posted 14.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as Williamsburg went 20-4.
Kailey Klavido of North Tama was a first-team pick in 1A. A 6-1 junior, Klavido registered 19.2 points and 13.8 boards per game as the Redhawks finished 20-4.