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The Gazette KCRG
Posted February 12, 2013
‘Pliable’ Cougars roll into regionals

Cedar Rapids Kennedy's Madi Meier and Cedar Rapids Jefferson's Amanda Ollinger fight for the ball in a game earlier this season. The teams meet for the third time this season in a Class 5A regional quarterfinal on Wednesday. (The Gazette-KCRG)

Tony Vis’ theme for his maiden voyage with the Cedar Rapids Kennedy girls’ basketball program┬áhas been pretty simple:

Roll With It.

“We’ve had to be pliable,” Vis said. “When you think you have things figured out, you have an injury. Then you have another injury.”

The Cougars (14-7) take a six-game winning streak into Wednesday’s Class 5A regional quarterfinal against Cedar Rapids Jefferson (8-13). Tipoff is 7 p.m. at the Kennedy gym.

It’s the first season of five-class basketball in Iowa, and the wide-open 5A field consists of 40 teams. Sixteen of them open Wednesday, as do 32 of the 48 teams in 4A.

The 3A series reaches the semifinal level Wednesday.

Vis and Jefferson Coach Jason Edwards are in their first year coaching at their respective schools; Vis came to town from Harlan while Edwards took the job at Jefferson after assisting Frank Howell at Cedar Rapids Washington.

The Cougars defeated the J-Hawks twice in the regular season.

“Jefferson is chock-full of seniors that aren’t wanting their careers to be over,” Vis said.

Kennedy’s season can be described in three chapters — a 5-0 start, a 3-7 spin, then a 6-0 surge.

“The kids fought through a lot,” Vis said, referring to an early-season knee injury to Morgan Martin and another injury to Taylor Wagner. “Hopefully we are getting hot at the right time.”

In another 5A game of note, MVC Valley Division champion Cedar Rapids Prairie (15-6) entertains Linn-Mar (9-12).

Like Kennedy, Prairie comes into regionals on a tear — six wins in its last seven games. The most recent was a 53-45 win over Waterloo West on Friday that gave the Hawks their first MVC divisional title in school history.

“It was a neat opportunity for the kids to be involved in,” Prairie Coach Steve Doser said. “Winner take all.”

Now, it’s win or go home. Judging by records, Region 6 (Johnston, Waukee, Linn-Mar, Prairie and Cedar Rapids Washington) is the toughest one in 5A, with a combined record of 63-42.

“It’s a tough draw, but it’s not a death sentence,” Doser said. “It’s do-able for several teams. Whoever gets out of here will have earned it.”

With few exceptions, the top teams in 4A (including Benton Community and Cedar Rapids Xavier) receive byes and don’t start until Saturday. Wednesday’s top area matchup is at Marion, where the Indians (13-8) take on Solon (10-11).

WEDNESDAY’S CLASS 5A REGIONAL QUARTERFINALS

(All games, 7 p.m.)

Region 3

Cedar Rapids Jefferson (8-13) at Cedar Rapids Kennedy (14-7)

Region 4

Davenport Central (4-15) at Bettendorf (10-11)

Region 6

Linn-Mar (9-12) at Cedar Rapids Prairie (15-6)

WEDNESDAY’S CLASS 4A REGIONAL QUARTERFINALS

(All games, 7 p.m.)

Region 2

Decorah (7-13) at Charles City (10-10), winner plays at Clear Lake (17-4) Saturday

Vinton-Shellsburg (1-20) at West Delaware (7-14), winner plays at Waverly-Shell Rock (19-2) Saturday

Region 3

Davenport North (0-18) at DeWitt Central (5-16), winner plays at North Scott (13-8) Saturday

Maquoketa (4-17) at Dubuque Wahlert (7-13), winner plays at Western Dubuque (17-4) Saturday

Region 4

Fort Madison (4-17) at Keokuk (10-9), winner plays at Washington (13-7) Saturday

Solon (10-11) at Marion (13-8), winner plays at Cedar Rapids Xavier (12-9) Saturday

Region 5

Fairfield (9-12) at Mount Pleasant (13-8), winner plays at Oskaloosa (18-4) Saturday

Grinnell (8-13) at Clear Creek Amana (11-10), winner plays at Benton Community (19-2) Saturday

WEDNESDAY’S CLASS 3A REGIONAL SEMIFINALS

(All games, 7 p.m.)

Region 4

New Hampton (16-5) vs. Crestwood (13-6), at Decorah

Independence (12-10) vs. Cascade (20-2), at Dyersville

Region 5

Monticello (17-5) at Center Point-Urbana (17-5)

Mount Vernon (18-4) at Davenport Assumption (19-2)

Region 6

Williamsburg (15-7) at Mediapolis (21-1)

Baxter CMB (9-14) at Mid-Prairie (16-6)

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