DES MOINES — Kayla Armstrong can now be classified as a two-sport star.
A two-sport champion. And a two-sport captain.
When the 2012 state-champion soccer team from Cedar Rapids Xavier was introduced during the Parade of Champions Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena, there was Armstrong, wearing a medal. And a smile.
She earned both, less than an hour earlier.
Before the girls’ state basketball tournament, Armstrong was a good player for a good team, averaging 6.9 points per game for a team that carried a 14-9 record.
By Saturday night, she was Wonder Woman.
“She was remarkable,” said Xavier post Ashley Stulken. “She was amazing.”
Armstrong scored four points in the quarterfinal win over Lewis Central, then filled up the stat sheet (22 points on 9-of-11 shooting, seven rebounds, seven assists, five steals) in the Saints’ semifinal conquest of No. 1 Sioux City Heelan on Thursday.
In the championship game Saturday, she scored 23 points, including a basket with 8 seconds left that beat Harlan, 53-52, for the Class 4A championship.
“Tonight, she Cinderella slipper stayed on for her,” Xavier Coach Tom Lilly said. “She had a great night Thursday, and it was going to be hard to match that. But I think she did.”
Armstong was rightfully named the 4A all-tournament captain. She was the all-tournament captain in soccer last spring as the Saints won their seventh straight championship.
She didn’t say much about her honors, changing the subject.
“The heart of this team was incredible,” she said. “Each person. It’s not about one person. There were a lot of things that pulled us through.”
Xavier’s Sarah Dickes said, “Kayla’s a special person, a special athlete. She was able to come through when we needed her most.”
For Lilly, Saturday’s championship was No. 4. The Saints ruled Class 3A in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
Scott DeJong (Ankeny) has won six titles. Bob and Sharon Hanson (Des Moines East and West Des Moines Dowling) have won five.
“The neat thing is that each team was a different group of kids,” Lilly said. “The kids seemed to buy into what we wanted to do, and they got better each day.”
Lilly was asked about his postgame emotions.
“Sometimes it’s a relief. Sometimes it doesn’t sink it until the bus ride home,” he said. “More than anything, I can’t to get out of here and hug my wife.”