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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Roundball action heats up this week

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The women tip off at 2 p.m., with the men's game slated for 4 p.m.

In the nightcap, the Duhawks (18-5, 12-2 IIAC) will be vying for a share of the league title unless they lose at Cornell tomorrow and the first-place Beavers (19-4, 13-1) win at Central the same night. The Beavers would have to lose their final two games (combined with a pair of Loras wins) to finish second, while Loras needs to win out for at least a share of the league crown.

The day will be even more eventful if 1A No. 4-ranked Alta (18-2) or Laurens-Marathon (15-6) is playing that night at 7 in Spencer with a trip to the boys state tournament (March 3-8 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines) on the line. If the District 3 and District 4 games pan out according to seeds, Alta would be playing George-Little Rock, which upset Bellevue Marquette and 7-footer Jordan Eglseder for the 1A state title two years ago.

The Cyclones and Chargers meet tonight at 7 in Laurens. The winner plays Ar-We-Va (20-2) or IKM (12-10) Thursday in the district final at Buena Vista University at 7 p.m.

First things first, though. Alta coach Bart Smith says he's not looking past L-M.

The Cyclones, the Northwest Conference champion at a perfect 14-0, beat league runner-up L-M 48-39 on Dec. 21 in Alta and 56-41 on Feb. 5 in Laurens.

Beating a good team three times in one season is never easy. The fact that it's on the Chargers' home court just adds to the challenge, Smith says.

"We've got to come out and establish that lead. We can't afford for them to jump out to an early lead," Smith said. "We have to get the crowd in it, and be ready to play early because we're at their place.

"They're gonna have confidence. We have to be the aggressor, which we're starting to do a better job of in the first quarter."

During the second meeting, Alta snared an early 7-2 lead and its defenders did a better job of keeping the Chargers in front of them, Smith said.

"We sometimes get in trouble where we're over-aggressive on the perimeter and we let them penetrate; we did a better job of ... not allowing dribble penetration," he said.

Mike Huseman, a 41 percent true jump-shooting sniper from downtown, leads Alta at 11.5 points a game. Aaron Hansen and Jordan Hinkeldey throw in 10.1 and 9.9 ppg, respectively. Hinkeldey averages five rebounds and Chris Schmitz three assists.

The Chargers are getting 11.3 points and 6.3 boards per contest from high-flying senior Travis Leuer, one of the state's best high jumpers. Adam Woodin leads L-M in scoring at 11.9 ppg and has made 42-of-109 attempts from 3-point land.

"They pass the ball well and make good decisions. The flex offense they run is somewhat hard to defend if you don't get through the screens," Smith said. "They had open shots last time, just didn't make them.

"What scares me is they have the capability to make those 3s so we have to go out and guard them."

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