Todd White, Rod Ashman and Bill Huisman are certainly no strangers to each other. They’re also no strangers to successful summers at the old ballpark.
The three South Central baseball coaches have led their teams to plenty of wins over the years. During that time, they’ve all squared off in great battles against one another that have brought the best out of the young athletes they are coaching.
This weekend, all three will honored for their success by the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association. The IHSBCA’s 45th annual Awards Banquet on Saturday in Des Moines will honor White as one of Class 2A’s best coaches while honoring Ashman and Huisman for achieving career milestone victories this past year.
White, who has led Davis County to their only three state tournament appearances over the past three years, will be honored as the Southeast Iowa District Coach of the Year in Class 2A for the second straight year. Last year, White earned State Coach of the Year honors for all of 2A after leading the Mustangs to the program’s first state baseball title.
Huisman will be the lone coach to be honored this year for joining the “800 win” club. The longtime leader of the Centerville Big Reds earned his milestone win early on this past summer in an 8-5 win during the nightcap of a doubleheader at Pella on June 5.
Huisman is now ninth all time in career victories for Iowa High School baseball coaches, establishing an overall record of 817-521 after leading the Big Reds to a 21-16 record last summer. Huisman is one of few coaches in the top ten to coach at just one schools having led the Centerville program to a pair of state titles in Class 3A, winning the crowns in 1988 and 2008.
Joining White and Huisman as representatives of the South Central Conference is Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont head coach Rod Ashman, who will be one of six coaches to be honored for earning his 100th victory. Ashman followed up a school-record 28-win season in 2011 by guiding EBF to a 25-11 record last summer which culminated by nearly dethroning Davis County in the district finals. The Mustangs had to rally from a 4-0 deficit to earn a 5-4 win in nine innings over the Rockets.
Before nearly knocking off Davis County in the district finals, Ashman and the Rockets had to go through another new member of the ‘100 win’ club. Chad Scott led Van Buren to yet another great season as the Warriors went 26-2 for the second straight season, retained their Southeast Iowa Superconference south title, and entered the postseason ranked sixth in Class 2A.
Scott is 114-20 over five seasons as head coach of Van Buren, leading the Warriors to within a win of the Class 2A state baseball tournament in his first year. Van Buren finished 19-7 in that first season with a loss in the substate finals to Solon and have lost just nine regular season games in the past four years.
Class 1A, 2A district and substate basketball pairings released
Davis County and EBF’s postseason battles aren’t just limited to the baseball diamond. In fact, the school’s two boys basketball teams learned on Thursday they will be opening the postseason the same way they will end the regular season.
The Rockets and Mustangs will meet each other in one of two matchups pitting area teams against each other to open Class 2A, District 12 action. The two squads will meet in Bloomfield on Monday, Feb. 11 just three nights after wrapping up regular season play against each other in Eddyville.
The winner of that game will head to PCM on Thursday, Feb. 14. On the other side of the bracket, Albia will head to Cardinal to face the Comets in the other Feb. 11 district opener with that winner head to Pella Christian to face the Eagles the following Thursday.
The two Feb. 14 winners play for the District 12 title of 2A on Tuesday, Feb. 19 in Oskaloosa. That winner will play for a berth at in the 2A state basketball tournament against the District 11 champ in the Substate 6 finals on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Evans Middle School Gymnasium in Ottumwa.
In Class 1A, Tri-County will hit the road in for a District 7 opening-round game at SICL rival Belle Plaine on Feb. 11 with the winner head to Lynnville-Sully on Feb. 14. The District 7 finals will be held in Wellman on Feb. 21 with the winner advancing to the 1A, Substate 4 finals at Benton on Feb. 23.
Several area 1A teams will be looking to play in Oskaloosa on Feb. 23 for the Substate 5 title. In District 9, MSAE gets the earliest start playing in an opening-round game at Winfield-Mount Union on Feb. 11 with the winner head to Keota on Feb. 14.
The Keota winner plays on Feb. 19 against the winner of a Feb. 14 game at Pekin as the Panthers host WACO. Keota would host the Feb. 19 game with a win while the Panthers would get a second straight home game with a win and an upset by either MSAE or W-MU.
On the other side of the bracket, top-ranked unbeaten Danville awaits either New London or Harmony on Feb. 14. Van Buren, meanwhile, starts out on the road in the district quarterfinals at Holy Trinity with that winner potentially having to beat the Bears in Danville on Feb. 19.
The winners on Feb. 19 will head to a site that has yet to be determined on Feb. 21. The District 9 winner faces the District 10 champ, which features several more area teams including top-seeded Sigourney trying to advance to the district final in Albia on Feb. 21.
The Savages will open postseason play at home on Feb. 14 against the winner of a Feb. 11 game at Moravia between Seymour and the Mohawks. A victory by Sigourney would allow them to host a Feb. 19 matchup with either Twin Cedars or North Mahaska, who meet on Feb. 14 in Bussey.
On the other side of District 10, Moulton-Udell will host Wayne in a rematch of a close contest won by the Falcons in the district semifinals. The winner on Feb. 14 will either travel to Pleasantville or host either Melcher-Dallas or Southeast Warren five nights later.
The complete brackets for all four classes in the Iowa High School Basketball postseason comes out next week. Centerville leads several area teams in Class 3A, Substate 6 while Fairfield will be competing in Substate 5. Ottumwa will also find out their postseson road in Class 4A, Substate 6 next week.
Action-packed night at Hellyer Center on Tuesday
Just hours before a winter storm passed over Ottumwa, there was already a flurry of activity going on inside the Hellyer Student Life Center on Tuesday.
More then just the enthusiastic Warriors fans witnessed sixth-ranked Indian Hills pick up their season-best eighth straight victory with a 94-81 win over Moberly Area. There were also several coaches and recruiters from major schools that were on hand to watch the Warriors in action, headlined by Marquette head coach Buzz Williams who was in town to watch and talk with one of his top recruits for next season.
Sophomore Jameel McKay, who will be joining Williams as one of the newest Golden Eagles next season, scored a team-high 19 points in front of his future coach to lead IHCC to victory. Williams, who had just coached his 25th-ranked Eagles to a Big East win over St. John’s on Monday, stuck around after the game for a lengthy postgame conversation with McKay.
“He just told me to stay on top and win the region,” McKay said of his conversation with Williams. “He also reminded me to stay on my books.”
Also on hand on Tuesday night to watch the Warriors were coaches and recruiters from Creighton, Utah, West Virginia and Eastern Illinois. Several Warriors were able to showcase their skills as five different players scored in double figures as IHCC ran away late in the first half and cruised in the second half to their 22nd win of the season.
For McKay, having his future coach on hand to watch him play didn’t make an impact on his effectiveness.
“Coach Williams has seen me play enough times by now that it doesn’t really effect me at all,” McKay said. “He’s probably saw me play my worst game and he still recruited me. It just feel natural at this point.”
One of IHCC’s other proud programs also inked a star recruit of their own prior to Tuesday’s basketball game. Head coach Lyndsey Lyon welcomed in Milton, Wisconsin recruit Katie Soddy as the newest signee for the Warriors volleyball team.
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