The Ottumwa Courier


February 6, 2013

Bulldog boys hitting the road for postseason hoops

OTTUMWA — If not for a season-opening setback at Fort Madison, the Centerville Big Reds would be eyeing perfection this boys basketball season.

If not for a double-overtime win against Des Moines East, the Ottumwa boys basketball team would be staring a winless regular season in the face.

But on Feb. 18, both teams enter the postseason on equal footing. Both the Bulldogs, Big Reds, Oskaloosa, Chariton and Fairfield will all find themselves three wins away from state.

The road to get there, however, is a little big different for all five area 3A and 4A teams. The Bulldogs, the lone area 4A squad, will have to win three times away from home.

Ottumwa will make the trek to Cedar Rapids to take on Cedar Rapids Jefferson on Monday, Feb. 18, in the first round of the Class 4A, Substate 6 Basketball Tournament.

The J-Hawks are 9-9 this season. The only opponent both team’s have faced this season is Cedar Rapids Xavier. The Bulldogs (1-16, 1-9) suffered a 63-33 loss to the Saints, while Jefferson downed Xavier 64-55.

Jacob Olson is at the epicenter of the J-Hawk offensive attack, as he leads Jefferson with just under 15 points a game. Olson also has dished out a team-high 57 assists and came up with a team-best 37 steals this season. Ky Kramer is another major contributor to the J-Hawks offense; he averages 13.3 points and grabs a team-high 5.1 rebounds per game.

If Ottumwa beats Jefferson, it will face Burlington (7-11) at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22 in the substate semifinals. If the Bulldogs knock off the Grayhounds they will compete for a spot in the state tournament Tuesday, Feb. 26. The location of the event will depend on the Bulldogs opponent. If top-ranked Iowa City West (18-0) makes the finals the game will occur in Iowa City, but if Cedar Rapids Prairie (5-12) or Iowa City High (7-11) make the finals, the game will be at Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids.

While Ottumwa attempts to make a Cinderella run to state on the road, third-ranked Centerville will get to open at home on Feb. 18. The Big Reds, who are currently riding a 17-game winning streak, open on their home floor of the Lakeview Gymnasium as the top seed in the Class 3A, District 12 semifinals against Knoxville, which are currently winless through 18 games this season.

Matt Kruzich, who has led Centerville to a pair of state tournament berths, has seen a well-balanced offensive attack led the Big Reds to a 17-1 record and lead outright South Central Conference title. Kolton Gonnerman (15.8), Michael Starcevich (14.0) and Logan Dabney (13.8) all average double figures for a Centerville team that averages 71.2 points per game.

Centerville already owns one victory over the Panthers, having won 90-59 at Knoxville back on Feb. 10. Dabney, who averages a double-double with 10.8 rebounds a game, joined Gonnerman in scoring a team-best 17 points while pulling in 18 boards. Senior Payton Busch also had a double-double with 16 points and 11 assists.

Ironically, a Centerville win sends them to a game at Knoxville on Thursday, Feb. 21 in the District 12 finals. The Big Reds would face either SCC rival Chariton or Oskaloosa. The Indians (3-16) and Chargers (14-6) will both close the regular meet on Feb. 12 and open the postseason against each other in Chariton on Feb. 18.

The District 12 champion heads to Oskaloosa to play for the Substate 6 finals and a spot in the 3A state tournament on Monday, Feb. 25. The District 11 champion will be the opponent and will be either ninth-ranked Grinnell (16-3), South Tama (6-13), Pella (12-7) or Bondurant-Farrar (9-10).

Fairfield (4-15) will be opening on the road at a familiar location in the Class 3A, District 10 semifinals. The Trojans head to Keokuk to face a Southeast Conference rival in the Purple Chiefs on Feb. 18.

Fairfield has lost twice to Keokuk (14-5) this season, but had a much closer result on the Purple Chiefs floor. After a 53-24 loss on Jan. 28 at home, Fairfield lost 67-53 at Keokuk four nights later.

The Trojans would include a matchup with Solon (15-3) at Washington or against the Demons (5-13) at a site to be determined on Feb. 21 in the District 11 finals. Should Tyler Miklo’s squad win District 11, the Trojans would head to the Substate 5 finals at Iowa City West to play either defending state champion Mount Pleasant (14-5), Clear Creek-Amana (3-15), Williamsburg (11-6) or Fort Madison (11-7) on Feb. 25.

Courier sports writer Andy Heintz contributed to this story.

Text Only
  • 0731 OTT Sports Kassidi Henderson mug Three Bulldogs make all-state OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa softball team had three of its players named to a Class 5A All-State team by Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.Bulldog second baseman Ashlyn Thompson and Kassidi Henderson were voted to the all-state second team and Alexis W

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • Prep Softball All-State Team Class 1A 1st Team All State Name School Grade Kayla Tindall Akron-Westfield 12 Dana Hedlund Akron-Westfield 12 Renee Maneman Newelll Fonda 12 Rachel Smith Exira/EHK

    July 30, 2014

  • 0731 OTT Sports Austin Gridley Fairfield baseball photo Oh So Close! DES MOINES — Becoming the first Fairfield pitcher to start a state tournament game in 35 years didn’t seem to faze Trojan senior pitcher Joseph Hietpas. In fact, taking the mound at Principal Park in Des Moines seemed to only help Hietpas as he made

    July 30, 2014 4 Photos

  • Cedar Creek Ladies battle for low net score OTTUMWA — The Cedar Creek Ladies played "event low net score" on Tuesday. The medalist for the day was Carole Meredith while Patti Meyer and Ann Allison tied for low putts. In Flight A, Margo Sears finished in first place while Meredith finished seco

    July 30, 2014

  • 0731 OTT Sports Twin Cedars baseball photo 2 Twin Cedars just two wins from perfection DES MOINES — The 33 wins in 33 games to get to state was nice. So was the 34th-straight win, earned Saturday over Underwood in the Class 1A State Baseball Quarterfinals. But as he walked through the stands with his team at Principal Park following th

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0731 OTT Sports Bill Huisman photo Huisman wraps up successful 38-year career at Centerville FAIRFIELD — Sometime later this summer, Bill Huisman will look back on his 38 seasons as Centerville head baseball coach with a big smile. In the immediate aftermath of what proved to be his final game as Big Reds head coach, however, all Huisman wan

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0731 OTT Sports Ottumwa Little League photo Ottumwa Little League team ends terrific season OTTUMWA — Chris Becker doesn't think it's sunk in yet. Becker, the coach of the Ottumwa 9-10 Midwest All Stars, said his players have yet to fully grasp the depths of what they've accomplished this season. With time, however, he thinks they will und

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • On Tap Thursday Prep Baseball Class 1A State Semifinals Twin Cedars vs. LeMars Gehlen at Des Moines (Principal Park), 2 p.m.

    July 30, 2014

  • 0730 OTT Sports Ottumwa Babe Ruth 14 All Stars Ottumwa Babe Ruth team dominates at state OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa 14 Babe Ruth All-Stars team bore a striking resemblance to absolute domination at the state tournament in Ottumwa this season."The longest game we had was six innings," Conner Sheehan said. "We still 10-run ruled that team it ju

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0730 OTT Sports Shrine Bowl photo Bulldogs have fun at Shrine Bowl CEDAR FALLS — Ottumwa football coach Zach Pfantz had a blast serving as one of the coaches of the South team at the 42nd Annual Iowa Shrine Bowl at the UNI Dome Saturday. "It was a really awesome and wonderful experience and I was very thankful to ha

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Sports photo reprints