Prep Basketball

Peanut delivers again in Cedar Rapids Xavier's 67-60 quarterfinal win over Marion

Senior guard pops in 32 as Saints move step closer to Class 3A 3-peat

Cedar Rapids Xavier's Matthew Mims (5) picks up a loose ball as Marion's Jaffer Murphy (32) defends during the third quarter of their quarterfinal game of the Iowa Boys' State Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Xavier's Matthew Mims (5) picks up a loose ball as Marion's Jaffer Murphy (32) defends during the third quarter of their quarterfinal game of the Iowa Boys' State Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — It’s the state tournament, which means, of course, it’s Peanut Time.

Peanut is the nickname given to Cedar Rapids Xavier guard Matt Mims by his brother’s old AAU coach. His initials are M and M, and he’s not like the original kind.

That’s for sure. The kid’s got game, and he’s had so many great performances here the past three years.

Another one came Tuesday morning, as he poured in 32 points to guide his top-ranked team past gritty, gutty Marion, 67-60, in a Class 3A quarterfinal at The Well.

“I think I’ve always admired the big stage,” said Peanut — err, Mims. “I’ve seen a lot of great players play here. I remember growing up and coming here and watching. I try to emulate that to the best of my abilities. It’s just always fun being down here.”

Without Mims, Xavier would not be attempting a 3A three-peat. The Saints (19-6) play third-ranked Glenwood (23-2) in a Thursday afternoon semifinal at 2.

That includes his influence on this game. Mims scored 13 of his team’s first 16 points.

After Marion closed within 30-29 in the third quarter, he drove and dished to teammate Kyle Moeder for a layup, scored on a drive and splashed a 3. Another trey off a secondary break and a two-point jumper gave Xavier (19-6) a safe cushion of 52-38 in the fourth.

Peanut’s point total is the highest thus far at this year’s tournament.


“He’s something special, that’s for sure,” said Marion’s Alex Whalen, who guarded Mims much of the game.

“He puts in so much time, loves the game,” said Xavier Coach Ryan Luehrsmann. “It’s an extension of him and his personality. When he is practicing in the offseason, he is thinking about this stage. He wants to be in those big moments. He craves them. We’ve been blessed to have him leading our team. No one has been cooler, more composed and clutch than he has in this tournament.”

The loss wasn’t satisfying for Marion (14-11), though the way it played was for sure. A Whalen trey brought the Indians within 13-11 after a quarter, then a run to start the third, punctuated by sophomore guard Jaffer Murphy’s three-point play, made it just a one-point Xavier lead.

Even after falling down 14 in the fourth, the Indians battled and battled, with a Chase Zielke trey making it just a 60-54 game with 1:48 left.

“It’s unfortunate we couldn’t come out on top,” Zielke said. “We wanted to prove to everyone that we belonged here, that we didn’t get here on the luck of the draw. We actually worked to get here, and I really do believe we showed everybody that we do belong here. We’re a hard-fighting team, we can take down anyone.”

Zielke had a team-high 14 points off the bench, with Whalen adding 13 and Trevor Paulsen 11. Jackson Joens was quiet much of the game for Xavier but hit back-to-back 3s in a key stretch late in the third quarter and finished with 14 points.

“I will miss this team,” Marion Coach Mike Manderscheid said. “I would have said that in mid-January when we were fighting it. This was a special group of kids, they do things the right way. Anything we’d throw at them at practice, they’d (be accepting). You’d draw up something, and, boom, they’d get it, they’d execute it. Just a great group of kids.”

“Marion made plays,” Luehrsmann said. “I thought Paulsen was really strong on the inside. We had trouble covering him. Our defense has to get better. If we’re going to advance, we have to be better at that end.”



Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

MARION (60): Trevor Paulsen 3-8 5-11 11, Grant Meth 2-3 0-0 4, Alex Whalen 6-12 0-1 13, Matthew Brase 0-0 0-0 0, Jevin Manderscheid 4-8 0-0 8, Chase Zielke 5-10 1-2 14, Mason Rahe 0-0 1-2 1, Connor Whalen 1-3 0-0 2, Jaffer Murphy 2-5 1-1 5, Austin Prier 0-0 0-0 0, Blaik Swailes 0-0 0-0 0, Rick Atkins 0-0 0-0 0, Garrett Hansen 0-0 0-0 0, J.D. Graw 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 24-53 8-17 60.

CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER (67): Jackson Joens 3-10 5-6 14, Kyle Moeder 2-2 2-2 6, Quinn Schulte 2-4 1-2 5, Matt Mims 10-19 7-8 32, Gabe Lux 2-4 2-2 6, Jake Beckmann 0-1 0-0 0, Aaron Bartels 1-1 2-2 4, Jacob Hines 0-0 0-0 0, Ryan Keating 0-0 0-0 0, Bryson Bastian 0-0 0-0 0, Jack Scott 0-0 0-0 0, Matt Ropp 0-0 0-0 0, Matthew Jordebrek 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-41 19-22 67.

Halftime — Xavier 28, Marion 20. 3-point goals — Marion 4-14 (A. Whalen 1-4, Manderscheid 0-4, Paulsen 0-2, Zielke 3-4), Xavier 8-17 (Lux 0-2, Mims 5-8, Joens 3-6, Beckmann 0-1). Rebounds — Marion 32 (Paulsen 7), Xavier 24 (Joens 7). Total fouls — Marion 18, Xavier 16. Fouled out — None. Assists — Marion 9 (A. Whalen, Manderscheid, Paulsen 2), Xavier 10 (Schulte 4). Turnovers — Marion 14, Xavier 11.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259;



DES MOINES - The first win was all about AJ Green. This one was, too. Not to mention a whole bunch of other guys. The all-state guard didn't have to carry the entire load Friday night for Cedar Falls in the Class 4A championship ...

DES MOINES - So many good players over the years, so many good teams. One great former coach. Yeah, this one was for them. Cascade won the Class 2A boys' state basketball tournament championship Friday afternoon by toppling top- ...

Give us feedback

Have you found an error or omission in our reporting? Tell us here.

Do you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.