CEDAR RAPIDS — Sometimes there is more to sports than winning.
A team, an organization or a player can leave a legacy that goes beyond winning championships.
The Cedar Rapids Xavier boys’ basketball team may not have won its third state basketball championship, with a loss against Glenwood in the state semifinals, but the senior class has left its mark on the Iowa high school basketball world and has transformed the Xavier program. Four-year varsity players Jackson Joens and Matt Mims finished their careers with two state titles and two third place finishes. These were Xavier’s first four appearances at the state tournament in school history.
The team also won a school-record 20 games this season.
“It has been an honor to put on the Xavier uniform during my time here,” Joens said. “The Xavier community has always supported me, and they mean so much to me and the rest of the team. I just want to say thank you to everyone that has been there for me.”
Team honors were not the only things these two seniors accrued in their four years at Xavier. They leave having scored more than 1,000 points in Xavier colors. Mims is officially the top scorer in Xavier history with 1,267 points, and Joens is fourth with 1,015 points. Joens also is the school’s best 3-point shooter in history, making a record 169 three-pointers. They both were named to the all-state tournament team, Mims twice. Both also were named to the all-state team, as well as Mims being named Metro Athlete of the Year and MVC Athlete of the Year. Joens and Mims were all-MVC and all-Metro selections several times, along with being three-year starters.
Looking in the history books, it will be hard to find two other players who have experienced the same amount of awards and points as Joens and Mims.
“I really hope I am remembered here at Xavier for being a good person and a good basketball player,” Mims said. “I hope what Jackson and I have accomplished sets an example for the coming years at Xavier and inspires people to continue the success we have had as a team. I have loved my four years, and I also want to say thank you to my supporters and my detractors.”
Players were not the only people to win awards during the state tournament. Kevin Lux, father of senior guard Gabe Lux, won the Fan of the Game award before Xavier’s first-round win over Marion. Lux is a notable Xavier supporter and was honored with a basketball before the game.
Coach Ryan Luehrsmann and the team will begin work to get back to the state tournament next season and continue the legacy left behind by the Class of 2018.