Cedar Rapids Superintendent Brad Buck and two members of the Cedar Rapids school board - which is poised to decide whether to close eight and rebuild 10 of the district's elementary schools - will take questions in an open forum Wednesday.

Added depth has made Marion a defensive beast

Girls basketball notes: Indians are allowing 25.3 points per game

Marion’s Riley Wright (right) chases a loose ball with Linn-Mar’s Megan Murphy during their game Nov. 25 during Rivalry Saturday. The Indians are 6-0 and have allowed 25.3 points per game. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Marion’s Riley Wright (right) chases a loose ball with Linn-Mar’s Megan Murphy during their game Nov. 25 during Rivalry Saturday. The Indians are 6-0 and have allowed 25.3 points per game. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

It’s almost an embarrassment of riches. And it has made Marion an extremely difficult team to score against.

The Class 4A top-ranked Indians are allowing 25.3 points per game in a 6-0 start (2-0 in the Wamac Conference West Division). Four times, opponents haven’t gotten out of the teens.

“We have great depth, and that allows us to play at a really high level in terms of effort and intensity,” Indians Coach Corby Laube said. “It hasn’t been anything fancy, usually just half-court man defense.”

Ah, that depth.

Last year’s 4A state runner-up, Marion was going to be the 4A favorite anyway with future Division-I players Chloe Rice and Kayba Laube returning.

Then the Van Weelden sisters (Leah is a junior, Ella a freshman) transferred from Benton Community. And freshman Riley Wright entered the program and made an immediate impact.

Marion goes 10 deep without dropoff. Kayba Laube, a sophomore, leads the team at 11.8 points per game, followed by Rice (10.3), Mia Laube (9.8) and Wright (8.8).

“Individually, the girls aren’t playing as many minutes and aren’t scoring as many points,” Coach Laube said. “It hasn’t been a concern to this point. The attitude and chemistry have been great.”

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The Indians probably will be tested in their division only twice, home and road encounters with 4A No. 3 Center Point-Urbana (8-0, 3-0). The first battle is Friday at Center Point.

“It will be a lot of fun,” Laube said. “We have great respect for CPU. It’s a fun and positive rivalry. There’s a lot of mutual respect there.”

GRIDLOCK IN THE WAMAC EAST

The progression of three perennial lower-division teams has made for a tight, crowded pack atop the Wamac Conference East Division.

Six teams are tied for the lead at 2-1.

That includes Dyersville Beckman (5-2 overall), Maquoketa (5-3) and Anamosa (4-3), none of which have enjoyed a winning season since 2010-11. Beckman’s drought is the longest; the Blazers’ last winning season came in 2007-08.

Beckman tripped Mount Vernon (4-3, 2-1) Tuesday, 35-25, behind a 15-point, 13-rebound performance by Tara Hansel.

Five-time defending champion Western Dubuque (5-1, 2-1) and DeWitt Central (4-2, 2-1) are the other members of the logjam.

The cluster will shrink somewhat Friday, when Anamosa is at Western Dubuque and Maquoketa is at DeWitt Central.

MILESTONES

Laube is one of three area coaches to hit milestone victories this season, earning his 200th when the Indians won their opener Nov. 25 against Linn-Mar at Rivalry Saturday.

He is 205-119 in 15 seasons, including 86-38 in six years with the Marion girls.

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Scot Moenck claimed his 200th win at Maquoketa Valley last Friday when the Wildcats won at Lisbon. Moenck is 201-63 in 12 seasons with the Wildcats, 240-91 in 15 years overall.

West Branch Coach Jarod Tylee earned No. 100 when the Bears downed Solon last Thursday. He owns a 100-46 ledger in seven seasons.

Meanwhile, Sigourney senior Autum Barthelman reached the 1,000-point plateau Tuesday in a win over Iowa Valley.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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