They’re veterans now. And the Cedar Valley Christian Huskies are seeking other new labels.
Such as winners. Contenders.
“We have athletes that have the ability,” Huskies girls’ basketball coach Ron Slagle said. “Everybody has been given some talent by God, and we want to honor Him by giving the best we can.”
Cedar Valley has been building for this for some time. Its top four players — Molly Hembera, Maggie Cach, Emma Slagle and Elisabeth Fields — are seniors. And the Huskies (2-0 overall, 2-0 Tri-Rivers Conference) appear to be the top challenger to Bellevue Marquette in the TRC East Division; they host the Mohawks on Friday at Springville.
“Marquette is a program with a lot of history. That’s going to be a good test for us,” Coach Slagle said.
This is Year 7 of Cedar Valley’s existence as an IGHSAU-sanctioned school. The Huskies have been competitive in the last three seasons, highlighted by a 10-12 campaign in 2015-16.
The Huskies came from behind to win their first two games, rallying from a 10-point halftime deficit to edge Midland, 44-43, Tuesday at Wyoming.
“Our mindset is about finishing games and winning,” Coach Slagle said. “The want and will to win is an important aspect.”
Hembera is averaging 17.0 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. Cach adds 13.0 points per game, Emma Slagle and Fields 8.0 apiece.
LIGHTNING STRIKES LATE FOR FIRST WIN
The first girls’ basketball win in Iowa City Liberty history was a dramatic one.
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Trailing by 10 points with less than 2 minutes to go, the Lightning scored the final 11 and upended Mount Vernon, 44-43, at North Liberty on Monday.
“It was the most crazy game I’ve ever been a part of,” said Liberty Coach Jaime Brandt, who coached the previous three years at Linn-Mar before taking the Liberty job to be closer to home. “The kids were so excited afterward. A couple of them started tearing up.”
Liberty dropped its first two games, to Fairfield and Waterloo West, by a combined 51 points. The Lightning appeared to be headed to 0-3, but Mount Vernon missed some late free throws and Cora Saunders “hit some huge 3-pointers late,” Brandt said.
With Liberty still down four points in the final seconds, Saunders hit a trey and was fouled. She missed the free throw, but the Lightning rebounded and Isabel Smith hit the game-winning shot.
“It’s good to see the girls come to practice and work hard after getting their butts kicked the first two games,” said Brandt, who starts five sophomores.
Liberty is competing as an independent this season and will join the Mississippi Valley Conference next year.
IOWA MENNONITE SNAPS A SKID
Iowa Mennonite ended a 23-game losing streak Tuesday, edging Lone Tree, 45-43, at Kalona.
IMS’ previous win came Feb. 2, 2016, against Winfield-Mount Union. Seventeen losses preceded that victory, meaning IMS had dropped 40 of 41 before Tuesday.
Down by five points at halftime, IMS outscored Lone Tree 16-6 in the third quarter and held on.
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