116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
There was a moment at the girls' state basketball tournament that Philip Klett enjoyed a coach's nirvana.
All eyes locked on him, all mouths closed.
'I was talking and they were all focused and locked in,' he said. 'They just wanted to have success.'
Center Point-Urbana couldn't have enjoyed more of it. The Stormin' Pointers reached the mountaintop, winning the Class 3A championship.
As a result, Klett was a fairly easy choice when it came time to select the 2019 Gazette-area coach of the year.
The 41-year-old Sigourney native has quietly — until now — built a consistent winner. This year's team was the fourth straight CPU squad to reach the state semifinals.
Klett owns a 188-79 mark in 11 seasons at CPU, including 24-2 in this winter's title run. Add two years at Clark County (Mo.) and the ledger is 223-93.
Aubrey Joens of Iowa City High headlines the 10-player all-area roster. A junior and an Iowa State University commit, Joens averaged 23.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game as the Little Hawks (19-3) were the only non-CIML team in the 5A state field.
City High dropped an overtime heartbreaker to eventual champion West Des Moines Valley in the first round.
'We had a really great year, but we have to get better if we're going to reach our ultimate goal,' said Joens, whose sister Ashley won area player-of-the-year honors in 2017 and 2018.
Joens is one of seven juniors on the roster, joining teammate Rose Nkumu as well as Caitlynn Daniels of Cedar Rapids Xavier, Adrianna Katcher of CPU, Kayba Laube of Marion, Sidney McCrea of Cedar Rapids Prairie and Nicole McDermott of Cascade in a wildly talented Class of 2020, both in the area and statewide.
Seniors Sam Wall of Maquoketa Valley and Lauren Zacharias of Iowa City West, and freshman Hannah Stuelke of Cedar Rapids Washington round out the squad.
At first preseason glance, CPU didn't bring back a ton of experience this season. Seven seniors graduated from the 2018 team that got to the 4A semifinals.
But this group meshed.
'They were pretty selfless, played as a team,' Klett said. 'The way they came together down the stretch ... they executed what we wanted them to.'
Said Katcher, when CPU beat Mount Vernon in late November for Klett's 200th career win:
'He's a really good coach. He pushes us to get better each day, and we respect him a lot.'
Klett doesn't rule with an iron fist. There's a calm, quiet demeanor there.
'I'm not a yeller. I stay as calm as I can be,' he said. 'I try to relate to them the best I can, but I'm sure not perfect.
'I think of myself as a defensive coach. I want to take stuff away from the other team.'
CPU allowed 31, 26 and 36 points in its three games in Des Moines.
A 5-foot-9 guard, Joens expanded her game this season. Always an accurate shooter (she hit 45.8 percent of her 3-point shots and 78 percent from the line this season), she became a force on the boards.
'I became a more versatile player,' she said. 'Playing without Ashley, everybody else had to get better and bring things we didn't have to before.'
The return of Joens and Nkumu — and just about everybody else on the roster, for that matter — makes the Little Hawks a threat to go all the way in 5A in 2020.
'Hopefully we improve even more next year and win a state championship,' she said.
2018-19 Gazette All-Area Girls' Basketball
Caitlynn Daniels, 5-7, jr., Cedar Rapids Xavier
Averaged 15.5 points and 5.2 assists as the Saints (14-9) reached the Class 4A state tournament. Shot 46.8 percent from the field, including 41.7 percent from 3-point range. 778 career points. IPSWA 4A first-team all-state. University of Alabama-Birmingham commit.
Aubrey Joens, 5-9, jr., Iowa City High
Averaged 23.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game as the Little Hawks (19-3) advanced to the Class 5A state tournament. Shot 45.8 percent from 3-point range and 78.0 percent from the free-throw line. 1,054 career points. IPSWA 5A first-team all-state. Iowa State University commit.
Adrianna Katcher, 5-11, jr., Center Point-Urbana
Averaged 10.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game as the Stormin' Pointers (24-2) won the Class 3A state championship. 774 career points. Captain of the 3A all-tournament team and IPSWA 3A first-team all-state. Southern Illinois University commit.
Kayba Laube, 5-9, jr., Marion
Averaged 17.3 points per game as the Indians (23-2) reached the Class 4A final for the third straight year. Shot 50.3 percent from the field, 46.2 percent from 3-point range and 79.7 percent from the free-throw line. 1,145 career points. IPSWA 4A first-team all-state. University of Northern Iowa commit.
Sidney McCrea, 5-10, jr., Cedar Rapids Prairie
Averaged 16.1 points and 4.3 assists per game as the Hawks (18-4) reached the Class 5A regional finals. Shot 50.4 percent from the field and 46.9 percent from 3-point range. 874 career points. IPSWA 5A second-team all-state.
Nicole McDermott, 5-5, jr., Cascade
Averaged 15.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.2 steals per game as the Cougars (23-2) reached the Class 2A state semifinals. Shot 52.3 percent from the field, 39.3 percent from 3-point range and 87.2 percent from the free-throw line. 1,086 career points. IPSWA 2A first-team all-state.
Rose Nkumu, 5-8, jr., Iowa City High
Averaged 19.0 points, 4.4 assists and 3.7 steals per game as the Little Hawks (19-3) advanced to the Class 5A state tournament. Shot 50.2 percent from the field, 74.6 percent from the free-throw line. 953 career points. IPSWA 5A second-team all-state.
Hannah Stuelke, 6-1, fr., Cedar Rapids Washington
Averaged 16.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game as the Warriors (16-6) advanced to the Class 5A regional finals. Shot 55.4 percent from the field. 363 career points. IPSWA 5A second-team all-state.
Sam Wall, 5-8, sr., Maquoketa Valley
Averaged 20.7 points and 2.7 assists per game as the Wildcats (20-3) advanced to the Class 2A regional finals. Shot 46.8 percent from the field, 38.0 percent from 3-point range and 84.2 percent from the free-throw line. 1,488 career points. IPSWA 2A first-team all-state. Southwest Minnesota State University signee.
Lauren Zacharias, 5-5, sr., Iowa City West
Averaged 14.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists per games as West (17-4) reached the Class 5A regional finals. Shot 47.8 percent from the floor, 39.4 percent from 3-point range. 882 career points. IPSWA 5A second-team all-state. Will play at Wayne State University.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Aubrey Joens, jr., Iowa City High
COACH OF THE YEAR — Philip Klett, Center Point-Urbana
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