Strong Bench Keys LSU Alexandria’s Semifinal Victory Over WPU

Story By Chad Waller | NAIA National Office

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Box Score) Powered by a game-ending 29-19 run, No. 4 seeded LSU Alexandria (La.) eliminated No. 1 William Penn (Iowa), 84-75, in the second semifinal of the 81st Annual NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship, Monday evening inside Municipal Auditorium. The Generals face tournament newcomer No. 5-seeded Graceland (Iowa) in the national championship title contest on Tuesday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m. CDT, broadcast live on ESPN3.


  • LSU Alexandria improves to 29-7 and heads to its first-ever title contest on Tuesday
  • The Generals are playing in their fourth season of varsity competition
  • William Penn ends its season with a record of 30-5
  • This marks the first year since 1961 that a team from Louisiana played in the title game (Grambling)
  • The higher seeds are 15-15 through 30 games, while 24 games have been decided by 10 points or fewer including 14 by six points or less

William Penn Women Stay Hot, Men Stumble

(Oskaloosa, Iowa) — With one of its top scorers unavailable, the William Penn women’s basketball team was in need of someone to step up, and more than just one person answered the call as the Statesmen dropped Graceland 68-37 in Heart of America Athletic Conference action Saturday.

The Statesmen (17-5, 11-2 Heart) have now won a season-high four games in a row for the third time this year. The win helps WPU keep pace with MidAmerica Nazarene and Central Methodist for the league lead.

Sarah Hansen (Sr., Kewanee, Ill., Psychology and Human Services) was out of town for military duty, leaving a sizeable gap to be filled. Fortunately, the hosts once again played tremendous defense and the points came in a variety of ways, most notably from Kate Ylitalo (So., Maple Plain, Minn., Biology) and Vashti Nwagbaraocha (Jr., Milwaukee, Wis., Exercise Science).

All cylinders fired in the opening quarter as William Penn scored 12 of the first 14 points and eventually led 20-5 after one period of action.

The second quarter, for whatever reason, has been a major thorn in the team’s side and it was again on Saturday. The Yellowjackets (5-16, 2-11 Heart) roared back, trimming the margin to eight at 31-23 by halftime.

The third stanza, on the other hand, has been quite kind to the navy and gold, and Saturday was much of the same. The Statesmen recorded the first 11 points of the quarter and blew the contest wide open with a 23-6 edge during that 10-minute span.

WPU cruised from there to complete the season sweep of GU, outshooting the visitors 44.6{99cd714f394079a7f0ed2eb1518dd31342ff3ceb5b6c267c3ad8acd5b5a7d66b}-28.2{99cd714f394079a7f0ed2eb1518dd31342ff3ceb5b6c267c3ad8acd5b5a7d66b} and outrebounding them 41-26.

While those numbers are impressive, the matchup was really won in turnovers with William Penn forcing 28 Graceland mistakes (18 for the home team). The Statesmen converted those errors into a 37-10 advantage in points off turnovers.

With 11 more offensive rebounds (20-9), the Statesmen also owned a 15-6 edge in second-chance points.

Ylitalo paced the victors with 20 points, including three three-pointers. Nwagbaraocha was right behind her with 19 points; the junior was 6-for-9 from the field and 7-for-8 from the line. Both players excelled on the defensive end as well as Ylitalo recorded six steals and Nwagbaraocha posted four steals and two blocks.

Sham Troupe (Jr., St. Louis, Mo.) contributed eight points along with a squad-best nine rebounds. JeAnn Hiraldo (Sr., Frisco, Texas, Industrial Technology) swished a pair of three-pointers as part of a seven-point effort, while Brynesha Mosby (Jr., Belleville, Ill., Biology) matched her with seven points off the bench as well.

Jenna Santi (Jr., Oak Creek, Wis., Elementary Education) only tallied two points, but coordinated the offense extremely well with eight assists.

The Statesmen overcame a 54.5{99cd714f394079a7f0ed2eb1518dd31342ff3ceb5b6c267c3ad8acd5b5a7d66b} clip at the line, while GU made 76.5{99cd714f394079a7f0ed2eb1518dd31342ff3ceb5b6c267c3ad8acd5b5a7d66b} of its free throws.

“I am very pleased with our defensive effort and the determination we played with,” Head Coach Steve Williamson said. “We had a balanced offensive effort and players stepped up with Sarah not in the lineup.”

Next Up: William Penn remains in Oskaloosa next Wednesday to host Peru State in Heart action at 5:30 p.m.

Streaks Snapped in Loss to Graceland

Oskaloosa–It had been a very long time since the Statesmen men’s basketball team had lost at home, but unfortunately all good things must come to an end and they did Saturday in a 91-77 Heart of America Athletic Conference setback to Graceland.

#1 WPU (21-2, 11-2 Heart) had won 37 consecutive home games, dating back to January 9, 2016–a span of 756 days (2 years, 25 days).  The streak is believed to have been the longest current home one in the NAIA entering Saturday.  The navy and gold also witnessed their 10-game overall winning streak also come to a close.

The hosts now lead the trio of Graceland, Peru State, and Central Methodist by just one game in the league.

Ten days earlier in Penn Gymnasium, the Statesmen broke a school record for most points in a conference game, but it was evident early that that performance was not going to be replicated.  The Yellowjackets (16-8, 10-3 Heart) refused to participate in a high-scoring affair.  They wanted to slow everything down, in fact, not starting most of their possessions until more than half of the shot clock had transpired.

It worked in the beginning minutes with the visitors leading 18-13 at the halfway point of the first stanza.  In its last home contest, William Penn had already scored 35 points at the midway juncture.  The home squad did warm up and eventually went into the break ahead 35-29.

WPU was being outshot 43.3{99cd714f394079a7f0ed2eb1518dd31342ff3ceb5b6c267c3ad8acd5b5a7d66b}-38.9{99cd714f394079a7f0ed2eb1518dd31342ff3ceb5b6c267c3ad8acd5b5a7d66b}, but was taking care of business in other ways to stay on top.  The Statesmen managed to be in the ‘black’ on Black Out Night, just barely keeping the Yellowjackets at bay.

Graceland, though, could not be slowed down after halftime and took the lead for good at 64-61.  The game was tied one final time at 66-66 with 6:48 to go, but the visitors, who shot 70.0{99cd714f394079a7f0ed2eb1518dd31342ff3ceb5b6c267c3ad8acd5b5a7d66b} in the latter half, were too much.  When the final horn sounded and William Penn’s two massive streaks were extinguished, the navy and gold were outshot 56.7{99cd714f394079a7f0ed2eb1518dd31342ff3ceb5b6c267c3ad8acd5b5a7d66b}-42.6{99cd714f394079a7f0ed2eb1518dd31342ff3ceb5b6c267c3ad8acd5b5a7d66b}.

WPU also came up short in rebounding at 38-37; GU had only nine offensive rebounds (WPU had 16), but held a 17-8 mark in second-chance points.  The hosts also struggled at the line with a 50.0{99cd714f394079a7f0ed2eb1518dd31342ff3ceb5b6c267c3ad8acd5b5a7d66b} clip, while the Yellowjackets finished at 71.4{99cd714f394079a7f0ed2eb1518dd31342ff3ceb5b6c267c3ad8acd5b5a7d66b}.

“Graceland out-played, out-worked, and out-coached us tonight,” Head Coach John Henry said.  “Losing at home is not something that happens to us very often.  Graceland beat us today and deserves a tip of the cap.”

Dominique Shaw (Sr., Lufkin, Texas, Wellness and Recreation) got in early foul trouble, but worked past that to have a great offensive outing with a game-high 28 points.  The senior made six three-pointers, but WPU shot just 31.0{99cd714f394079a7f0ed2eb1518dd31342ff3ceb5b6c267c3ad8acd5b5a7d66b} from deep as a team.

D’Angelo Allen (Jr., Dallas, Texas, Wellness and Recreation) added 12 points off the bench, while Aakim Saintil (Sr., West Orange, N.J., Business Management) also reached double figures with 10 points.

Corbin Medley (Sr., Rogersville, Mo., General Accounting) knocked down a trio of trifectas for nine points, while JC Washington (Sr., Houston, Texas, Sociology) contributed six points.  Washington and Allen both pulled down eight rebounds; Washington had two blocks as well.  Saintil and Terrell Thompson (Sr., Indianapolis, Ind., Wellness and Recreation) assisted six times each Saturday.

Next Up: William Penn remains in Oskaloosa next Wednesday to host Peru State in Heart action at 7:30 p.m.

Osky Boys Survive Road Test at Grinnell

(Grinnell, Iowa) – The Oskaloosa boys’ basketball team didn’t have its full roster available Tuesday night and struggled to separate from winless Grinnell, but the Indians were able to complete the road win, 56-45. The Oskaloosa girls had a rough night against #3 Grinnell, falling 104-29.

In the boys’ game, Xavier Foster was on fire to start, scoring the Indians’ first 12 points with a myriad of moves down low and a couple of threes. Osky would close the first quarter strong and hold a 19-10 lead.

After that, however, Grinnell switched their defense into a zone, and Oskaloosa would have problems. All season long, junior Cole Henry has been the focal point of the Osky zone offense and he was one of four players out with an illness Tuesday night. That forced Jarad Kruse to move into Henry’s spot instead of his normal spot on the wing.
The difference was apparent, as the Indians succumbed to a 12-0 Grinnell run that would eventually tie the game at 19, but Osky would score the last nine in the first half to take a 28-19 advantage into the locker room.

The third quarter was much of the same, as Osky couldn’t truly grab a hold of the game. The Indians would push their lead to 15 at one point, but Grinnell immediately fought back and before the end of the quarter, had it back down to ten at 39-29.

In the fourth, the teams would trade hoops throughout, and Osky was able to finish the game with clutch free throws from Rian Yates and Tanner DeKock. The final score ended up with Osky winning 56-45.

Xavier Foster would finish with a great line of 21 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 blocks. Jarad Kruse would join him in double figures with 13 points, 8 boards, and 4 assists. Rian Yates was a good playmaker in his first start of the year, scoring 9 points, dishing out five dimes and grabbing three steals. Oskaloosa only turned the ball over five times as a team.

Grinnell was led by senior Ethan Mitchell, who had 18 points and 6 rebounds.

Oskaloosa moves to 14-1 on the season and 9-0 in the Little Hawkeye Conference. Grinnell is now 0-14 overall and 0-9 in the LHC.

The girls’ game was quite the opposite, as the highly ranked Grinnell girls dominated throughout en route to a 104-29 victory over winless Oskaloosa.

Naomi Jackson was the hot hand, scoring a career high of 35 points. Sienna Durr added 20 for the Tigers, who are now 15-1 overall and 8-1 in conference play. Oskaloosa was led by Marleigh Denburger, who finished with 8 points and 7 rebounds. Osky is now 0-16 overall and 0-9 in the conference.

Oskaloosa will be back in action Friday night at home against Dallas Center-Grimes. The game can be seen on radiokmzn.com and MCG Channel 7 in Osky. The radio broadcast can be found on 99.5 FM/740 AM KMZN and the KMZN mobile app. The pregame show starts at 6 PM with the girls starting the doubleheader at 6:15.

No Coast Network Announces Basketball Game of the Week Schedule

By Emery Songer

KBOE/KMZN Sports Director

(OSKALOOSA, Iowa) – The basketball season is here and eight doubleheaders will be featured on Friday nights throughout the season as a part of the Game of the Week on 104.9 FM KBOE and kboeradio.com.

December 1st is when the action starts with Sigourney at English Valleys in a South Iowa Cedar League matchup.

The SICL will be featured several times throughout the season, including December 8th, when Montezuma travels to face North Mahaska.

The last doubleheader before the Christmas Break is Knoxville at Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont in a matchup of South Central Conference foes.

After the new year, it’ll be right back to the SICL for BGM at Sigourney on January 5th.

The following week highlights a rivalry in the South Central Conference with EBF on the road to face Davis County.

January 19th will showcase two small schools in Keokuk County as Keota hosts Tri-County.

The rematch between North Mahaska and Montezuma will be on the air on January 26th in Monte.

Finally, EBF is at Lynnville-Sully in a non-conference doubleheader on February 2nd.

All games begin at 6 PM and the pregame show will start around 5:45 PM on 104.9 FM KBOE and kboeradio.com.

Pella Christian Falls in Semifinals, Will Play for 3rd Place at State

The most efficient defense in the state of Iowa in Class 2A showed exactly why they earned that mark Thursday afternoon.

Cascade of Western Dubuque, the #4 seed in the tournament, took full advantage of an undersized Pella Christian front line and closed the three point line to get a 51-36 win.

#8 seed Pella Christian battled gamely during the first half, as the lead exchanged hands 8 different times. But PC’s patient offensive attack was unable to get consistent looks inside the arc and the shots from downtown were contested regularly by the long and active Cougar defense.

The Eagles’ defense did the job they needed to, limiting the chances Cascade had inside. But their inability to score with any consistency on the offensive end led to their demise.

Levi Jungling, PC’s best scorer at over 20 points per game, was held to just 5 points on 2 of 9 shooting. Mitch Fopma led the Eagles with 13.

Pella Christian will play Anamosa in the 3rd Place Consolation Game at 11:45 AM on Friday morning. Cascade will face Western Christian for the Class 2A State Championship Friday night at 8 PM.

You can hear reports from that game on 104.9 FM KBOE and 99.5 FM/740 AM KMZN.

Montezuma Tops Keota to Advance to the Substate Final

The Montezuma Braves and Keota Eagles met in Wellman Thursday night for a highly anticipated rematch from their back-and-forth affair in January. The result was Montezuma duplicating their hard-fought win, relying on an explosive first half and tight defense for the 56-45 victory and the Class 1A District 11 Title.

The first quarter saw both defenses have their way, forcing several turnovers with sporadic shooting. Both teams had slight spurts towards the end of the quarter, but Monte had a 12-9 lead heading into the second.

That’s when Montezuma junior Dakota Strong caught fire, scoring the majority of his 19 first half points by lighting it up from behind the arc. The Braves’ defense continued to force several Keota mistakes, as Brody McKeag had five first half steals, a few of which led to easy buckets at the other end. Monte would close the half strong to take a 35-22 lead at the break.

The third quarter was intriguing, as Monte lost their shooting touch. Their defense, however, refused to let the Eagles climb back into the game. Keota’s biggest momentum switch came with about 1:30 to go in the third. Keota junior Cole Stout buried a three-pointer and drew a foul, completing a four-point play. Keota would ride that wave to cut the lead from 16 to 9 in a short period. But with 25 seconds to go, McKeag would get a steal and a layup on the other end, and after a quick Keota shot, Brave junior Carson Losure would make a layup at the buzzer to extend the lead to 13 after three.

The fourth quarter saw poor shooting by both sides, and Montezuma made free throws down the stretch to seal the 11 point victory.

The Braves were led by Strong who finished with 23 points. Brody McKeag had a very complete game, scoring 10 points, dishing out 7 assists, and snagging 7 steals. Logan Price had 10 points and 6 rebounds despite dealing with foul trouble in the first half. Carson Losure and Zach Townsend had 6. Townsend added a team-high 7 rebounds.

Keota had a good game from senior Zach Mousel, who had 16 points and three steals. Avery Conrad had a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards. Jacob Wickenkamp, who came in as the Eagles’ second leading scorer behind Mousel on the season, did not register a single point and only took a few shots in the game, but he did grab 9 rebounds and had a team-high four assists.

Keota’s season comes to an end at 17-7. The loss ends the high school careers of seniors Nate Sieren, Tyler Verstraete, Paden Uphold, Zach Mousel, Isaiah Hahn, and Dylan Burgdorf.

Montezuma is now 22-2 and will play for a trip to state on Saturday in Knoxville. Their opponent will be Grand View Christian, who is 24-1. GVC averages over 80 points per game, but only scored 58 in their four-point win over Colo-Nesco in the District 12 Final.

The game can be heard on 99.5 FM/740 AM KMZN, as well as the KMZN mobile app, and radiokmzn.com. The pregame will start at 6:45 for the 7 PM tip-off.

Pella Christian, Lynnville-Sully Among Teams Advancing in Boys’ Basketball

Tournament action continued in boys’ basketball on Tuesday night, and a few area teams were victorious, and a few ended their season.

In Class 1A District 10, Lynnville-Sully defeated Belle Plaine, 54-38. The Hawks will advance to the District 10 Final on Thursday against Meskwaki Settlement School, who defeated BGM, 75-57. That game will be in Marshalltown Thursday at 6:30 PM.

In Class 1A District 11, as heard on the Mahaska Zone Network, Keota defeated Sigourney, 61-53, to advance to the District 11 Final. They will face Montezuma, who beat Wayne, 61-37. That matchup will be in Wellman at 7 PM on Thursday, and can be heard on 99.5 FM/740 AM KMZN, the KMZN mobile app, and radiokmzn.com.

In Class 2A District 11, Pekin made a good run, but fell to West Burlington in the District Final, 56-52. Meeting West Burlington in the Class 2A Substate 6 Final will be Pella Christian, who defeated Albia Tuesday, 58-33. The Substate 6 Final will be contested at Fairfield High School on Saturday at 7 PM. The winner will advance to the Class 2A Boys’ Basketball State Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Eagles Soar as Keota Moves to District Title Game

Tuesday night was a busy one in boys’ area basketball, as district play heated up with several schools in action.

On the Mahaska Zone Network (99.5 FM/740 AM KMZN and radiokmzn.com), you heard a doubleheader of Class 1A District 11 Semifinals.

In the first game, a natural rivalry between Keokuk County schools Keota and Sigourney was as competitive as you’d imagine, but the Eagles came out on top, 61-53.

Keota did not generate much scoring from their backcourt leaders, Zach Mousel and Jacob Wickenkamp. On the season, the duo averages around 25 points per contest combined, but on Tuesday, the Savages held them to a combined 14.

It was no matter for Keota, as Isaiah Hahn filled the gap, pouring in 16 points and snagging 4 rebounds to lead the way. Avery Conrad got several looks late, exploiting the foul trouble from the Sigourney bigs, finishing with 14 points and 8 boards.

For Sigourney, they had a hot shooting first quarter, but could never wrestle the lead away from the Eagles. Blaine Gretter had an up-and-down night for the Savages, but still finished with a team-high 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists. Jordan Albert added 12, Alex Stuhr chipped in 11, and Peyton Crawford dropped in 9.

Sigourney’s season comes to a close at 11-12 after their third loss this season to their rivals. The loss ends the high school careers of seniors Peyton Crawford, Austin Smothers, Jordan Albert, Blaine Gretter, Connor Witzenberg, Denny Haines, Matthew Utterback, and Alex Stuhr.

Keota (17-6) now advances to the District 11 Final on Thursday, where they will face Montezuma (21-2) at Mid-Prairie High School in Wellman.

You can hear that game on 99.5 FM/740 AM KMZN, as well as on the KMZN mobile app, and radiokmzn.com. The pregame show will begin at 6:45 for the 7 PM tip-off.

Montezuma Boys Defeat Wayne, Advance to District Final

Tournament time is in full swing in the area, and in boys’ basketball in Class 1A, Montezuma continued to show their dominance in District 11.

The Braves mopped the floor with Wayne in the District 11 Semifinals at their home gym Tuesday night, beating the Falcons, 61-37.

It was a sluggish start for the Braves, but they heated up toward the end of the first quarter to take a five-point lead into the second stanza. That is where the separation began, as the dynamic duo of Brody McKeag and Dakota Strong continued to get open looks and got to the rim at will. In the second quarter alone, Monte would outscore Wayne by 11 points, and they would coast to the finish from there.

Logan Price ended up having the best game for the Braves, scoring a team-high 17 points and bringing down 7 boards. McKeag wouldn’t have his best shooting night, but still managed to get 15 points to go along with 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Strong had 12, all in the first half, but he made a big difference on the defensive end, as he gathered 5 steals.

Wayne was led by senior Trent Moore, who had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. The Falcons end their season at 11-13.

Montezuma now looks ahead to a rematch with Keota in the District 11 Final. The two clubs played a thrilling game back on January 12th in Montezuma, with the Braves coming out victorious, 63-57.

That game will be in Wellman at Mid-Prairie High School. The victor will be just one win away from qualifying for the 2016 Boys’ Basketball State Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

You can hear the action Thursday night on 99.5 FM/740 AM KMZN, the KMZN mobile app, and radiokmzn.com, starting at 6:45 PM with the pregame show. The tip-off will be at 7 PM.

Oskaloosa’s Boys Fall in District Semis to Grinnell

Oskaloosa got off to a rough start Monday night and never recovered, falling in Class 3A District 12 action to Little Hawkeye Conference foe Grinnell, 69-55.

The first quarter again turned out to be the dagger for the Indians, as several early turnovers and just one made field goal offensively allowed a red-hot Tiger squad to jump out to a 21-5 lead after one quarter of play.

Oskaloosa actually outscored Grinnell the rest of the way, but the damage was done, as the Indians would never get within 10 points after the first period.

Oskaloosa was led by sophomore Jarad Kruse, who put in 17 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.

Senior Wade Votroubek also had a nice game off the bench with 11 points.

Votroubek was key defensively, as his physicality with Grinnell leading scorer Cade McKnight forced the Tiger big man to get into foul trouble and never get into a rhythm. Typically, McKnight averages close to 19 points per game, and torched the Indians in both regular season meetings between the teams. But he only managed 6 points and 2 rebounds against the Osky frontline Monday night.

Fortunately for Grinnell, offense was plentiful elsewhere. Sam Allen led the way with 16 points and 9 rebounds. Zaine Leedom had 14, Lucas Scherf had 12, Ethan Mitchell had 10, and Brevin Hansen had 9 for the Tigers.

Grinnell (14-8) moves on to face Newton (14-8), who defeated South Tama last night, 70-52. That game will be Thursday in Marshalltown at 8 PM. The teams split their conference meetings in the Little Hawkeye this year.

Oskaloosa’s season comes to a close at 6-16, and the loss ends the careers of seniors Wade Votroubek and Austin Scholes.


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