Big runs help Wapsie Valley down Bears for 1A title

DES MOINES—A couple of big runs along with some great defensive strategies helped lead the eighth-seeded Wapsie Valley Warriors to the Class 1A boys state basketball title with a 65-53 victory over the second-seeded Bishop Garrigan Golden Bears.

The championship game on Friday, March 13, was played in front of a crowd of approximately 250 people limited by Iowa High School Athletic Union due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak that is sweeping the nation.

The Warriors used a 12-0 run in the first period, a 7-0 run in the third and a 10-2 run to finish the contest to earn the school’s first title under the direction of longtime head coach Marty McKowen.

Wapsie Valley face-guarded Golden Bears point guard John Joyce throughout the game, limiting him to only six points The Warriors fronted 6’ 9” Angelo Winkel with 5’9” Blayde Bellis and someone was always behind Winkel, forcing the other Bishop Garrigan players to shoot the ball.

“I am very proud of these guys,” said Golden Bears head coach Mark Meister. “It was the first time in the 62-year history of the school that a team has been to state two straight years and made the state championship game. I thought it was going to be odd with it as empty as it was, but there was a lot of noise by the spectators in attendance.

See the full story, along with the all-tournament and all-state honors, in the March 19 Kossuth County Advance.

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