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Steve Allspach


The Sioux City West boys basketball team was scheduled to play Grand View Christian Saturday afternoon at Saydel High School.

Grand View Christian, despite winning 110 of its last 117 games and the last two Class 1A state championships, doesn't have a home gym of its own.

Consequently, Coach Dave Stubbs and Athletic Director Michael Cowell, who coached boys basketball at Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn the previous three years, have to shop their superb program around the Des Moines area.

West's Saturday snow-covered destination was Saydel High School, a little northeast of Des Moines.

Hopefully, the West bus or van drivers knew how to get there.

An expert in Iowa geography couldn't rightly tell you where the high school gym is in Saydel, Iowa.

The casual observer couldn't honestly tell you Saydel is an actual Polk County town or mythical city.

There is internet information out there that reports the total city population of Saydel is 17,376.

But, is that a conglomerate of the populations of Saylorville, Marquisville and Swanwood, three of the tiny villages that make up the Saydel Community School District?

If you own a fancy boat or yacht and you dock at massive Saylorville Lake reservoir then you likely knew where you were going to watch a basketball game.

"Our game with West was scheduled before I got the AD job at Grand View Christian,'' said Cowell, "but now I'm involved in future schedules and making sure we organize and correctly line up our playing sites.

"We play at several Des Moines area Christian schools, at the AIB facility (now the ICHE or University of Iowa's Center for Higher Education).

"Our last regular season game against Waverly-Shelll Rock will be played at South Hardin High School in Eldora.

"We're trying to upgrade our schedule. Our only loss is to Class 4A Iowa City West. We also played at Benton (Mo.) St. Joseph we also have Treynor still on our schedule.''

Cowell, a bit of a transplanted Siouxlander, is good friends with several Northwest Iowa folks, for obvious reasons.

One of those athletic connections is Brandt Carlson, whose Ankeny High boys team is unranked despite a 9-3 record. Carlson played at Northwestern College, and spent a short time as a Red Raider aide. He also coached at Eagle Grove and Des Moines Christian. His son also played at Maurice-Orange City High School.

While teaching and coaching at HMS, Cowell lived in Sanborn.

He's a graduate of Des Moines Christian High School and while there as student and teacher one of his colleagues was Greg Van Soelen, the record-setting standout as a collegian at Dordt in Sioux Center, and Carlson was another.

In Grand View Christian, West had to match up with Drake University recruit Issa Samake and fellow 6-7 standout Harouna Sissoko, along with 6-4 Arturo Montes, Montes averages 16.4 points, Sissoko 16.4 and Samake 15.5.

Grand View Christian was 10-1 going into the West contest.

  • Bishop Heelan has an evening full of basketball entertainment planned for Thursday.

On a "Pack the Pit'' Night, the Crusaders will host East in a pivotal Missouri Rivers Activities Conference girls game.

But, before the varsity scrap and right after the JV contest slated for a 5:30 tip, Heelan will honor one of its finest, Women's Basketball Hall of Famer Mary Schrad.

Several former Heelan girls coaches and the school's youth teams that feed the varsity program will be introduced, too, along with Schrad, who became the first Sioux Cityan to be inducted into the Women's Hall last year as a member of the pioneering Iowa Cornets professional women's team.

The Briar Cliff graduate will present Heelan a Hall of Fame basketball and she'll also participate in weekend alumni festivities at Briar Cliff.

  • Pencil in a pre-tourney mark on your Class 4A Iowa Girls State Basketball Tournament bracket.

Marion will repeat as state champ. Coming into last weekend Marion had won 38 straight games, permitting jfive victims 20 points ore fewer while allowing just 28.9 points in 12 straight wins this season.

  • Of all the bowl games, the Armed Forces was the best. West Point, the Army team, turned in an entertaining example of excellent, fundamental old-fashioned blocking skills with a sublime dismantling of Houston, 70-14.

The Black Knights of Hudson rushed the football 58 times for 507 yards.

And, the Cadet offense (applause) triggered just four forward passes.

The Houston loss cost Major Applewhite his job, but Dana Holgorsen, the favorite of Iowa State and its fans everywhere, was given the job post-haste.

Therefore, West Virginia's loss was another Houston loss, by a landslide.

  • A frontrunner right now for Iowa's Mr, Basketball is Jake Hilmer of unbeaten and top-ranked Class 2A North Linn of Troy Mills/Coggon.

Hilmer already holds the state record for assists with 948 and recently became the career steals leader with 464.

It's not that Hilmer only helps with baskets. Before a Friday game he'd scored 1,907 career points.

Siouxland basketball and baseball fans will get to watch the 5-11 point guard and all-state baseball pitcher soon enough.

He'll play both sports at NCAA Division II Upper Iowa University, which plays in the same Northern Sun Conference as Wayne State.

North Linn lost to Grand View Christian in last year's 1A state title game.


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