Sports, Wednesday, February 24th

By: Nathan Bloechl — 

Boys’ Basketball: Porter Steals It and Seals It As New London Wins Thriller:

New London head coach Bryant Porter knows what his son — and the team’s unquestioned leader — can do offensively.

I think most everyone in southeast Iowa can.

But it was what the super sophomore did defensively in the game’s waning moments that helped guide New London to a dramatic 71-68 over No. 8 Springville in last night’s Class 1A District 8 Final at West Liberty High School

With the game hanging in the balance and New London clinging to a 69-68 lead with just over 0:06 to play Porter, who had been locked up with Springville star guard Alex Koppes all night, stole the inbound, took the basketball coast to coast and finished the lay-in.

The steal and seal.

It lifted New London to Saturday’s district final where they will meet Easton Valley (23-0).

Tonight he made the play. Blaise guards every team’s best player and still scores. That’s a lot to ask of 16-year old” head coach Bryant Porter said postgame.

I haven’t heard one gripe from him about it, and we’re going to ride him until the end of it.”

Porter finished the night with 25 points and six rebounds, but it was junior forward Devin Swanson who had the hot hand for the Tigers offensively.

Swanson paced all scorers with a game-high 32 points and 10 rebounds — including hitting seven threes — giving New London a needed boost behind Porter and fellow sophomore Kade Benjamin.

I tell Devin, when [he] comes to play we’re a totally different team. For the last six or seven games he’s been completely in. And when he’s locked in he’s just as dangerous as Blaise”  Porter explained.

The game tested New London’s resolve again, however, as it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the Tigers.

New London held a 12-point lead at the midway point of the fourth quarter but saw the aforementioned Benjamin foul out.

From there, Springville began their rally.

Hitting multiple three-pointers and converting a clutch and-one that brought the game to level terms.

When that happened we lost a leader” Porter stated. “It showed our resolve though, our bench picked us up and I think Kade played a great game.”

Benjamin ended the night with 14 points, six boards and seven blocks.

New London, now 19-4, will play Saturday night against undefeated Easton Valley.

The Riverhawks knocked off Wapello 50-48 in double overtime.

Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. and the game will be played at Maquoketa High School.

You can listen on FM 105.5 and online at

Other finals:

  • West Burlington 74, Pekin 59
    • West Burlington was led by Colten Sherwood’s 27 points and West Burlington advanced to take on Camanche in the Substate Finals on Saturday night. Pekin bows out at 17-3.

Girls’ Basketball: Notre Dame Primed for Return Trip to State Against Springville:

For the second time in as many years, Jim Myers’ Notre Dame Nike girls’ basketball team is just one win away from the State Tournament.

Last year the Nikes traveled to Pleasant Valley and lost to Marquette Catholic.

This year, they’ll take on the Springville Orioles (20-4) at Muscatine High School with the goal still being the same: punch their ticket to the Class 1A Girls’ State Basketball Tournament.

The Nikes have knocked off New London, WACO and No. 9 Winfield-Mount Union by an average of 32 points this postseason run.

Springville knocked off Lisbon and Prince of Peace to earn their way to the region championship.

Notre Dame is paced by junior guard Megan Harrell, who scores 15.9 points per game, while Karli Artman averages 13.2 points and a team best 4.1 assists.

Lauren Wilson leads Springville.

The junior averages 17.3 points per game and 10.2 boards.

Morgan Nachazel adds 12.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.

Tonight’s game will tip at 7:00 p.m. from Muscatine High School.

You can listen on FM 105.5 and

Nathan Bloechl and Kent Bennett will have all the action beginning with the KILJ Tournament Trail Tipoff Show at 6:45 p.m.

Men’s College Basketball: Iowa State Reschedules Three League Games:

The Iowa State men’s basketball team will play three makeup games March 1-7 after the Big 12 announced the rescheduling of 12 league games.

Tuesday, March 2
Texas at Iowa State, 6 p.m.

Thursday, March 4
Iowa State at Texas Tech, 6 p.m.

Saturday, March 6
Iowa State at Kansas State, 4 p.m.

You can listen to those games on AM 1130.

Pregame will begin one hour before tip-off.

Men’s College Basketball: Yesufu Honored by MVC:

Drake sophomore Joseph Yesufu has been named the Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Co-Player of the Week.

Yesufu posted consecutive career highs in points with 20, 32 and 36 points in three wins last week.

He averaged 29.3 points per game while shooting 64.6% from the field.

The junior from Bolingbrook, IL shared the weekly honor with Missouri State’s Gaige Primm who had 29 points and 21 rebounds in the Bears’ lone game of the week.

Yesufu leads the Bulldogs into their final regular-season series with a two-game set at Bradley Feb. 26-27.