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Basketball teams stopped short at regional tournaments

By Dexter White
On March 28, 2013


Women unable to over-come deficit in the finals


For the second time in three seasons the Kirkwood Community College women's basketball season was stopped short of the national tournament.

In the regional final game on March 9, the Eagles fell to Iowa Central Community College by the score 71-65, which meant a bid for nationals was halted.

"We didn't execute very well," Eagles' head coach Kim Muhl said of the loss. 

Kirkwood led at the half 33-32 against Iowa Central, then went up by seven in the second half before allowing Iowa Central to go on a 19-0 scoring run. Facing a double-digit deficit late in the second half, the Eagles were unable to mount a comeback.

"In the first-half we were up by one because we executed, played hard and guarded. In the second half, we quit doing the things that were important," said Muhl.  

Sophomore post Kiana Jacobs scored 16 points for Kirkwood and grabbed eight rebounds. Sophomore point guard Alexis Fitzpatrick put up 15 points, with 9 coming from three-pointers.

The regional final was played at Southeastern Community College in Keokuk but Muhl said the location was not a factor in the loss.

The Eagles advanced to the regional final after a 63-45 victory over Southeastern Community College on March 8.

Kirkwood's final record for the 2012-2013 season stood at 28-5 overall with a no. 7 ranking in the last national poll. The Eagles were a perfect 14-0 this season at home. They extended their home win-streak spanning three seasons to 38 games.

Sophomore guards Bianca Dufelmeier, Whitney Rohrbach and Jacobs were all First-Team All-Region selections for the season. Sophomore guard Fitzpatrick and post Friday Chuol were named to the Second-Team. Whitney Henderson, Eagles' sophomore post, made the Third-Team.

"There were good moments," said Muhl as he reflected on the season. "But it's not what we wanted."


Semlar's injury hinders Kirkwood in the semifinals



A turbulent season for the Kirkwood Community College men's basketball team came to a close in the semifinal round of the regional tournament on March 8.

No. 3 seeded Ellsworth Community College upset no. 2 Kirkwood at home, 70-65, and eliminated the Eagles' shot at a national tournament appearance. A battle of defenses in the first-half produced a 22-21 Kirkwood advantage going into the locker room. The offenses were unleashed in the second half, with Kirkwood getting outscored 49-43.

The Eagles played without sophomore NJCAA All-American nominee Kasey Semlar, who sustained a season-ending injury in the final regular season game against Des Moines Area Community College. Nine players were active on Kirkwood's roster at the time of the game after beginning the season with 15.

Freshman point-guard Taylor Olson led Kirkwood with 18 points.

"We just didn't have enough in the tank to get past Ellsworth," said Wagemester.

Ellsworth went on to lose to top-seeded Iowa Lakes Community College in the regional championship. 

Kirkwood faced stiff competition at the regional tournament. Seven out of the eight teams competing in the Region XI tournament had winning records. Three of the six total games in the tournament's first two rounds were decided in overtime and two of the games were decided by five points or less.

The Eagles' final record was 19-13 overall and 10-6 in the ICCAC, which earned them the second-place finish in the conference. Kirkwood posted a 12-5 record at home. This season marked the second in a row that Kirkwood did not make it beyond the semifinal round of regionals.

"The guys can take pride in how they fought through this season," Wagemester said.

Five Kirkwood players earned spots on the All-Region teams. Gage Heffernan and Kasey Semlar were named to the First-Team, Taylor Olson was named to the Second-Team and J.C. Fuller and Devan Douglas were named to the Honorable Mention team. Olson also earned a spot on the All-Tournament team. 

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