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MHS boys draw Cedar Rapids Prairie in playoff opener
February 12, 2014 - Andy Heintz
The Iowa High School Athletic Association released the postseason pairings for the remaining two classes – 3A and 4A – on Wednesday, and the Marshalltown boys’ basketball team learned who its first-round opponent will be.
The fifth-seeded Bobcats (3-16) will head to Cedar Rapids Prairie (5-13) for their 4A Substate 6 quarterfinal on Feb. 24 with tip time set for 7 p.m. The winner of that game heads to top-seeded, second-ranked and defending state champion Iowa City West (15-2) on Feb. 28.
The other side of the bracket features second-seeded Iowa City High (9-9), which has a first-round bye, as well as third-seeded Newton (9-9) hosting sixth-seeded Ottumwa (1-19). That game also is on Feb. 24 and also tips at 7 p.m.
The two semifinals winners on Feb. 28 will play in the Substate 6 championship at either Cedar Rapids Prairie or Iowa City West at 7 p.m. on March 4.
Marshalltown defeated Newton by double-digits earlier this season at the Roundhouse. But because Newton piled up wins against inferior competition in the Little Hawkeye Conference, it gets to host a playoff game with a 1-19 squad as opposed to traveling to Cedar Rapids.
Newton can't be at fault because of the teams they play in its conference. It is what it is. Marshalltown, though, is forced to play some of the state's best teams in the CIML and suffers come postseason play because of it.
The Bobcats did play Boone and they do travel to Bondurant-Farrar later this month, but the latter is after games 5-15, which are the games that matter in the seeding for postseason play.
Marshalltown won't make excuses. But that schedule is daunting. And even if the Bobcats do beat Cedar Rapids Prairie, the tough task of playing second-ranked Iowa City West awaits.
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