Sophia Peppers is the career scoring leader in Exira-EHK’s eight years with 1,350 points. The 10-1 Spartans are ranked ninth in the state in Class 1-A. She’s averaging 18.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.0 steals.

They have matched wits on the diamond for more than 30 years. More than 50 games, easily. Exira-EHK coach Tony Petersen shook hands with Coon Rapids-Bayard coach John Waddle on Thursday one last time between the white lines. 

Exira-EHK knew it had to take care of the ball and rebound Monday in order to succeed. It’s a testament to Newell-Fonda’s ability to hound its opponents and crash the boards that the Spartans couldn’t find ways to combat those problems.

The Exira-EHK girls refused to sulk when their fourth-quarter ball handling broke down to the tune of seven turnovers. Instead, the Spartans sprinted to the other end and did something about it.

At first glance, the Exira-EHK girls basketball team appears to have all the necessary credentials to contend for a state title. The Class 1-A No. 2 Spartans, who are third this week in the Western Iowa Class 2-A/1-A rankings, are 16-0 and return four starters from last season’s team that finished 25-1, losing only in the state semifinals.

When Josh Esdohr woke up Saturday morning, his arm felt good. That was all the Coon Rapids-Bayard baseball team needed to know. The junior left-hander had pitched portions of CR-B’s first two playoff games Tuesday and Thursday. He felt good enough to make 106 offerings Saturday night as the sixth-ranked Crusaders topped eight-ranked Exira-Elk Horn-Kimballton 9-2 in the Iowa Class 1-A, District 16 final.

A prep baseball coach for 31 years, Exira-EHK’s Tony Petersen experienced a first on the diamond Thursday night when his players doused him with water in a postgame celebration.

Tom Petersen’s assessment of his team’s first half on Monday was less than glowing. “I don’t know if the basket was 15 feet high or six feet,” the Exira-EHK coach said.