The bright red cut on the side of Jared Vollstedt’s nose told the story. The IKM-Manning senior and his teammates had to fight and claw for everything on Monday night, but they were rewarded with a satisfying result.

Finalists for The World-Herald’s western Iowa athletes of the year. Finalists previously announced were Kate Walker of Red Oak, Serena Parker of Shenandoah, Natalie Mostek of Creston, Jay Wolfe of Creston, Austin Simmons of CB Lewis Central and Chase Shiltz of Creston. Winners will be chosen among the six girls and six boys finalists.

Carroll Kuemper coach Randy Snyder has knocked heads with some quality Class 3-A and 4-A pitchers this season in and out of the Hawkeye Ten Conference. Korey Kuhlmann sold him on Tuesday night.

Shawn Flanigan waited in the backcourt, six seconds and 94 feet from his dream. When the inbounds pass was released, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto’s proudest gym rat sprang into motion, certain he deserved to be in that exact position.

As his son went to the free-throw line in the final stages of overtime on Thursday, the entire day’s events ran through the head of Treynor assistant Travis Castle. “I thought, ‘This is crazy. What are the chances of that?’ ” he said.

According to Brent Moore’s respected computer rankings, Council Bluffs St. Albert played the toughest schedule among Iowa’s 155 Class 1-A boys basketball programs. The Falcons faced several top-notch 3-A and 4-A programs, which gives even more weight to coach Dale Scott’s postgame comment regarding Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto.

Juniors Paige Beacom and Alyssa Carley combined for 39 of the team’s 42 points, and St. Albert used a sterling defensive effort to oust No. 14 Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto 42-23 in a Class 2-A regional girls basketball quarterfinal at MVAO High School.

On Tuesday, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto made its first state softball appearance in 14 years. It also marked three years to the day since Tim Hupke — the former MVAO softball and girls basketball coach — was buried after dying unexpectedly at 59.

It was just like a June night in either Moville or Mapleton, a pair of conference rivals matching hits and wits. Only this time, Western Valley Conference foes Woodbury Central and Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto put it on display for a statewide audience.