A few weeks back, Brett Elam was looking for something — anything — to reverse his team’s fortunes. The first-year Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln baseball coach had seen his squad endure a seven-game losing streak that left it four games under .500 and searching for answers.

It’s been on both teams’ minds since their last meeting, and now it’s finally a reality. Sioux City East vs. Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln for a trip to the Class 4-A state tournament.

An offseason of dedication continues to pay off for Sioux City West senior Phoenix Larned and Sioux City North junior Lillyana Yebra. They were the medalists Thursday in the Missouri River Conference cross country meet on a beautiful day at Iowa Western Community College.

Finalists previously announced for The World-Herald’s honor were Kate Walker of Red Oak, Serena Parker of Shenandoah, Natalie Mostek of Creston, Jess Schaben of Harlan, Jay Wolfe of Creston, Austin Simmons of CB Lewis Central, Chase Shiltz of Creston and Korey Kuhlmann of Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto. Winners will be chosen from the six girls and six boys finalists.

Caleb Shudak wasn’t ready to see his season end. So he made sure it didn’t happen. The Lewis Central junior came to the plate with his team trailing by two runs in the sixth inning of Monday’s Class 4-A, Substate 1 semifinal against Sioux City North at Lawton-Bronson High School.

Class 4-A No. 7 Sioux City North defeated Abraham Lincoln 10-0 in five innings Friday night in the opening round of the Class 4-A, Substate 1 tournament. The North Stars will take on Lewis Central at 7 p.m. Monday. The winner of that game will play top-seeded Sioux City East on Wednesday for a spot in the state tournament.

Council Bluffs Lewis Central played most of its boys soccer season from behind. Sioux City East had the Titans trailing almost from the start of their playoff game. The Black Raiders scored 62 seconds into the Iowa Class 3-A, Substate 1 contest and went on to a 3-1 victory Tuesday afternoon at Sioux City East Middle School. 

Sioux City North’s 2015 state tournament story had everything but the fairy-tale ending. Top-rated Iowa City West escaped with a 69-60 Class 4-A state quarterfinal victory over the unrated Stars Wednesday at Wells Fargo Arena.

Last year as a freshman, Jailen Billings earned a small amount of playing time on the Sioux City North varsity. He was never placed in the position he was in Friday night.

Thomas Jefferson controlled the clock early. Sioux City North dictated the pace late. And the Stars’ ability to unleash their quick-strike offense turned a tight contest one-sided in a hurry.

Some big defensive plays got Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln going. The offense finished things up. A new-look Lynx football squad couldn’t have asked for a much better start to the season.

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