Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Royals fans and players hoping for a date with the Roundhouse

“The Roundhouse was incredible. Back then it was IT. When you got to play in Marshalltown, that was a big deal…You felt like you had accomplished something if you were playing in Marshalltown.”
~Ed Vaske (Excerpt from Royal Reign)

Royals fans and players have their sights set on one of the most iconic basketball arenas in Iowa—the Roundhouse in Marshalltown, site of the 2011 sub state boys final. To get there, the Colo-Nesco boys must win three games. It all starts on February 17 at 7pm in Colo against the winner of Madrid (3-14) or Paton-Churdan (1-15).

With a first round win, the Royals would most likely face a stiff second-round opponent--East Greene (14-3). East Greene’s three losses this season have been to Exira EHK (40-37), Ankeny Christian Academy (54-44) and Woodward Granger (47-46). The second round contest is scheduled for February 22 at 7 pm, site to be determined.

A third round opponent would likely come from a mix of Ankeny Christian Academy (13-5), Glidden-Ralston (9-7) or Coon Rapids-Bayard (8-7). The third round game is scheduled to be played in Story City on February 24 at 7 pm. Ankeny Christian, Glidden-Ralston, East Greene and Paton-Churdan all hail from the Rolling Hills Conference and are very familiar with each other. Coon Rapids-Bayard’s losses have all come to teams with strong records and/or teams in class 2a, and they are one of two teams in the bracket that made the boys state tournaments last season (Ankeny Christian is the other). Ankeny Christian returned just 3 letter winners from last year’s team, but did return its leading scorer: AIB-bound Tim Olejniczak.

The sub state pairing is set for Saturday, February 26th at the Roundhouse in Marshalltown, and would be the culmination of a busy week of basketball—the third game in five days. The Roundhouse is my favorite high school basketball venue in the state of Iowa. Here’s an excerpt from Royal Reign to get you in the mood:

“The Roundhouse, which opened in 1965, is the biggest high school basketball venue in the state of Iowa with a seating capacity of 5,000. The building is a rarity by Iowa high school gym standards. There are seemingly hundreds of small, vertical, rectangular shaped, multicolored windows that makes the building look like a glowing jewel at night. The court is 94' long, and is entirely surrounded by bleachers. These aren’t just any old bleachers; these are the scariest bleachers man has ever created. Tall, shaky, and full of child-eating gaps between the walkways, they are scary even for the bravest of folk. One could probably fill an entire gymnasium with the lot of coats, purses, shoes, popcorn, candy and small children that have dropped through these gaps over the years. Walking up to The Roundhouse on a chilly evening moments before a big game is enough to make spectators’ stomachs do somersaults in anticipation. Of course, having a stomach full of Zeno’s pizza right before a big game is probably never a good idea, but how can one resist?”

The likely opponent at sub state would most likely be North Tama (14-3) or Lynnville-Sully (14-2). The Royals are plenty familiar with North Tama, having split the conference series during the regular season. Lynnville-Sully, ironically, would be the same team Nesco defeated in 1984 to advance to its first-ever state tournament. Can you name the location of that game in 1984? You guessed it. The Roundhouse.

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