February 18, 2008

Gatens looking for state title run

For three years at Iowa City High School, Matt Gatens has watched as other schools in his conference have made it to the State Tournament in Des Moines. This year, Gatens and the Little Hawks are ranked #1 headed into the state playoffs and he hopes that in his senior campaign, he will get the chance to bring home a state title.

"It would mean a lot to get there because we have come up short for three years in a row," Gatens said. "To get there as a senior and have a chance to win it would be every seniors dream come true. It would be a lot of fun with the group of guys like John (Lickliter), the Derby's, Malcom (Moore), and Phil Hunt. We are all just working hard to get there and hopefully we can get it done."

This season the 6-foot-5 forward has averaged 22 points a game in leading City high to a school record 20 wins in the regular season. He is also the odds on favorite to win Mr. Basketball in the state, but he is also well aware that it isn't a one man show.

"I think we have meshed pretty well this year. We have had a lot of fun playing together and getting to 20-1 overall along the way. Our coaches have done a great job putting all these pieces together and so far it has worked out," he said.

Make no mistake; City High will have a target on their backs as the state playoffs being this week. The Little Hawks will face the winner between Muscatine and Ottumwa.

"Of course, people are going to put a target on us because of where we are ranked, but we have been a target all year long and we have handled it pretty well. Hopefully we can keep it up."

Next year, Gatens will fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming an Iowa Hawkeye Basketball player, but he hopes he doesn't have to think about for a little while longer.

"Hopefully I still have a few more weeks left in my high school career and then we can move forward from there. I think our team is excited to start the road to state. This is what we have been working towards all year and now its here."

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