1A, 2A girls' basketball survivors working on the weekend

Small-school state berths determined Monday

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Brian Wheatley has his third-weekend-in-February routine.

Shoot-around on Saturday morning. Practice on Sunday afternoon.

The North Linn Lynx were working on the weekend, as were other girls’ basketball regional finalists in Class 2A and Class 1A.

“It’s a quick turnaround,” said Wheatley, who has the Lynx in the 2A regional finals for the sixth consecutive year. “But we’ve done it the same way every year, so the kids are used to it.”

The regional semifinals were Friday, and the regional finals are Monday. That leaves the weekend for film work and preparation.

“I really don’t mind it at all,” said Nate Sanderson, coach at defending 1A state champion Springville. “It allows the kids to sleep in a little bit, then we practice in the late afternoon Saturday and Sunday.”

The state-tournament field will be filled out Monday in 1A and 2A, and the schedule consists of seven regional finals featuring area teams. All tip off at 7 p.m.

Iowa City Regina (24-0), the top-rated team in 2A, faces Bellevue (17-6) at Tipton, No. 5 North Linn (23-1) battles Rockford (20-3) at Parkersburg, No. 8 Cascade (21-2) meets Montezuma (17-6) at Marengo, and Sigourney (19-4) tackles No. 3 Central Decatur (23-0) at Albia.

Montezuma and Sigourney both are seeking their first state bid since the 1990s.

In 1A, No. 1 Springville (21-2) plays Grand View Christian (20-4) at Brooklyn, No. 2 Turkey Valley (20-2) faces No. 14 Ackley AGWSR (19-4) at Clarksville, and No. 5 Lansing Kee (17-4) meets No. 9 Janesville (23-0) at Oelwein.

With the exception of the Regina-Bellevue matchup, all of Monday’s area games are between foes that did not play in the regular season. That leaves the weekend to cram.

Sanderson said that Saturday’s practice at Springville would consist of noting Grand View’s “general characteristics, then we’ll work on more specific sets (Sunday).”

One of just six remaining unbeaten teams in the state, Regina faced a reasonably close game Friday against Maquoketa Valley before pulling away, 80-67. Bellevue also played the Regals to a 13-point decision.

“Bellevue is very well coached, and (Emma) Kelchen is a load inside,” Regina Coach Jeff Wallace said.

MONDAY’S CLASS 2A REGIONAL FINALS

No. 5 NORTH LINN (23-1) vs. ROCKFORD (20-3)

Time & site: 7 p.m., at Parkersburg

Overview: North Linn got sent northwest, away from familiar opponents, and won its first two postseason games in convincing fashion. The Lynx advanced with a 68-37 romp over Grundy Center, and are a win away from their third state tournament in four years. The Lynx have reached 20-plus wins for the seventh consecutive season and are led by junior Ashley Tull (14.9 ppg) and freshman twins Grace and Abby Flanagan (13.1 and 10.8 ppg). North Linn is second in 2A in scoring defense at 30.2 points per contest. Rockford is a senior-laden team led by Emma Staudt (15.3 ppg) and Madison McGregor (14.2).

BC Moore computer projection: North Linn by 24.

No. 8 CASCADE (21-2) vs. MONTEZUMA (17-6)

Time & site: 7 p.m., at Marengo

Overview: Montezuma has pulled one upset in this regional — 50-48 over No. 7 Pella Christian in the last round — and needs one more to reach its first state tournament since 1994. One of the area’s most consistent winners, Cascade has been somewhat of a surprise this year. The Cougars are always stingy defensively, and allowed 59 points total in their first two postseason wins. Abbie Ruggeberg and Nicole McDermott average 10.9 and 10.2 points per game for Cascade. Montezuma reached the 1A regional finals last year — it lost a close game to eventual state champion Springville. Breck Goodman leads a balanced squad at 10.0 points per game.

BC Moore computer projection: Cascade by 20.

No. 1 IOWA CITY REGINA (24-0) vs. BELLEVUE (17-6)

Time & site: 7 p.m., at Tipton

Overview: Two teams have pushed Regina well into the fourth quarter this year. One was Maquoketa Valley, which the Regals sidestepped, 80-67, in the regional semifinals. The other was Bellevue, which gave them a tussle in the regular season before Regina won, 63-50, Jan. 6. Regina has scored 70 points or more on 17 occasions, including its last five games. Mary Crompton leads the team at 18.4 points per game, followed by Sarah Lehman (15.1) and Alex Wiese (14.9). Bellevue also has three double-digit scorers, all juniors, led by Emma Kelchen (14.0 ppg). The Comets outlasted West Branch in overtime, 51-45, to get to this game.

BC Moore computer projection: Regina by 19.

SIGOURNEY (19-4) vs. No. 3 CENTRAL DECATUR (23-0)

Time & site: 7 p.m., at Albia

Overview: It’s been 25 years since Sigourney last made it to state, and that was in the 6-on-6 days. The Savages started their postseason run with an impressive 62-42 regional-quarterfinal win over Mediapolis, then followed that up with a 50-41 victory over Danville. It gets a whole lot tougher Monday; Central Decatur leads in 2A in scoring offense (72.2 ppg) and defense (29.7), but it must be stated that the Cardinals have faced the second-weakest schedule in 2A. The Cardinals boast four double-figure scorers, led by sophomore Emma Atwood (18.7 ppg). Sigourney counters with juniors Autum Bartelman (17.5 ppg) and Brooke Waechter (11.5).

BC Moore computer projection: Central Decatur by 28.

 

MONDAY’S CLASS 1A REGIONAL FINALS

No. 2 TURKEY VALLEY (20-2) vs. No. 14 ACKLEY AGWSR (19-4)

Time & site: 7 p.m., at Clarksville

Overview: Last year’s 1A runner-up, Turkey Valley had a minor scare in its regional quarterfinal, trailing at halftime against Mason City Newman before pulling away. It was easier against No. 11 West Hancock; the Trojans cruised, 62-35. Shelby Reicks is one of the best guards in the area, posting 13.7 points, 5.9 assists and 5.8 steals per game. Morgen Kuennen adds 11.6 ppg. AGWSR has strung together 11 straight wins, including three successive routs in regional play. Maddie Brandt leads the Cougars at 13.8 points per game. AGWSR is seeking its first state berth since winning the 1A title in 2009.

BC Moore computer projection: Turkey Valley by 9.

No. 5 LANSING KEE (17-4) vs. No. 9 JANESVILLE (23-0)

Time & site: 7 p.m., at Oelwein

Overview: Quite possibly the most evenly matched 1A regional final. Kee is bidding for its second consecutive state trip, while Janesville is the lone unbeaten in 1A and one of just six statewide. Kee had its hands full with an eight-win East Buchanan squad in the regional semifinals, leading by just one point at halftime. None of the Hawks’ top five scorers are seniors; junior Ashley Schwartzhoff and sophomore Makayla Walleser lead the way at 11.5 and 11.4 points per game, respectively. Tori Hazard scores 20.2 ppg for Janesville, which won its first two regional games by a combined 83 points.

BC Moore computer projection: Even.

No. 1 SPRINGVILLE (21-2) vs. GRAND VIEW CHRISTIAN (20-4)

Time & site: 7 p.m., at Brooklyn

Overview: The defending state champion, Springville is well-equipped to make another deep run. The Orioles lead the state (all classes) in defense, allowing a paltry 26.6 points per game. They’ve won their first two regional games by verdicts of 75-28 and 61-24 and are led by juniors Mikayla Nachazel (18.1 ppg) and Rylee Menster (18.0), both of whom earned first-team all-state status last year. Grand View Christian guard Megan Stubbs is the 1A leader in scoring at 24.3 points per game, but the smallish Thunder will be hard-pressed to match up with Nachazel inside.

BC Moore computer projection: Springville by 30.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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