CEDAR RAPIDS - As playoff primers go, this one looked textbook.
Top-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier will charge into the Class 3A playoffs with a full head of steam after scoring 41 first-quarter points and thrashing South Tama, 62-7, in the reg ... »
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Center Point-Urbana and Mid-Prairie played a down-to-the-wire game in the first round at the girls’ state basketball tournament last year.
One of them is going back. But only one.
Instead of Wells Fargo Arena, Williamsburg High School will be the venue when the Stormin’ Pointers and the Golden Hawks meet again. Tipoff is 7 p.m. Saturday for their Class 3A regional final.
“We played them close last year (CPU prevailed, 48-43), and both teams have a lot of the same players back,” Mid-Prairie Coach Stephen Bender said. “We scrimmaged each other over Christmas break, so we’re familiar with each other.”
The contest between third-rated CPU (20-3) and No. 12 Mid-Prairie (17-6) is one of three 3A regional finals Saturday.
Elsewhere, No. 10 Mount Vernon (17-6) tangles with No. 4 Crestwood (20-1) at Manchester, and No. 6 Union (21-2) meets No. 7 Davenport Assumption (15-7) at Cedar Rapids Jefferson.
All three of CPU’s losses have come against 4A top-five competition — two to Marion, one to Grinnell.
“When we struggle with our offense, our defense is able to keep us in it,” CPU Coach Philip Klett said. “We’ve got to play well on the defensive end, to give us a chance to be there at the end.”
Mid-Prairie started 1-3 before picking up steam.
“We’re doing a better job taking care of the basketball,” Bender said. “We try to make teams pay for pressing us.”
Mount Vernon is seeking its third consecutive state trip.
“We’re playing very well right now,” Mustangs Coach Dennis Roloff said. “We’ve got a good inside game and a good outside game, and if we get them both going at once, we can be pretty scary.”
Same goes for their opponent.
“(Crestwood) is impressive,” Roloff said. “They’re big. They’re fast. They can drive. They can shoot the three. They’re a very quality team that deserves its ranking.”
Regional semifinals are Saturday in 4A and 5A, with a full slate among Metro/Iowa City teams.
Marion (20-1) is ranked No. 1 in 4A and opens at home with Mount Pleasant (13-9), and No. 6 Cedar Rapids Xavier (15-6) hosts Clear Creek Amana (13-9).
Area 5A contestants are scattered throughout Eastern and Central Iowa.
No. 3 Iowa City West (18-3) and No. 4 Iowa City High (20-1) are heavily favored at home against Ottumwa (14-8) and Burlington (8-14), respectively, and Linn-Mar (11-10) hosts No. 15 Dubuque Hempstead (14-7).
The other Metro teams hit the road: Jefferson (11-10) is at No. 10 Pleasant Valley (18-3), Prairie (9-12) is at No. 14 Bettendorf (14-6), Kennedy (6-16) travels to No. 5 Cedar Falls, and Washington (8-14) is at No. 6 Waukee (16-4).
SATURDAY’S CLASS 3A REGIONAL FINALS
No. 10 Mount Vernon (17-6) vs. No. 4 Crestwood (20-1)
Time & site: 7 p.m., at Manchester
Overview: Crestwood opened the season with 16 consecutive wins, and earned a share of its first Northeast Iowa Conference championship since 2008. The Cadets were going to be strong this season anyway, but the move in from the Friesen sisters (from Osage) made them that much stronger. Mount Vernon is seeking its third consecutive state-tournament appearance under Coach Dennis Roloff. Senior post Kaitlyn Volesky (16.5 ppg, 9.4 rpg) is one of the state’s most accurate shooters at 67.1 percent from the floor.
BC Moore computer projection: Crestwood by 3.
No. 6 Union (21-2) vs. No. 7 Davenport Assumption (15-7)
Time & site: 7 p.m., at Cedar Rapids Jefferson
Overview: Union captured the North Iowa Cedar League East Division title, and both of its losses came to 5A teams (Cedar Falls and Waterloo West). The Knights have the stingiest scoring defense in 3A — and No. 3 in all classes — at 27.4 points per game. Union’s top seven scorers are seniors, led by Kaeli Block (10.2 ppg). Assumption captured three straight 3A championships from 2011 through 2013, and finished fifth this season in the Mississippi Athletic Conference. Jasmine Harris leads Assumption at 16.1 points per game.
BC Moore computer projection: Assumption by 10.
No. 3 Center Point-Urbana (20-3) vs. No. 12 Mid-Prairie (17-6)
Time & site: 7 p.m., at Williamsburg
Overview: This is a rematch from a state quarterfinal game last year, won by the Stormin’ Pointers, 48-43. All three of CPU’s losses have come to Class 4A competition. Junior Allie Wooldridge leads a young cast; the Wisconsin-Green Bay commit averages 13.0 points per game, and six others are at 6 points per game or more. Mid-Prairie has recovered nicely after a 1-3 start, and opened some eyes in an 80-54 rout of Central Lee in the regional semifinals; Addie Rath scored 27 points in that game and leads the team at 13.9 ppg.
BC Moore computer projection: CPU by 12.
SATURDAY’S CLASS 5A REGIONAL SEMIFINALS
(All games 7 p.m.)
Cedar Rapids Kennedy (6-16) at Cedar Falls (19-2)
Cedar Rapids Prairie (9-12) at Bettendorf (14-6)
Fort Dodge (8-14) at West Des Moines Dowling (17-4)
Dubuque Hempstead (14-7) at Linn-Mar (11-10)
Ottumwa (14-8) at Iowa City West (18-3)
Des Moines Roosevelt (10-11) at Southeast Polk (13-8)
Burlington (8-14) at Iowa City High (20-1)
Waterloo West (13-8) at Ankeny Centennial (16-5)
C.R. Washington (8-14) at Waukee (16-4)
C.R. Jefferson (11-10) at Pleasant Valley (18-3)
CLASS 4A REGIONAL SEMIFINALS
(All games 7 p.m.)
Clear Creek Amana (13-9) at Cedar Rapids Xavier (15-6)
Decorah (4-18) at Waverly-Shell Rock (15-6)
Maquoketa (9-13) at Western Dubuque (20-1)
Clinton (8-14) at North Scott (16-5)
Mount Pleasant (13-9) at Marion (20-1)
Keokuk (14-6) at Fairfield (16-5)
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