CEDAR RAPIDS — You’ve got four choices, but it seems pretty clear cut which one you should choose.
If you’re looking for the strongest, most wide-open class as we begin the boys’ basketball postseason, it’s Class 2A. Hands down.
“There’s not really one team that stands out more than the others,” said Iowa City Regina Coach Jared Galpin. “I think it’s pretty even, there is so much parity. Honestly, it’s going to come down to who shows up on which night. I tell my guys it’s a different feel once you get to the tournaments. Everybody just seems to raise their level of play. There is no next game.”
There are only five undefeated teams remaining in the state, and three of them are in 2A: East Marshall, South Hamilton and Treynor. Cascade and Van Meter went all the way to their final or penultimate regular-season games, respectively, unbeaten.
Aplington-Parkersburg and Wapello join them as one-loss teams. Forest City, Des Moines Christian and Western Christian are 19-2, with Western the defending champ.
Sheldon and Sioux Center have good records and play power schedules. Regina is 17-3 and on a nine-game win streak, two of its losses coming to Class 3A teams.
You could make cases for others, too. Such a strong, strong class.
“Oh, man, it’s loaded,” said Cascade Coach Jacob Brindle. “You look out west with Western Christian and Sioux Center, which plays the toughest schedule in the state. They could win the whole thing. Then you’ve got teams like East Marshall, which is undefeated, and South Hamilton, which has been there a few times. Treynor is obviously really, really good. Forest City is good, Van Meter was there last year and has everybody back. I think we’ve got a chance, but you look at our district, and there’s Regina, which is playing as well as anyone right now.
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“I just think there are 12 to 15 teams that are state tournament-caliber teams that can win games and win the thing once they get down there to Des Moines.”
They’ve got to get there first, which is something Galpin and Brindle are keenly aware. Regina and Cascade happen to be in the same district.
The teams won their respective divisions in the River Valley Conference.
“I was really surprised with that pairing, to be honest with you,” Brindle said. “I really thought we’d go north and Regina might stay south.”
“Our coaching staff was talking before the districts came out about which way we might go,” Galpin said. “We kind of thought we might go south. We were surprised to go north and very surprised to see Cascade with us. But it is what it is.”
There are 2A district-opening doubleheaders throughout the state Monday night, as well as a few Class 1A first-rounders. Postseason play in the classes continues Thursday night, when all of the top teams begin action.
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