The low point of West Branch’s girls' basketball season came against Wilton.
“It was a perfect storm in which everything went wrong,” Bears Coach Jarod Tylee said. “We doubled our average for turnovers. We didn’t play well defensively. And Wilton played really well.”
It all added up to a 77-42 loss for the Bears on Jan. 9. But they didn’t stay down for long.
“It made us get back to where we weren’t going to be comfortable in what we were doing in practice, and it started with me,” Tylee said. “We weren’t going to go through the motions any more. It set us straight.”
West Branch followed with eight wins in its next nine games. The Bears (16-6) will try to extend their season Tuesday night when they get another shot at Wilton (13-8) in a Class 2A regional quarterfinal. Tipoff is 7 p.m. at Wilton.
The Bears dropped a 76-74 decision at home to Wilton in December, then got their doors blown off in the rematch. Tuesday offers another shot.
“Hopefully the girls are pumped, excited and ready to go,” Tylee said.
West Branch senior Tatum Koenig, a Bradley University signee, ranks fourth in 2A at 21.4 points per game.
Regional quarterinals are Tuesday in 2A and 1A throughout the state. That includes the postseason debuts for Tri-Rivers Conference West Division giants North Linn (21-0) and Springville (18-3), the top-ranked squads in 2A and 1A, respectively.
Springville begins pursuit of a third consecutive 1A title when it hosts Midland (13-10).
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“We still want to continue to make memories,” Orioles Coach Christina Zaruba said. “The longer we play, the more desire we have.”
Zaruba is in her first year as head coach after serving as an assistant for Nate Sanderson, who left last summer to take the Linn-Mar job.
“It has been an easy transition,” she said. “I had been here the last three years, and the girls made me feel welcome. The kids have stepped up and done different things. They have taken some shots they probably hadn’t taken before.”
Springville’s senior-dominated squad features two-time first-team all-staters Rylee Menster and Mikayla Nachazel.
North Linn opens at home against Wapsie Valley (10-12).
Among other area ranked 2A teams: No. 6 Cascade (19-3) hosts East Buchanan (15-7), and No. 7 Iowa City Regina (18-4) entertains Wapello (13-9).
In 1A, No. 9 Lansing Kee (19-1) hosts Elkader Central (11-11), and No. 10 Montezuma (17-3) faces WACO (9-13) at home.
Tuesday's 2A regional quarterfinals
All games, 7 p.m.
Conrad BCLUW (10-12) at Grundy Center (19-1)
South Hamilton (9-14) at Aplington-Parkersburg (13-7)
Alburnett (14-8) at Pekin (20-2)
East Marshall (9-13) at Pella Christian (11-10)
Wapsie Valley (10-12) at North Linn (21-0)
Nashua-Plainfield (3-19) at Jesup (12-9)
West Fork (15-7) at Dike-New Hartford (20-2)
Saint Ansgar (13-9) at Central Springs (16-5)
East Buchanan (15-7) at Cascade (19-3)
South Winneshiek (10-10) at MFL MarMac (16-5)
North Cedar (11-11) at Bellevue (17-5)
Sumner-Fredericksburg (19-2) at Maquoketa Valley (17-5)
Wapello (13-9) at Iowa City Regina (18-4)
West Branch (16-6) at Wilton (13-8)
Van Buren (17-6) at Mediapolis (18-4)
Danville (18-4) at Sigourney (18-3)
Tuesday's 1A regional quarterfinals
All games, 7 p.m.
North Iowa (5-16) at West Hancock (19-2)
Mason City Newman (12-10) at North Butler (11-9)
Elkader Central (11-11) at Lansing Kee (19-1)
West Central (2-17) at Turkey Valley (13-9)
Meskwaki (12-9) at Ackley AGWSR (18-2)
Gladbrook-Reinbeck (7-16) at Clarksville (19-3)
Baxter (5-16) at Colo-Nesco (17-4)
Collins-Maxwell (17-4) at Lynnville-Sully (16-6)
Midland (13-10) at Springville (18-3)
Bellevue Marquette (16-7) at Calamus-Wheatland (5-17)
Don Bosco (7-13) at Janesville (19-2)
Iowa Valley (12-10) at Dunkerton (16-5)
BGM (9-13) at North Mahaska (20-0)
Iowa Mennonite (4-16) at English Valleys (13-9)
WACO (9-13) at Montezuma (17-3)
Fort Madison Holy Trinity (10-12) at Winfield-Mount Union (11-11)
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