CEDAR RAPIDS — Scot Moenck was willing to gamble.
“What we were doing (previously), it was working,” said Moenck, the girls’ basketball coach at Maquoketa Valley and director of Rivalry Saturday. “I was skeptical of this at first. Change is never easy. But let’s give it a shot.”
Traditionally held at the U.S. Cellular Center on the first Saturday of January, the eight-game event gets a new venue and date for its 14th running.
It’s Saturday, beginning at 9:15 a.m., at the new arena on the campus of Coe College.
The roster of teams is as strong as ever. Fourteen of the 16 squads are ranked, including three No. 1 teams — Marion (Class 4A), North Linn (2A) and Springville (1A).
Springville is the two-time defending small-school state champion; North Scott won the 4A crown last year.
“There are going to be a lot of good teams, a lot of talented kids,” Moenck said. “I’m excited about the matchups. There aren’t any slough games.”
Intracity rivals Marion and Linn-Mar will meet for the fifth time at Rivalry Saturday, the fourth season in a row. Linn-Mar has won all of the previous matchups, but the Indians are a significant favorite this time.
“Whether we play here, or at the Cellular Center, or wherever, I’m just glad we are playing them,” Marion Coach Corby Laube said. “It’s good for Marion to be playing Linn-Mar in girls’ basketball, and everything else we can.”
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The Indians got to the state finals last year before falling in overtime to North Scott. They’re even deeper this season.
“The biggest challenge will be getting everybody minutes,” Laube said. “If we play hard, we don’t have to worry about fatigue.”
Both of the teams from Saturday’s first game — Van Buren and Algona Garrigan, who are traveling a combined 302 miles to get here — are making their Rivalry Saturday debut.
So are Panorama (which meets Springville at 3:35 p.m.) and North Scott (which faces Center Point-Urbana in the finale at 8:20).
GIRLS’ BASKETBALL: RIVALRY SATURDAY
At Coe College
9:15 a.m. — Van Buren (2A No. 14, 1-0) vs. Algona Garrigan (1A No. 14, 0-0)
10:50 a.m. — Maquoketa Valley (2A No. 12, 1-0) vs. MFL MarMac (1-0)
12:25 p.m. — Iowa City Regina (2A No. 2, 0-0) vs. Bellevue (2A No. 7, 0-1)
2 p.m. — Iowa City West (5A No. 3, 0-0) vs. Davenport Assumption (3A No. 6, 0-1)
3:35 p.m. — Springville (1A No. 1, 1-0) vs. Panorama (2A No. 6, 1-0)
5:10 p.m. — Marion (4A No. 1, 0-0) vs. Linn-Mar (0-1)
6:45 p.m — North Linn (2A No. 1, 1-0) vs. Cascade (2A No. 11, 1-0)
8:20 p.m. — Center Point-Urbana (4A No. 3, 1-0) vs. North Scott (4A No. 6, 1-0)
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