Iowa high school girls' basketball rankings: Marion, North Linn, Springville start season at No. 1

Orioles are two-time defending 1A state champions

Marion head girls’ basketball coach Corby Laube talks to his players during a time out in a game against Linn-Mar at the 13th Annual Rivalry Saturday at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Marion head girls’ basketball coach Corby Laube talks to his players during a time out in a game against Linn-Mar at the 13th Annual Rivalry Saturday at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Three area teams begin the season at the top of their respective classes in the first girls’ basketball rankings, released Friday afternoon by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.

Two-time defending Class 1A champion Springville opens at No. 1 in the small-school class, while Marion tops the 4A chart and North Linn leads the list in 2A.

Springville was 25-2 last season and has been to the finals each of the last three years. The Orioles return 97 percent of their scoring, led by first-team all-staters Mikayla Nachazel and Rylee Menster, both of whom have signed to play at Minnesota State-Mankato.

The Orioles will battle for the Tri-Rivers Conference West Division title with North Linn (24-2), which reached the 2A state tournament last year and is virtually intact. The Lynx bring back post Ashley Tull and the Flanagan twins.

More: The Gazette's preseason girls' basketball rankings

Marion came within a whisker of the 4A title last year, falling to North Scott in overtime in the championship game. All-staters Chloe Rice and Kayba Laube return to lead the Indians in what should be another deep run.

Class 5A looks like a deep, balanced class, and 2017 runner-up Cedar Falls (23-2) gets the nod. The Tigers return UNI recruits Cynthia Wolf and Kiana Barney, and add another in transfer Kamryn Finley from Linn-Mar.

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Indianola (24-1) is No. 2, followed by Iowa City West (21-4) and Iowa City High (22-2). West is led by Iowa recruit Logan Cook, City High by Iowa State signee Ashley Joens. Defending champion West Des Moines Valley is No. 6.

Marion is followed in 4A by Lewis Central (22-2) and Center Point-Urbana (22-4), which moves up a class after reaching the 3A semifinals last year.

More: Area girls' basketball conference predictions

With two-time defending champion Pocahontas Area gutted by graduation, 2017 runner-up Sioux Center (26-1) is the heir apparent to the top spot in 3A. Crestwood (22-2), Clear Lake (21-4) and Cherokee (21-4) are the next three.

The top four teams in 2A appear to be about dead-even. North Linn is followed by Iowa City Regina (26-1), 2017 runner-up Treynor (27-1) and defending champion Western Christian (25-2).

Kingsley-Pierson (24-1) and Central Decatur (24-1) are Springville’s top challengers in 1A. K-P was a semifinalist last year, and Central Decatur was a 2A qualifier.

Iowa high school girls' basketball preseason rankings

Via IGHSAU

CLASS 5A

1. Cedar Falls (23-2)

2. Indianola (24-1)

3. Iowa City West (21-4)

4. Iowa City High (22-2)

5. West Des Moines Dowling (19-5)

6. West Des Moines Valley (24-2)

7. Pleasant Valley (19-4)

8. Johnston (19-5)

9. Ankeny Centennial (17-6)

10. Waukee (18-5)

11. Bettendorf (15-7)

12. Ames (15-8)

13. Southeast Polk (14-9)

14. Cedar Rapids Prairie (9-13)

15. Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln (11-12)

CLASS 4A

1. Marion (24-2)

2. Lewis Central (22-2)

3. Center Point-Urbana (22-4)

4. Grinnell (19-5)

5. Le Mars (19-4)

6. North Scott (21-5)

7. Boone (19-6)

8. Mason City (11-12)

9. Western Dubuque (21-2)

10. Pella (20-5)

11. Denison-Schleswig (18-6)

12. Sioux City Heelan (13-10)

13. Cedar Rapids Xavier (18-7)

14. Sergeant Bluff-Luton (14-9)

15. Harlan (11-11)

CLASS 3A

1. Sioux Center (26-1)

2. Crestwood (22-2)

3. Clear Lake (21-4)

4. Cherokee (21-4)

5. Osage (17-5)

6. Davenport Assumption (16-8)

7. Camanche (16-8)

8. Roland-Story (15-8)

9. West Marshall (20-4)

10. Nevada (22-2)

11. Forest City (17-7)

12. Carroll Kuemper (14-9)

13. Monticello (14-9)

14. Algona (18-5)

15. Shenandoah (21-3)

CLASS 2A

1. North Linn (24-2)

2. Iowa City Regina (26-1)

3. Treynor (27-1)

4. Western Christian (25-2)

5. Logan-Magnolia (21-4)

6. Panorama (22-2)

7. Bellevue (17-7)

8. West Sioux (22-2)

9. Grundy Center (19-3)

10. IKM-Manning (18-5)

11. Cascade (23-3)

12. Maquoketa Valley

13. Okoboji (15-8)

14. Van Buren (16-7)

15. Dike-New Hartford (13-10)

CLASS 1A

1. Springville (25-2)

2. Kingsley-Pierson (24-1)

3. Central Decatur (24-1)

4. North Mahaska (16-7)

5. Dunkerton (17-5)

6. West Hancock (19-4)

7. Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton (24-2)

8. Newell-Fonda (20-4)

9. Montezuma (17-7)

10. Lansing Kee (17-5)

11. Janesville (24-1)

12. Lynnville-Sully (21-3)

13. Bellevue Marquette (21-4)

14. Algona Garrigan (16-7)

15. Boyer Valley (18-5)

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

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