116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Iowa City High is an impossible girls’ basketball team to stop, difficult to merely contain.
Linn-Mar fared as well as anybody.
The Lions held the Little Hawks to a season-low point total in a 49-40 upset win, just 10 days ago.
“We really locked in defensively on what we needed to do,” Lions Coach Chad Tompkins said. “(Taylor) Brunson had (Kelsey) Joens and did a nice job. (Eviyon) Richardson got off a little, but we made some adjustments on her.”
No. 11 Linn-Mar (15-7) will try to duplicate that performance when it faces the fifth-ranked Little Hawks (18-4) in a Class 5A regional final Tuesday.
Tipoff is 7 p.m. at City High.
That showdown is one of six regional finals containing area teams. Also in 5A, 12th-ranked Cedar Rapids Washington (16-6) is at No. 4 Pleasant Valley (20-2), and No. 8 Iowa City West (19-3) hits the road for a battle with No. 7 West Des Moines Valley (17-5).
In Class 4A, No. 5 Cedar Rapids Xavier (16-6) hosts No. 9 Keokuk (18-3), No. 10 Clear Creek Amana (16-6) is at No. 7 DeWitt Central (18-4) and No. 14 Benton Community (18-5) travels to No. 6 Grinnell (19-3).
Winners advance to the state tournament next week at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines.
Linn-Mar’s most recent appearance in the capital city was six years ago. The Lions have taken a big step forward in Tompkins’ second full season.
“Looking at us last summer, I thought we had a chance to be pretty good,” he said. “We had a nice JV-1 team last year, and I thought some of those girls would fill some of the gaps.
“We haven’t been hit by the injury bug or the COVID bug. The girls have bought into the defensive aspect of it all. When we hit shots and rebound, it helps a lot.”
Slowing Joens and Richardson again is “definitely a tall task,” Tompkins said. That duo combines for more than 37 points per game.
Despite its 19-3 record and 12 wins in its last 13 games, Iowa City West has a tough road trip.
“It’s kind of what we expected,” Trojans Coach B.J. Mayer said. “I’m disappointed. We were (divisional) champions. We beat some pretty good teams. We won some 50-50 games.
“I’d like to be at home, but it is what it is. We’ve got to make some shots. If we do, we’ll be right there.”
Washington has won 10 of its last 12 games, and the two losses both were one-pointers.
“We’re right there,” said Warriors Coach Chris James, whose team is seeking its first state appearance since 2013.
The Warriors have the state’s leading scorer in University of Iowa signee Hannah Stuelke.
“There’s nothing I want more than for her to play at state,” James said. “Not just her, but all of the seniors that have meant so much to this program.
“I hope we play loose, have fun and seize the moment.”
Tuesday’s Class 5A Regional Finals
No. 12 CEDAR RAPIDS WASHINGTON (16-6) at No. 4 PLEASANT VALLEY (20-2)
Time & site: 7 p.m., at Pleasant Valley H.S., Bettendorf
Overview: Hannah Stuelke, a University of Iowa signee and front-runner for Miss Iowa Basketball 2022, will try to help nudge the Warriors to state for the first time in nine years. They have a formidable, but not insurmountable, task against Pleasant Valley, the champion of the Mississippi Athletic Conference. Washington is surging, with five straight wins and eight victories in its last nine games. Four of the Warriors’ losses have been by two points or less. Stuelke leads the state (all classes) in scoring at 29.1 points per game and posts 10.3 rebounds per contest. Four of her teammates are between 6.5 and 7.5 ppg. Pleasant Valley has won 18 straight games against Iowa competition, and the Spartans’ defensive rate of 34.3 points per game ranks third in 5A. Junior Halle Vice, a 6-1 guard, leads PV at 20.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game.
BC Moore computer projection: Pleasant Valley by 4.
No. 11 LINN-MAR (15-7) at No. 5 IOWA CITY HIGH (18-4)
Time & site: 7 p.m., at City High
Overview: The most pleasant surprise in the Metro? No doubt, it’s Linn-Mar. The Lions have broken loose from a late-January mini-slump with six wins in their last seven games. That includes a 49-40 surprise at City High on Feb. 11. Repeat the feat, and the Lions will advance to state for the first time since 2016. Of course, that’s no easy task again the perennial-power Little Hawks, led by junior Kelsey Joens, an Iowa State commit who went over the 1,000-point mark in City’s 71-33 rout of Muscatine on Saturday. Joens averages 21.2 points per game; Omaha signee Eviyon Richardson adds 16.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per contest. City High is the state’s top free-throw shooting crew at a collective 77.6 percent. Linn-Mar counters with a junior duo of Taylor Brunson (13.5 ppg) and Zoe Kennedy (12.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 4.2 apg).
BC Moore computer projection: Iowa City High by 9.
No. 8 IOWA CITY WEST (19-3) at No. 7 WEST DES MOINES VALLEY (17-5)
Time & site: 7 p.m., at Valley H.S., West Des Moines
Overview: On paper, this figures to be the best 5A regional final of the night. A 5A state semifinalist last year, West probably cost itself regional-final home-court advantage with a puzzling 26-point loss to Southeast Polk on Jan. 29, but that is the Trojans’ only setback in the last 13 games. West trailed in its regional semifinal by five points to Cedar Falls, but allowed just 10 second-half points and won going away, 49-32. Meena Tate leads the Trojans at 15.3 points per game, and post Anna Prouty (10.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg) is one of the area’s most improved players. Both are juniors. After reaching state five times in a six-year span (2014-19), Valley has fallen short the last two years. Senior Meredith Rieker leads the Tigers at 12.8 points per game, and soph Elise Jaeger supplies 12.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest.
BC Moore computer projection: West Des Moines Valley by 2.
STATE (All games, 7 p.m.)
Des Moines North (16-6) at No. 1 Johnston (22-0)
No. 10 Ankeny (16-6) at No. 2 Des Moines Roosevelt (19-2)
No. 13 Sioux City East (15-7) at No. 3 Ankeny Centennial (19-3)
Southeast Polk (13-9) at No. 6 Waterloo West (20-2)
No. 15 Waukee Northwest (14-8) at No. 9 West Des Moines Dowling (17-6)
Tuesday’s Class 4A Regional Finals
No. 9 KEOKUK (18-3) at No. 5 CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER (16-6)
Time & site: 7 p.m., at Xavier H.S.
Overview: How consistently strong has the Xavier girls’ basketball program been? Since its inception in 1998, it has never missed the state tournament three consecutive years. The Saints are favored to prevent that from happening Monday. Steeled by Mississippi Valley Conference competition, Xavier carries a six-game winning streak, including a 59-52 regional-semifinal victory over Marion. It’s a deep, balanced crew with a nice blend of youth and experience, led by freshman Libby Fandel at 13.3 points per game. Kyla Mason comes off the bench to add 9.0 points per contest. Keokuk is the champion of the Southeast Conference and comes to town with a 17-game winning streak after starting 1-3. The Saints will try to contain senior guard Abby Wolter, the second-leading scorer in 4A at 24.0 points per game.
BC Moore computer projection: Cedar Rapids Xavier by 9.
No. 10 CLEAR CREEK AMANA (16-6) at No. 7 DEWITT CENTRAL (18-4)
Time & site: 7 p.m., at DeWitt
Overview: Clear Creek Amana shook off a 1-4 start, winning 15 of its last 17 games and earning a share of the Wamac Conference West Division championship. One more victory sends the Clippers to state for the second time in three years. CCA is well-fortified in the paint with sophomores Ava Locklear (14.1 points, 8.0 rebounds per game) and Bliss Beck (9.5 and 6.8). Locklear scored 22 points in the Clippers’ 46-39 regional-semifinal conquest of North Scott. Central has won 12 of its last 13 games; the lone loss in that stretch was to 5A No. 4 Pleasant Valley. The Sabers finished second in the Mississippi Athletic Conference. Seniors Allison Meadows and Taylor Veach have been the key players for Central since their arrival as freshmen. Meadows averages 16.4 points per game; Veach adds 15.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest.
BC Moore computer projection: Dewitt Central by 9.
No. 14 BENTON COMMUNITY (18-5) at No. 6 GRINNELL (19-3)
Time & site: 7 p.m., at Grinnell
Overview: After dropping a 71-62 decision to Solon in its regular-season finale five days earlier, Benton turned the tables on the Spartans in the regional semifinals, 59-52, behind 24 points from Jenna Twedt. The junior guard is averaging 18.2 points, 3.7 assists and 3.1 steals per game. The Bobcats’ next three scoring threats are sophomores — McKenna Kramer, Emma Townsley and Zoey Junge. Benton shared the Wamac Conference West Division title with 3A state qualifier Center Point-Urbana and 4A hopeful Clear Creek Amana. Grinnell, which will join the Wamac in 2023, finished third in the Little Hawkeye Conference this winter, and it’s entirely possible that the LHC will have three 4A state entrants. The Tigers are the most prolific scoring team in 4A, averaging 66.0 points per game. Ivey Schmidt leads the way at 18.3 ppg.
BC Moore computer projection: Grinnell by 12.
STATE (All games, 7 p.m.)
Adel ADM (11-12) at No. 1 Dallas Center-Grimes (19-3)
Winterset (14-8) at No. 2 Glenwood (18-4)
No. 15 Spencer (16-7) at No. 3 Sioux City Heelan (20-2)
No. 13 Bondurant-Farrar (15-7) at No. 4 Indianola (17-4)
No. 11 Waverly-Shell Rock (17-5) at No. 8 North Polk (18-4)