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Benton, Clear Creek Amana battle for Wamac West lead Friday
Girls’ basketball notes: Monticello-Cascade, English Valleys-Iowa Valley also will have major league-championship ramifications
More than a month later, P.J. Sweeney still can recite the numbers.
One-sided numbers. And from his perspective, ugly numbers.
“We were 0-for-14. I think they were 10-for-16,” he recalled (correctly), referring to the 3-point totals when his Clear Creek Amana girls’ basketball squad visited Benton Community on Dec. 20.
The result was a 51-36 Bobcats win. The rematch, which will determine sole leadership in the rugged Wamac Conference West Division, is Friday night.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7:15 at Tiffin.
“To be competitive, we have to shoot the ball better. There’s no doubt about that,” Sweeney said. “But I have all the confidence in the world in our girls. It was just one of those nights in which the ball doesn’t go in the basket, and you’re going to have those.”
Benton (15-2 overall, 6-1 division) is ranked No. 4 in Class 3A; CCA (12-2, 5-1) is seventh in 4A.
The matchup is one of three Friday that will be instrumental in determining area divisional champions.
Class 2A No. 5 Cascade (15-1, 10-0) can pretty much put a wrap on the River Valley North title if it wins at home against Monticello (14-4, 9-1).
And in the South Iowa Cedar League, East Division leader Iowa Valley (11-5, 9-4) hosts English Valleys (12-6, 8-5), which is tied for second along with Sigourney (12-7, 8-5).
The top of the Wamac West has been a crowded place recently, with co-champions in 2020 and a three-way first place tie in 2021 and 2022.
This year, the winner of this game is well-positioned to win it outright.
“I had a feeling, if you asked me before the season, that this game was going to mean a lot,” Sweeney said. “We’re ready to go. We’re in a stretch of three games -- Vinton-Shellsburg, Benton and Center Point-Urbana -- it’s all right there for the taking. We just have to take one at a time.”
Benton’s all-time leading scorer, Jenna Twedt averages 18.4 points per game and scored 25 in the previous meeting. Ava Locklear (13.4 points, 10.0 rebounds per game) leads a balanced Clippers outfit.
Despite a 17-point, 16-rebound output by Monticello’s Jayden Kuper, Cascade captured the previous encounter between the RVC North heavyweights, 45-41, Dec. 13 at Monticello.
“We’ve got to knock down shots, and take care of the ball better than we did last time,” Panthers Coach Donnie Kremer said. “These kids get along well, and have some high goals in mind.”
Alyssa Lux and Molly Roling average 13.1 points per game apiece for Cascade.
Iowa Valley won the season’s first meeting against English Valleys, 46-42, Dec. 9 at North English. Tigers sophomore Lydia Kriegel and Bears junior Kennedy Axmear both average a double-double.
Around the area
* Cedar Rapids Kennedy senior Kaliyah Sain reached the 1,000-point career mark Tuesday. She got there with a 36-point, eight-rebound, five-assist gem in the Cougars’ win over Western Dubuque.
* Bryar Duwe became Decorah’s all-time leading five-player scorer Tuesday, scoring 23 in a win over Denver and pushing her career total to 1,314.
* Cedar Rapids Washington earned its first win of the season Tuesday, 64-54 over Dubuque Hempstead. Freshmen Samantha Becker and Lily Belle Barker paced the Warriors with 19 and 17 points, respectively.