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Girls’ basketball notes: Iowa City Regina has survived against a post-holiday gauntlet
Regals win 3 of 4 against fellow RVC contenders, and most of the rest of their schedule is at home
After an eight-day, four-game gauntlet, the Iowa City Regina girls’ basketball team finally can exhale.
And put their blue road uniforms away, for a while.
Regina stamped itself as the frontrunner in the River Valley Conference South Division race by winning three of four games in an extremely challenging return from the holiday break.
“If you told me we’d go 3-1, I’d say right away, ‘I’ll take that,’” third-year head coach Mary Rogers said.
The Regals (10-3 overall, 10-1 RVC) won road games against fellow league contenders Cascade (31-28, Jan. 4), West Liberty (37-25, last Friday) and West Branch (55-43, Tuesday). They dropped a 50-46 decision to Monticello at home Saturday.
But like Rogers said, 3-1 ... they’ll take that.
“Cascade, we played well enough against a really good team,” Rogers said. “West Liberty, we hadn’t won at their place for a couple of years.
“Monticello, a loss is a loss and we had to move forward quick. West Branch, that was a great atmosphere in their new gym. We kept our cool and got it done.”
The Regals have thrived with a balanced offense and a player-to-player defense that is allowing 37.7 points per game.
“I think our defense is our identity,” Rogers said. “We try to get people tired. I think we are able to wear them out.”
Regina is tough to guard, with four players averaging at least 8 points per game.
There’s experience with junior Grace Gaarde (12.3 ppg) and senior Lily Simpson (10.3), and there’s promising youth in freshman point guard Morgan Miller (10.3 ppg) and sophomore Alli Clark (8.7).
“It’s hard to guard four kids,” Rogers said. “Grace has stepped up into a different role and is shooting the ball well, and Lily has been very good for us inside.
“Morgan and Alli have given us a big spark from the get-go and have taken a big step at a young age at leading us in scoring and our defensive efforts.”
Ten of Regina’s first 13 games were on the road, but now the schedule flips. The Regals will play seven of their final eight at home. They host Tipton on Friday.
“This has been a surprise, but it’s been fun,” Rogers said. “We have to keep pushing and see what we’re made of.”
Another record night for Hannah Stuelke
Record night. Record career.
Cedar Rapids Washington senior Hannah Stuelke eclipsed her own school record with a 43-point night in the Warriors’ come-from-behind 65-61 win over Cedar Falls on Tuesday.
Stuelke’s previous high was 42, against Cedar Rapids Kennedy on Dec. 10.
The effort also pushed Stuelke past Stacy Frese on the Washington career chart. Stuelke has 1,492 career points. Frese, a 1995 graduate, scored 1,477.
A 6-foot-2 forward bound for the University of Iowa, Stuelke connected on 19 of 29 shots from the field, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range. She was 2 for 3 from the free-throw line and supplied 15 rebounds.
The Warriors trailed 28-23 at halftime, then busted out with a 27-point third quarter.
Stuelke leads the state in scoring at 30.8 points per game. The Warriors (8-4) host Dubuque Hempstead on Friday.