116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — The 102nd Iowa high school girls’ state basketball tournament features a lot of familiar faces from the Gazette coverage area.
Among the eight area qualifiers, Benton Community had endured the longest “drought.” The Bobcats’ last tournament was 2013.
The list includes former state champions Cedar Rapids Xavier (four), Springville (four), Iowa City High, Center Point-Urbana Cascade and North Linn. Iowa City Regina also advanced.
Action begins at 10 a.m. Monday at Wells Fargo Arena; University of Iowa signee Jada Gyamfi leads 5A top-ranked Johnston into battle against West Des Moines Dowling.
The following are thumbnails on each of the five classes:
Monday, 10 a.m.— No. 1 Johnston (23-0) vs. No. 9 West Des Moines Dowling (18-6)
Monday, 11:45 a.m. — No. 4 Pleasant Valley (21-2) vs. No. 5 Iowa City High (19-4)
Monday, 1:30 p.m. — No. 2 Des Moines Roosevelt (20-2) vs. No. 7 West Des Moines Valley (18-5)
Monday, 3:15 p.m. — No. 3 Ankeny Centennial (20-3) vs. No. 6 Waterloo West (21-2)
Thursday, 10 a.m. — Top bracket
Thursday, 11:45 a.m. — Bottom bracket
Friday, 6 p.m. — Semifinal winners
Last year’s 5A runner-up, Johnston has been ranked No. 1 since the preseason. The Dragons are averaging 70.0 points per game, allowing just 36.5. Their closest game of the year was a nine-pointer against Ankeny Centennial. Johnston had a battle for a while with Des Moines North in the regional finals before breaking away, 60-46.
Iowa City High has qualified for the 12th time, defeating No. 11 Linn-Mar in a regional final, 59-51. The Little Hawks trailed by nine points in the second quarter before coming back. City was the champion of the MVC Mississippi Division. The Little Hawks score at a 63.3-point clip, allow 47.9 points per game and are deadly at the free-throw line at 77 percent. Coach Bill McTaggart went over the 500-win plateau early this season.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jada Gyamfi, 6-2, sr., Johnston — Averages 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Shoots 58.4 percent from the field, 82.0 percent from the line. University of Iowa signee.
Kelsey Joens, 5-10, jr., Iowa City High — Averages 21.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Shoots 81.4 percent from the free-throw line. Iowa State University commit.
Sahara Williams, 5-11, jr., Waterloo West — Averages 20.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. MVC Mississippi Division player of the year.
Johnston 60, West Des Moines Dowling 41
Iowa City High 53, Pleasant Valley 49
West Des Moines Valley 49, Des Moines Roosevelt 47
Waterloo West 51, Ankeny Centennial 46
Johnston 64, Iowa City High 50
Waterloo West 57, West Des Moines Valley 52
Johnston 58, Waterloo West 50
Tuesday, 11:45 a.m. — No. 1 Dallas Center-Grimes (20-3) vs. No. 14 Benton Community (19-5)
Tuesday, 1:30 p.m. — No. 5 Cedar Rapids Xavier (17-6) vs. No. 7 DeWitt Central (19-4)
Tuesday, 3:15 p.m. — No. 2 Glenwood (19-4) vs. No. 13 Bondurant-Farrar (16-7)
Tuesday, 5 p.m. — No. 3 Sioux City Heelan (21-2) vs. No. 11 Waverly-Shell Rock (18-5)
Thursday, 5 p.m. — Top bracket
Thursday, 6:45 p.m. — Bottom bracket
Saturday, 2:30 p.m. — Semifinal winners
A new 4A champion will be crowned after 2021 titlist Ballard slid down to 3A. No. 1 Dallas Center-Grimes leads a balanced field. The Mustangs brought back three starters from their semifinal team of last year. DCG is the champion of the strong Little Hawkeye Conference and has won 14 straight games. Junior Emma Miner averages 14.0 points per game.
Cedar Rapids Xavier is back after a two-year absence. The Saints downed Keokuk in the regional finals, 58-36, are making their 14th state trip and have won four titles, most recently in 2013. Coach Tom Lilly carries a career record of 593-266 and ranks 17th on Iowa’s all-time win chart. Freshman Libby Fandel leads a balanced attack at 13.0 points per game. The Saints average 55.2 points per game and allow 45.2.
Benton Community qualified three straight years between 2011 and 2013, and this is the Bobcats’ first trip since. Co-champions of the Wamac Conference West Division, the Bobcats pulled a regional-final surprise, 57-51 over No. 6 Grinnell. Benton scores at a 51.5-point rate and allows 37.9 points per contest.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jenna Hopp, 5-11, jr., Glenwood — Averages 17.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. Shoots 76.9 percent from the free-throw line.
Katelyn Lappe, 6-0, sr., Bondurant-Farrar — Averages 22.0 points and 13.6 rebounds per game. Shoots 63.8 percent from the field.
Jenna Twedt, 5-8, jr., Benton Community — Averages 18.9 points, 3.5 assists and 3.0 steals per game. Shoots 80.0 percent from the line.
Dallas Center-Grimes 50, Benton Community 38
Cedar Rapids Xavier 52, DeWitt Central 45
Glenwood 55, Bondurant-Farrar 50
Sioux City Heelan 49, Waverly-Shell Rock 42
Cedar Rapids Xavier 48, Dallas Center-Grimes 46
Glenwood 54, Sioux City Heelan 49
Glenwood 51, Cedar Rapids Xavier 50
Monday, 5 p.m. — No. 1 Unity Christian (23-1) vs. Davenport Assumption (15-9)
Monday, 6:45 p.m. — No. 4 Estherville ELC (23-2) vs. No. 5 Sergeant Bluff-Luton (20-4)
Monday, 8:30 p.m. — No. 2 West Lyon (23-1) vs. No. 9 Roland-Story (19-5)
Tuesday, 10 a.m. — No. 3 Ballard (21-3) vs. No. 6 Center Point-Urbana (21-3)
Thursday, 1:30 p.m. — Top bracket
Thursday, 3:15 p.m. — Bottom bracket
Friday, 8 p.m. — Semifinal winners
Top-ranked Unity Christian returns three starters from last year’s championship squad. The Knights dropped their opener to 4A qualifier Sioux City Heelan, but rattled off 23 straight wins after that. Unity scores at a 3A-best 66.0-point clip, allowing 43.5 points per contest. Ballard is down a class after winning the 4A title in 2021.
Fueled by a 50-48 overtime decision over Vinton-Shellsburg in the regional finals, Center Point-Urbana is in the field for the seventh time in the last nine years. The Stormin’ Pointers claimed the 2019 3A title. CPU shared the Wamac Conference West Division title and is the overall Wamac Conference champion.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ryley Goebel, 5-11, sr., Center Point-Urbana — Averages 17.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 2.9 blocks per game. Shoots 57.2 percent from the line. UNI signee, Wamac West player of the year.
Brooklyn Meyer, 6-2, sr., West Lyon — Averages 17.0 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.6 blocks per game. Shoot 52.0 percent from the field
Gracie Schoonhoven, 5-11, sr., Unity Christian — Averages 26.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. Shoots 73.9 percent from the field, 70.7 percent from the free-throw line.
Unity Christian 58, Davenport Assumption 39
Estherville ELC 50, Sergeant Bluff-Luton 43
West Lyon 51, Roland-Story 38
Ballard 44, Center Point-Urbana 39
Unity Christian 54, Estherville ELC 52
Ballard 44, West Lyon 41
Unity Christian 48, Ballard 47
Tuesday, 6:45 p.m. — No. 1 Dike-New Hartford (22-2) vs. South Central Calhoun (19-5)
Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. — No. 4 Panorama (24-1) vs. No. 6 Iowa City Regina (20-4)
Wednesday, 10 a.m. — No. 2 Denver (23-2) vs. No. 14 Underwood (22-2)
Wednesday, 11:45 a.m. — No. 3 Central Lyon (22-2) vs. No. 10 Cascade (20-4)
Friday, 10 a.m. — Top bracket
Friday, 11:45 a.m. — Bottom bracket
Saturday, 4:45 p.m. — Semifinal winners
Dike-New Hartford is the defending champion, ranked No. 1 and a heavy favorite to repeat. Four starters are back from a squad that went undefeated last year. The Wolverines were unstoppable in regional play, averaging 75.0 points per game and allowing 16.0. Their two losses came to 3A Center Point-Urbana and 1A Algona Garrigan.
Iowa City Regina is back after a four-year absence; the Regals are making their eighth trip overall, their first under Mary Rogers. Regina captured the River Valley Conference South Division title and are undefeated against 2A competition. Four players average between 9.3 and 11.4 points per game, topped by junior Grace Gaarde.
As usual, Cascade is driven by defense. Champions of the River Valley Conference North Division, the Cougars allow 30.4 points per game. Cascade has qualified for the eighth time in the last 10 years, the fifth in a row in which Mike Sconsa was on the bench. He missed the 2020-21 season after suffering a stroke.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Payton Beckman, 5-7, sr., Panorama — Averages 19.9 points and 4.9 steals per game. Shoots 41.0 percent from 3-point range, 82.7 percent from the free-throw line.
Reese Johnson, 5-9, sr., Denver — Averages 16.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.1 steals per game. Shoots 73.5 percent from the free-throw line.
Payton Petersen, 5-10, soph., Dike-New Hartford — Averages 17.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game. Shoots 68.0 percent from the field. Elite all-state volleyball player, and co-player of the year.
Dike-New Hartford 54, South Central Calhoun 37
Iowa City Regina 46, Panorama 42
Denver 55, Underwood 41
Central Lyon 49, Cascade 40
Dike-New Hartford 51, Iowa City Regina 36
Central Lyon 49, Denver 47
Dike-New Hartford 52, Central Lyon 44
Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. — No. 1 Newell-Fonda (23-1) vs. No. 8 North Mahaska (23-1)
Wednesday, 3:15 p.m. — No. 4 Marcus MMCRU (24-1) vs. No. 5 Exira-EHK (22-1)
Wednesday, 5 p.m. — No. 2 Algona Garrigan (22-3) vs. No. 7 Burlington Notre Dame (23-0)
Wednesday, 6:45 p.m. — No. 3 Springville (23-1) vs. No. 6 North Linn (22-2)
Friday, 1:30 p.m. — Top bracket
Friday, 3:15 p.m. — Bottom bracket
Saturday, 7 p.m. — Semifinal winners
Newell-Fonda has won three consecutive 1A championships and is poised to do it again despite losing four starters from last year’s squad. The top-ranked Mustangs have won 16 straight since a five-point loss to Estherville-Lincoln Central, a 3A title contender. They lead the state (all classes) at 74.5 points per game, with eight players scoring at least 4 points per game.
If Newell-Fonda has been the best 1A program through the past 15 years, Springville is a close second. Since 2008, the Orioles have been to state nine times, winning four championships (2008, 2016-18). The Orioles have won 11 in a row, avenging a loss to North Linn in that run, and average 68.4 points per game, allow 39.2 and routed previously unbeaten Baxter, 87-54, in the regional finals.
North Linn has qualified for the fourth straight year; the previous three runs were in Class 2A, which included a 2020 state title. The Lynx are in Des Moines for the seventh time in nine years and have won 20-plus game for each of the last 12 seasons. They split their first two games against Springville, and their numbers are nearly identical — averaging 68.6 ppg and allowing 39.4. They pulled away from East Buchanan in the regional finals, 62-41.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Audi Crooks, 6-3, jr., Algona Garrigan — Averages 23.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game. Shoots 72.2 percent from the field. Has numerous Division-I offers.
Macy Sievers, 5-7, sr., Newell-Fonda — Averages 14.3 points, 6.1 assists and 4.5 steals per game. Shoots 54.5 percent from the field, including 40.2 percent from long range.
Lauren Wilson, 6-0, sr., Springville — Averages 24.9 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 4.3 blocks per game. Shoots 58.9 percent from the floor, 42.0 percent for 3-point range. Signed with Concordia St. Paul.
Newell-Fonda 64, North Mahaska 41
Marcus MMCRU 48, Exira-EHK 39
Algona Garrigan 57, Burlington Notre Dame 45
Springville 54, North Linn 53
Newell-Fonda 57, Marcus MMCRU 48
Algona Garrigan 56, Springville 50
Newell-Fonda 59, Algona Garrigan 54