The girls’ basketball program at Center Point-Urbana has grown to the point that the Stormin’ Pointers don’t rely on one player.
Or one class.
Yeah, a strong senior group of seven — highlighted by Allie Wooldridge, now at Drake University — moved on after last year’s run to the Class 4A state semifinals. But CPU has more than merely survived.
“We had girls that were waiting in the wings,” CPU Coach Philip Klett said. “They were just waiting for their chance, to make the most of their opportunities.”
Saturday certainly qualifies as a major opportunity.
The state-tournament field begins to take shape Saturday with 3A regional finals. No. 3 Center Point-Urbana (20-2) is one of three area teams seeking a trip to Wells Fargo Arena. The Stormin’ Pointers meet Central Lee (19-5) at 5 p.m. at Iowa City West.
No. 9 Waukon (17-3) faces No. 13 Davenport Assumption (12-9) at 5 p.m. at Marion High School, and South Tama (12-7) takes aim at No. 1 North Polk (20-2) at 7 p.m. at Pleasantville.
Klett has built a consistent winner at CPU, racking up a 184-79 mark in 11 years there. That includes four state trips in the last five years. The Stormin’ Pointers reached the 3A semifinals in 2017 before getting to the final four in 4A last year.
Now, they’re back in 3A, and if they get to Des Moines, they’ll be one of the favorites to compete for a championship.
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“We hope to reload every year,” Klett said. “We want to have a good nucleus of seniors and juniors each year to keep this going.
“Our effort has been good all year. We know what we are; we’re going to use our inside players (led by Callyn Fox). Our calling card is defense. If we keep defending, we should be all right.”
Class 5A and Class 4A move to the regional-semifinal stage Saturday, and defending state champions Iowa City West (5A) and Marion (4A) are favored to advance to Tuesday’s regional finals.
After the conclusion of the CPU-Central Lee game, fifth-ranked West (16-3) takes the floor against Linn-Mar (11-10) at 7 p.m. No. 1 Marion (19-1) hosts Washington, Iowa (8-13) at 7, after the Waukon-Assumption contest.
In other 5A games involving Metro/Iowa City teams (all at 7 p.m.), No. 6 Iowa City High (17-2) hosts Muscatine (8-12), No. 9 Cedar Rapids Prairie (17-3) hosts Cedar Rapids Kennedy (7-12) and No. 12 Cedar Rapids Washington (15-5) entertains Waterloo West (13-8).
No. 14 Cedar Rapids Xavier (12-8) hosts Western Dubuque (10-12) in a 4A battle.
Saturday's Class 3A regional finals
No. 9 Waukon (17-3) vs. No. 13 Davenport Assumption
5 p.m., at Marion
Waukon has motored through postseason play, winning its first two games by a combined 60 points. The Indians’ regional-semifinal game was moved back a day because of weather, but they showed no rust in whipping North Fayette Valley, 68-34. Waukon is a veteran crew, with five seniors among their top six scorers. That includes Maddie Ahlstrom, who averages 11.2 points, 4 assists and 4 steals per game. Assumption is a state-tournament fixture; the Knights have won four state titles since 2008. They were beaten in the quarterfinals last year by North Polk, and Allie Timmons (9.5 points, 7.5 rebounds per game) is the only returning starter. A member of the Mississippi Athletic Conference, Assumption suffered all nine of its losses to 4A and 5A teams.
No. 3 Center Point-Urbana (20-2) vs. Central Lee (19-5)
5 p.m., at Iowa City West
Center Point-Urbana is looking to continue what has become a recent state tradition. The Stormin’ Pointers have been to Wells Fargo in four of the last five years. They made the 3A semifinals in 2017, moved up to 4A and advanced to the semifinals again last year. Now they’re back to their customary 3A. Junior Adrianna Katcher and senior Callyn Fox were starters on last year’s team. Fox leads the team in scoring at 14.2 points per game. Both of CPU’s losses came to top-five 4A teams (Marion and Waverly-Shell Rock). Central Lee advanced with a 44-40 win over No. 14 West Burlington, outscoring the Falcons 14-5 in the fourth quarter. Six-foot-1 sophomore Mya Merschman leads the Hawks at 18.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest.
South Tama (12-7) vs. No. 1 North Polk (20-2)
7 p.m., at Pleasantville
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South Tama made an improbable trip to the state tournament last year, winning its last two regional games by a combined six points. But that pales to the challenge that awaits the Trojans on Saturday. North Polk reached the state semifinals last year, returns four starters and has been ranked No. 1 all season. Sophomore Maggie Phipps leads the Comets at 19.6 points per game, and junior Jaedon Murphy adds 14 ppg. South Tama’s Jessica Musgrave has been her scoring average dip from 22.2 points per game last year to 14.6, but she is still undoubtedly the focal point, adding 7.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 5.2 steals per contest.
Saturday's Class 5A regional semifinals
All games, 7 p.m.
Muscatine (8-12) at Iowa City High (17-2)
Davenport North (12-8) at Bettendorf (15-6)
Cedar Rapids Kennedy (7-12) at Cedar Rapids Prairie (17-3)
Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln (12-9) at Urbandale (11-9)
Des Moines Roosevelt (8-11) at West Des Moines Valley (15-5)
Waterloo West (13-8) at Cedar Rapids Washington (15-5)
Des Moines Lincoln (4-17) at Waukee (16-4)
Linn-Mar (11-10) at Iowa City West (16-3)
Saturday's Class 4A regional semifinals
All games, 7 p.m.
Decorah (5-17) at Mason City (12-8)
Boone (13-8) at Gilbert (15-5)
Dubuque Wahlert (6-15) at DeWitt Central (15-4)
Western Dubuque (10-12) at Cedar Rapids Xavier (12-8)
Maquoketa (14-7) at North Scott (17-3)
Fort Madison (2-19) at Keokuk (12-5)
Washington (8-13) at Marion (19-1)
Clear Creek Amana (11-7) at Fairfield (13-6)
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