Prep Basketball

Iowa 3A girls' basketball regional finals: 'Go Annika' has Waukon a game from state return

4 area teams play in 3A regional finals Saturday, and all are underdogs

Waukon's Annika Headington (53) pumps her fist after making a basket at last year's girls state basketball tournament. W
Waukon's Annika Headington (53) pumps her fist after making a basket at last year's girls state basketball tournament. Waukon will face Davenport Assumption in a Class 3A regional final Saturday at Dyersville. (The Gazette)

When time is short and a basket is necessary, Greg Criswell calls for a scramble play.

The name: “Go Annika.”

It produced a winner Wednesday night.

Annika Headington’s last-second 15-footer lifted Waukon past No. 8 Crestwood, 60-59, in a Class 3A girls’ basketball regional semifinal at Cresco.

The reward Thursday? Forty minutes of yoga.

“They hated that,” said Criswell, the Indians’ coach. “We kept it pretty light. Some yoga and some film.”

Waukon (15-8) is one of four area teams playing in 3A regional finals Saturday. All are underdogs.

The Indians face 10th-ranked Davenport Assumption (15-7) at 5 p.m. at Dyersville. Also at 5, Jesup (19-4) meets No. 6 Roland-Story (19-3) at Conrad. At 4 p.m., No. 12 Monticello (17-5) takes a shot at No. 1 Dike-New Hartford (21-1) at Center Point, and No. 14 West Liberty (19-4) battles No. 5 North Polk (18-5) at Grinnell.

Winners advance to the state tournament March 2-7 at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines.

Headington is the lone returning starter from last year’s Waukon team that reached the 3A state semifinals. Eight players graduated after last year.

“She has been a consistent warrior all year long,” Criswell said.

The Waukon-Assumption game is a regional rematch from last year; the Indians won that game, 55-44.

“I think Assumption is a little more athletic, a little better than last year,” Criswell said. “Our kids aren’t perfect, but they’re confident. They generally play a little harder than their opponent, and that frustrates the other team.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Monticello Coach Donnie Kremer called the Panthers’ contest with Dike-New Hartford “the ultimate test.

“We’ll see how far we’ve come,” said Kremer, who is 4-1 in regional finals. “Hopefully, our shooters can hit some shots from outside.”

Points may be hard to come by, for both teams. Dike-New Hartford is second in 3A in scoring defense at 32.1 points per game; Monticello is third at 33.9.

“Our defense the second half of the season has been really good,” Kremer said, “We’ve mixed up a lot of 1-2-2 and 1-3-1. We knew defense was going to be where we hung our hat.”

In addition to the 3A regional finals, Saturday will feature 5A and 4A regional semifinals. Included are eight Metro/Iowa City teams, led by 5A No. 2 Iowa City High (20-1), which hosts Iowa City Liberty (3-17), and 4A No. 2 Marion (20-1), which welcomes Washington, Iowa (12-9).

Saturday's Class 3A regional finals

Jesup (19-4) vs. No. 6 Roland-Story (19-3)

Time and place: 5 p.m., at Conrad

Overview: Twenty years have passed since Jesup’s most recent (and only) state-tournament appearance, and the J-Hawks are on a hot streak with 15 wins in their last 16 games, with the only loss in that stretch against No. 1 Dike-New Hartford. Jesup tripped Hampton-Dumont/CAL on the road, 63-50, in the regional-semifinal round. Sophomore Amanda Treptow leads the J-Hawks at 12.6 points per game. Roland-Story rolled through its first two postseason games by scores of 64-26 and 55-30, and the Norse are chasing their second straight state tournament. Four starters are back from last year’s quarterfinalist squad, led by sophomore Reagan Barkema (14.3 ppg).

BC Moore computer projection: Roland-Story by 11

Waukon (15-8) vs. No. 10 Davenport Assumption (15-7)

Time and place: 5 p.m., at Dyersville

Overview: Waukon’s Annika Headington beat the buzzer and knocked out No. 8 Crestwood, 60-59, in a regional semifinal at Cresco on Wednesday. Headington is the lone starter from last year’s Indians team that reached the state semifinals; she averages 12.5 points per game. This is a regional-final rematch from last year; Waukon prevailed, 55-44, at Marion. Assumption is the only 3A school from the Mississippi Athletic Conference, which is full of 5A and 4A teams. The Knights routed Tipton and Anamosa by counts of 61-32 and 71-21 in the first two postseason rounds. Freshman Ava Schubert paces Assumption at 9.4 points per contest.

BC Moore computer projection: Davenport Assumption by 8

No. 12 Monticello (17-5) vs. No. 1 Dike-New Hartford (21-1)

Time and place: 4 p.m., at Center Point

Overview: After advancing to the 2A state tournament in 2018 and 2019 (it lost in the first round both times), Dike-New Hartford has made itself at home in its new class. The Wolverines allowed 24 and 15 points in their first two regional games. Monticello last qualified for state in 2018, reaching the semifinals. Jordan Kuper, now a senior, was a starter on that team. Kuper averages 12.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. DNH is a veteran outfit, led by seniors Ellie Foster (16.5 ppg), Katie Knock (14.6) and Morgan Weber (10.3). The Wolverines are second in 3A in scoring defense at 32.1 points per game; Monticello is third at 33.9.

BC Moore computer projection: Dike-New Hartford by 18.

No. 14 West Liberty (19-4) vs. No. 5 North Polk (18-5)

Time and place: 4 p.m., at Grinnell

Overview: This has been a season of awakening for West Liberty, which has posted its first winning season in 29 years. And win or lose Saturday, this could be just the tip of the iceberg. The Comets’ top three scorers are freshman Finley Hall (12.9 points per game) and sophomores Macy Daufeldt (12.4) and Sailor Hall (9.1). West Liberty pulled away from Williamsburg in the regional semifinals, 63-55. Last year’s 3A state runner-up, North Polk pasted its first two postseason opponents by margins of 66-7 and 79-23. North Polk averages 66.4 points per game, with four players scoring in double figures, led by junior Maggie Phipps, a Drake commit, at 16.1 ppg.

BC Moore computer projection: North Polk by 15

Saturday's Class 5A regional semifinals

(All games, 5 p.m.)

Region 1

Iowa City Liberty (3-17) at Iowa City High (20-1)

Dubuque Hempstead (13-9) at Bettendorf (14-7)

Region 5

Linn-Mar (8-13) at Southeast Polk (17-4)

Iowa City West (13-9) at West Des Moines Valley (14-7)

Region 7

Cedar Rapids Jefferson (2-19) at Waterloo West (17-4)

Ottumwa (13-9) at Urbandale (14-7)

Region 8

Davenport West (2-17) at Davenport North (17-4)

Pleasant Valley (10-12) at Cedar Rapids Prairie (18-3)

Saturday's Class 4A regional semifinals

(5 p.m. unless noted)

Region 3

Dubuque Wahlert (8-14) at Waverly-Shell Rock (18-2)

Decorah (12-9) at Cedar Rapids Xavier (14-7)

Region 4

Western Dubuque (7-15) at Center Point-Urbana (19-2), 6 p.m.

Maquoketa (17-5) at DeWitt Central (17-3)

Region 6

Washington (12-9) at Marion (20-1)

Pella (12-10) at Clear Creek Amana (17-4), 7 p.m.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.