Prep Basketball

Iowa girls' state basketball notes: Wells Fargo Arena contract extended, Miss Basketball candidates

Tournament has been in Des Moines since 1931

West Hancock's Kennedy Kelly (11) passes the ball under pressure from North Linn's Hannah Bridgewater (15) during their
West Hancock's Kennedy Kelly (11) passes the ball under pressure from North Linn's Hannah Bridgewater (15) during their Class 2A semifinal game at the girls' state basketball tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Friday. The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union announced an extension of its deal with the arena, through 2030. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — It’s news, yes. But it’s certainly no surprise.

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union announced the extension of its partnership with Spectra, operator of the Iowa Events Center. The girls’ state basketball tournament will remain at Wells Fargo Arena through 2030.

“(The Girls Union) can’t imagine having the tournament anywhere other than Wells Fargo Arena,” IGHSAU executive director Jean Berger said in a release Friday. “It is the premier facility in Central Iowa, and the facility staff work tirelessly to create a first-class tournament experience for our teams, fans and communities.

“Given our history in Des Moines, we look forward to continuing the Iowa Girl tradition at Wells Fargo Arena for many years to come.”

The tournament has been in Des Moines since 1931 — at the Drake Fieldhouse (1931-54), Veterans Auditorium (1955-60 and 1962-2005) and Wells Fargo (2006-present). The one exception was 1961, when the national bowling tournament was at Vets, forcing the girls’ state basketball tournament to Waterloo.

“We regularly hear our student-athletes speak about how Des Moines is a “destination” when they compete at the state tournament,” Berger said. “The city continues to serve as a fabulous host and works to create a wonderful tournament atmosphere both downtown and across the entire metropolitan area.”

All-state voting is Saturday

Sportswriters from around the state will gather Saturday morning to select the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association all-state teams.

West Des Moines Dowling’s Caitlin Clark, one of the top recruits in the nation and a University of Iowa signee, is the favorite to be named Miss Iowa Basketball 2020. The 5-foot-11 guard averaged 33.7 points per game this season as Dowling went 19-4. The Maroons were upset in the Class 5A regional finals.

Clark is far from the only standout in this year’s class, which is one of the deepest in history.

UNI recruit Grace Boffeli has a chance to win a third straight title when North Scott faces Lewis Central on Saturday. Boffeli averages 28.9 points and 12.1 rebounds per game.

 Crestwood’s Sharon Goodman, like Clark, is headed to Iowa. Goodman won a 3A state title in 2018, and averages 27.0 points and 10.8 rebounds, shooting 73.5 percent from the floor.

 Aubrey Joens of Iowa City High is an Iowa State recruit that advanced to state four times. She averaged 20.1 points per game this season.

A chance encounter

Cascade’s Jordan Simon was wrapping up an interview in the media room Friday when Osage’s Sidney Brandau wrapped her in an embrace.

Who’d have thought that the future college roommates would be facing off in a high-stakes game?

Brandau tallied nine points and six rebounds in the Green Devils’ 46-32 in Friday’s Class 2A semifinal. Simon had seven points and five rebounds for the Cougars.

The pair met on Iowa State University’s residence-hall Facebook account and will share a room next fall.

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.