Prep Basketball

IGHSAU girls' basketball preseason rankings: West Branch is No. 1 in Class 2A

Girls' basketball: Waterloo West, Glenwood, Des Moines Christian and Newell-Fonda top the other classes

West Branch head coach Jarod Tylee yells to his players during the 2020 state tournament. The Bears are ranked No. 1 in
West Branch head coach Jarod Tylee yells to his players during the 2020 state tournament. The Bears are ranked No. 1 in the preseason Class 2A ratings. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

West Branch is among the top-ranked teams in the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union preseason basketball ratings, released Thursday afternoon.

The Bears return three starters — seniors Sasha Koenig, Rylan Druecker and Taya Young — and 66.8 percent of their scoring from a team that finished 21-4 and reached the state tournament in Class 2A last year.

Waterloo West (5A), Glenwood (4A), Des Moines Christian (3A) and Newell-Fonda (1A) are the other preseason No. 1s.

Newell-Fonda is the only defending champion to start on top this season. Four starters are back from a squad that went 27-0 and rallied from a double-digit deficit to beat Algona Garrigan in the 1A final. Garrigan (25-2) is led by sophomore Audi Crooks, who averaged 22.9 points per game and is being courted by numerous Division-I programs.

Saint Ansgar, Kingsley-Pierson and Marcus MMCRU round out the 1A top five. Springville is No. 6.

West Branch is followed in 2A by Maquoketa Valley, Denver, South Central Calhoun and defending champion North Linn.

A state qualifier last year, Des Moines Christian (22-3) gets the nod in 3A by returning all five starters, including senior Moriah Prewitt (18.2 ppg). West Liberty (19-5) is No. 2; the Comets are ascendant after last year’s team earned the program’s first winning season since 1991. Cherokee is third, followed by Center Point-Urbana and Clear Lake.

CPU was a 4A state semifinalist last year after winning the 3A title in 2019, and returns all-stater Ryley Goebel.

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Glenwood (25-1) was a 4A state semifinalist last year. Four starters return, three of whom averaged in double digits. Gilbert, Ballard, Waverly-Shell Rock and DeWitt Central round out the top five. And at No. 7, Cedar Rapids Xavier is the lone ranked Metro team.

Waterloo West went 20-5 and reached the 5A semifinals last year with a young team. Two starters — Sahara Williams and Halli Poock — were freshmen. The Wahawks appear to be the cream of the Mississippi Valley Conference for the next three years.

Southeast Polk, defending champion Johnston, Waukee and Iowa City West complete the big-school top five.

Here are the complete IGHSAU rankings. Records are from the 2019-20 season.

Class 5A

1. Waterloo West (20-5)

2. Southeast Polk (19-5)

3. Johnston (24-2)

4. Waukee (23-3)

5. Iowa City West (14-10)

6. Cedar Falls (19-5)

7. Ankeny Centennial (13-10)

8. Iowa City High (23-2)

9. Davenport North (18-5)

10. Des Moines Roosevelt (13-10)

11. Ames (11-12)

12. Muscatine (11-11)

13. Indianola (16-7)

14. West Des Moines Dowling (19-4)

15. West Des Moines Valley (14-8)

Class 4A

1. Glenwood (25-1)

2. Gilbert (25-1)

3. Ballard (22-2)

4. Waverly-Shell Rock (20-3)

5. DeWitt Central (18-4)

6. North Scott (26-0)

7. Cedar Rapids Xavier (15-8)

8. Bondurant Farrar (14-9)

9. Denison-Schleswig (12-10)

10. Grinnell (16-7)

11. Harlan (13-10)

12. Dallas Center-Grimes (17-7)

13. Winterset (12-9)

14. Clear Creek Amana (19-5)

15. Keokuk (18-4)

Class 3A

1. Des Moines Christian (22-3)

2. West Liberty (19-5)

3. Cherokee (17-6)

4. Center Point-Urbana (22-3)

5. Clear Lake (22-3),

6. Panorama (20-4)

7. Unity Christian (15-7)

8. Davenport Assumption (16-8)

9. Roland-Story (19-4)

10. Creston (14-10)

11. West Lyon (16-7)

12. Osage (24-3)

13. Sioux City Heelan (22-4)

14. Hampton-Dumont/CAL (18-4)

15. Clarion CGD (17-6)

Class 2A

1. West Branch (21-4)

2. Maquoketa Valley (17-5)

3. Denver (17-9)

4. South Central Calhoun (15-7)

5. North Linn (25-2)

6. Avoca AHSTW (20-4)

7. West Monona (17-6)

8. Nodaway Valley (20-3)

9. West Hancock (25-2)

10. IKM-Manning (17-6)

11. Grundy Center (16-8)

12. Emmetsburg (17-6)

13. Cascade (26-1)

14. Dike-New Hartford (23-2)

15. Mount Ayr (19-4)

Class 1A

1. Newell-Fonda (27-0)

2. Algona Garrigan (25-2)

3. Saint Andgar (22-3)

4. Kingsley-Pierson (20-5)

5. Marcus MMCRU (21-1)

6. Springville (20-5)

7. Exira-EHK (21-2)

8. Montezuma (23-2)

9. Lynnville-Sully (15-7)

10. Turkey Valley (19-5)

11. Collins-Maxwell (19-5)

12. Council Bluffs St. Albert (13-12)

13. Logan-Magnolia (21-4)

14. Burlington Notre Dame (20-5)

15. Stanton (21-3)

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

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