Prep Basketball

Preseason area girls' basketball Super 10: Marion opens at No. 1

Indians are defending 4A state champions

Marion's Kayba Laube (24) drives to the basket around Center Point-Urbana's Callyn Fox during a game last season at Marion. The Indians, 26-0 and Class 4A state champions last year, open the new season at No. 1 in The Gazette's area Super Ten. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Marion's Kayba Laube (24) drives to the basket around Center Point-Urbana's Callyn Fox during a game last season at Marion. The Indians, 26-0 and Class 4A state champions last year, open the new season at No. 1 in The Gazette's area Super Ten. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Monday signifies the first day of the girls’ basketball season in Iowa, as practice opens throughout the state. 

Here is The Gazette’s preseason Super 10.

1.

Marion

Last year: 26-0, 14-0 Wamac West (1st)

Postseason: Class 4A state champion
Overview: The defending champions are favored to repeat in 4A, but the margin between the Indians and the rest of the pack has narrowed. Graduation zapped the Indians of three-fifths of the starting lineup, and the depth from 2017-18 isn’t nearly as vast. Still, a nucleus with UNI recruit Kayba Laube, the Van Weelden sisters and the Wright sisters gives Marion a shot to duplicate its accomplishments of last year
 
2.

Iowa City High

Last year: 26-1, 13-0 MVC (1st in Valley Division)

Postseason: Class 5A state runner-up
Overview: Miss Iowa Basketball 2018 Ashley Joens has taken her act to Iowa State, but don’t expect the Little Hawks to slide far, if at all. The junior trio of Rose Nkumu, Aubrey Joens (Iowa State commit) and Paige Rocca will blossom into a larger role, and with the MVC reconfigured this year, City High enters the new season as a slight favorite to capture the Valley Division title.
 
3.

Cedar Rapids Prairie

Last year: 16-7, 9-4 MVC (2nd in Valley Division)

Postseason: Class 5A regional finalist
Overview: With Sarah Schmitt, Sidney McCrea and Mallory McDermott returning, Prairie’s backcourt can match up with anybody in the state. If the Hawks can improve in the paint, their first state tournament appearance since back-to-back semifinal trips in 2005 and 2006 is a distinct possibility. The Hawks face Marion at Rivalry Saturday (Nov. 24) with early Metro bragging rights on the line
 
4.

Iowa City West

Last year: 19-7, 11-2 MVC (1st in Mississippi Division)

Postseason: Class 5A state champion
Overview: The reigning big-school queens were going to have to deal with the graduation of Logan Cook and Rachael Saunders anyway, but the knee injury of Emma Cook was an unexpected blow. State-quarterfinal hero Lauren Zacharias is back though, and so is Cailyn Morgan. If the Women of Troy slip this season, it won’t be far
 
5.

Cascade

Last year: 25-3, 16-1 River Valley (1st in North Division)

Postseason: Class 2A state champion
Overview: The Cougars overcame what could have been a crippling state-tournament disciplinary action to unify and win the 2A title. Three starters are back, led by dynamite junior guard Nicole McDermott. Mike Sconsa needs 19 wins to reach the 300-victory mark, and he should get there as the Cougars’ vaunted zone defense creates headaches all winter
 
6.

Cedar Rapids Xavier

Last year: 14-9, 9-4 MVC (2nd in Mississippi Division)

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Postseason: Class 4A regional finalist
Overview: The top three scorers return from last year, led by junior point guard Caitlynn Daniels, an Alabama-Birmingham commit. And word has it that the Saints will be welcoming a stacked freshman class that’s ready to conquer the world. This could be a very dangerous team in 4A by season’s end
 
7.

Western Dubuque

Last year: 18-5, 11-3 Wamac East (T-2nd)

Postseason: Class 4A regional semifinalist
Overview: The Bobcats make the transition into the Mississippi Valley Conference this season, and have the personnel to compete right away. Junior Lindsey Eimers and senior Karlie Fagan make an upper-division debut possible. And as is the case with Xavier, playing a 5A schedule will reap benefits in facing a 4A postseason
 
8.

Center Point-Urbana

Last year: 22-4, 12-2 Wamac West (2nd)

Postseason: Class 4A state semifinalist
Overview: Marion’s move to the East Division of the Wamac Conference opens the Wamac West race, and though CPU was gutted by graduation, enough of a nucleus — specifically, Southern Illinois commit Adrianna Katcher and Callyn Fox — returns to keep the Stormin’ Pointers atop the list of title hopefuls
 
9.

Cedar Rapids Washington

Last year: 12-9, 7-6 MVC (5th in Valley Division)

Postseason: Class 5A regional semifinalist
Overview: Washington was on the wrong end of a regional classic last year, dropping a last-second 83-81 verdict to Cedar Rapids Kennedy. The Warriors are poised to make a jump this season behind veterans Sammy Mia and Caitlin Riley, among others. And it sounds like there is more help on the way in the form of a strong freshman class.
 
10.

South Tama

Last year: 15-10, 9-5 Wamac West (3rd)

Postseason: Class 3A state qualifier
Overview: A surprise party-crasher at state last year, South Tama has most of its key players back, including senior Jessica Musgrave, who averaged 21.8 points per game. If her surrounding cast develops, the Trojans could push Center Point-Urbana in the Wamac West race
 

 

Area class rankings

Class 5A — 1. Iowa City High (26-1), 2. Cedar Rapids Prairie (16-7), 3. Iowa City West (19-7), 4. Cedar Rapids Washington (12-9), 5. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (11-12)

Class 4A — 1. Marion (26-0), 2. Cedar Rapids Xavier (14-9), 3. Western Dubuque (18-5), 4. Clear Creek Amana (11-11), 5. Maquoketa (11-12)

Class 3A — 1. Center Point-Urbana (22-4), 2. South Tama (15-10), 3. Waukon (14-7), 4. Mount Vernon (16-7), 5. Anamosa (19-5)

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Class 2A — 1. Cascade (25-3), 2. North Linn (23-1), 3. Iowa City Regina (21-5), 4. MFL MarMac (17-6), 5. Maquoketa Valley (17-6)

Class 1A — 1. Montezuma (20-4), 2. Meskwaki (12-10), 3. Elkader Central (11-12), 4. Midland (13-11), 5. English Valleys (13-10)

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

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