They are two words that, in the context of girls’ basketball, rarely fit in the same sentence.
"Regina." And "underdog."
“We’ve had a lot of success here, and like I told the kids, nobody was going to be feeling sorry for us,” Iowa City Regina Coach Jeff Wallace said. “We had to keep plugging away. The kids grew a lot, and the last couple of weeks, they started believing in themselves.”
The fruits on that belief blossomed Wednesday night, when the Regals tripped West Branch in overtime, 54-50, in a Class 2A regional quarterfinal. It was one of three significant upsets that created chaos in area 2A regional brackets.
Dyersville Beckman upset 13th-ranked Bellevue, 42-37. And in the biggest shocker of all, South Winneshiek avenged two regular-season losses — including a 79-27 spanking in November — by beating a 20-win MFL MarMac club, 54-42.
“Obviously, we’ve gotten better, mostly offensively,” South Winn Coach Steve Hoffert said. “The same thing happened last year. They beat us by 48 points, then we beat them by 14. We used the same defense (Wednesday) that we used in that second game last year.”
That was a packed-in 1-2-2 zone, and MFL MarMac was 0 for 15 from 3-point range. South Winn led throughout the final three quarters, and made 9 of 11 free throws in the final three minutes, after the Bulldogs clawed within two points.
Only 48 hours after their upsets, these underdogs are at it again.
Regina (10-10) is at eighth-ranked North Linn (19-1) in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Friday. The Lynx are coming off a 50-point win over Northeast.
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“It’s a difficult task for us,” Wallace said. “(North Linn) is a state-championship-quality team. They spread it out with four shooters, and they have a nice post player inside.”
Regina lost all-state post Alex Wiese with a torn ACL (her third) in the first game of the season, and finished back in the pack in the River Valley Conference South Division after winning 10 consecutive league titles. But the Regals have won two straight road games in the postseason.
South Winneshiek (11-10) is at No. 5 Cascade (20-1), the defending 2A champion, and Beckman (12-10) faces No. 11 Maquoketa Valley (19-2) at Manchester.
In 1A, Springville (14-9) continues pursuit of a fifth consecutive state tournament. The Orioles face No. 12 Ackley AGWSR (13-7) at La Porte City.
Four South Iowa Cedar League teams are ranked, and all of them are still alive. That quartet includes No. 3 Montezuma (19-2) and No. 15 Sigourney (18-3), who will meet in a regional final if both win Friday. The Bravettes host Keota (10-12); the Savages host Fort Madison Holy Trinity (15-6).
Regional finals are Monday in 1A and 2A, with winners advancing to the state tournament.
Friday's Class 2A regional semifinals
All games, 7 p.m.
Jesup (15-7) at Grundy Center (20-0)
West Fork (17-5) vs. Sumner-Fredericksburg (16-5), at Charles City
South Winneshiek (11-10) at Cascade (20-1)
Maquoketa Valley (19-2) vs. Dyersville Beckman (12-10), at Manchester
Iowa City Regina (10-10) at North Linn (19-1)
Wilton (20-2) vs. Mediapolis (20-2), at Muscatine
Friday's Class 1A regional semifinals
All games, 7 p.m.
Algona Garrigan (16-6) at Clarksville (18-2)
Lansing Kee (14-5) vs. North Butler (8-12), at West Union
Gladbrook-Reinbeck (10-11) vs. Elkader Central (13-9), at Cedar Falls
Ackley AGWSR (13-7) vs. Springville (14-9), at La Porte City
Lynnville-Sully (17-3) vs. Meskwaki (12-8), at Victor
Calamus-Wheatland (9-12) at Bellevue Marquette (19-2)
Keota (10-12) at Montezuma (19-2)
Fort Madison Holy Trinity (15-6) at Sigourney (18-3)
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