Prep Basketball

Rivalry Saturday could be 3 girls' basketball games, 4, 5 ... or none

Delayed from Thanksgiving weekend and moved out of Coe because of COVID-19, whittled-down event is Saturday at Delhi, maybe

Cedar Rapids Xavier's Lexi Beier (15) drives upcourt against pressure from Solon's Callie Levin (23) in a girls' basketb
Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Lexi Beier (15) drives upcourt against pressure from Solon’s Callie Levin (23) in a girls’ basketball game Jan. 11. Xavier will face Algona Garrigan at Rivalry Saturday, Saturday at Delhi. Solon will meet West Liberty. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

As of this writing, Rivalry Saturday has been whittled to a three-game schedule.

Could be four. Outside chance of five.

And if the weather lives up (or down, depending on your perspective) to its forecast, there could be none.

“It’s been a big Debbie Downer,” said Maquoketa Valley girls’ basketball coach Scot Moenck, who doubles as director of Rivalry Saturday, which is scheduled for its 17th installment Saturday at Delhi.

“We always look forward to having these kids play in a big venue against good competition.”

The event was originally scheduled as an eight-game collection for Nov. 28 at Coe College, but the pandemic forced a change of date and site.

Scheduling complications for participating teams forced the cancellation of three games, then a fourth, then a fifth.

So the remaining slate currently reads like this:

• 1 p.m. — North Linn (2A No. 4, 12-2) vs. Denver (2A No. 13, 10-4)

• 3 p.m. — Algona Garrigan (1A No. 1, 15-0) vs. Cedar Rapids Xavier (4A No. 12, 8-5)

• 5 p.m. — West Liberty (3A No. 7, 8-3) vs. Solon (3A No. 11, 12-4)

Moenck was efforting Wednesday night, and into Thursday, in adding a fourth game, which would tip off at 11 a.m. A fifth matchup, if located, would take place at 7 p.m., but that’s a long shot.

Snow is forecast to invade Eastern Iowa around midday Saturday. Moenck has his eye on the weather models, and will make a decision on the event’s fate Friday.

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“We’ve been really fortunate; we’ve never had a hiccup because of weather in 16 years,” Moenck said.

Attendance allowance will consist of household plus four others for each participant.

Each of the three games have promise, but the Xavier-Garrigan encounter carries extra intrigue.

Last year’s 1A runner-up, Garrigan has been a wrecking crew, beating its first 15 foes by an average of 46.8 points per game. The Golden Bears present a matchup problem in sophomore Audi Crooks, a sturdy 6-foot-3 post who has offers from all four Division-I schools in Iowa, as well as Maryland, Missouri State and others.

“She’s certainly a formidable foe,” Xavier Coach Tom Lilly said. “If they get us into a half-court game, it certainly swings to their favor. Our goal is to try to stretch it out and attack.”

Crooks is averaging 21.0 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game, and is shooting 72.3 percent from the floor. Garrigan point guard Molly Joyce, also a sophomore, adds 19.3 points per contest.

“I don’t know them by name; I know them by skill set,” Lilly said. “And they are very skilled. We’ll be playing a very good basketball team.”

How good? Well, according to the BC Moore computer, Garrigan is ranked No. 3 in all classes, behind only Johnston and Waukee.

North Linn is the defending 2A state champion.

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

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