The transition to Thanksgiving weekend and Coe College was somewhat random. But the combination worked well enough to repeat.
“You don’t have to worry about weather as much in November as you do in January,” said Maquoketa Valley girls’ basketball coach Scot Moenck, the director of Rivalry Saturday. “And Coe has a nice facility. Putting the kids on a college campus is a plus.”
Rivalry Saturday turns 15 when a talented field of 16 teams gathers at Kohawk Arena. The eight-game set begins at 9:15 a.m. and will run well into the night.
“Fifteen years,” Moenck said. “If you would have thought it would have stuck this long ... anything that can promote the sport is great, because I have the fear that it’s dying a little bit.”
The field of 16 teams combined for a record of 304-81 last year (10-1 so far this season) and consists of 10 squads rated by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. The list features two defending state champions — Iowa City West (Class 5A) and Marion (4A).
West, rated No. 8 in 5A, opens the slate against 3A No. 14 Davenport Assumption in a rematch of last year. The Women of Troy bring back Lauren Zacharias and Cailyn Morgan, among others.
Marion is the No. 1 team in 4A and carries a 27-game winning streak into Saturday’s finale, an all-Metro battle with 5A No. 7 Cedar Rapids Prairie, scheduled for 8:20 p.m.
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The Indians welcome back junior all-stater Kayba Laube, along with senior starter Randi Wright. Prairie counters with the guard trio of Sarah Schmitt, Sidney McCrea and Mallory McDermott.
Two games are conference matchups. River Valley Conference North Division rivals Anamosa and Monticello tangle at 10:50 a.m., and 3A No. 5 Center Point-Urbana faces Mount Vernon is a Wamac Conference cross-division battle at 6:45 p.m.
Sumner-Fredericksburg, rated 11th in 2A, makes its Rivalry Saturday debut at 12:25 p.m., when it meets Moenck’s Maquoketa Valley squad. East Buchanan, which faces at MFL MarMac at 2 p.m., is another event newcomer.
That leaves the 3:35 and 5:10 games, and both of those are top-10 battles. Class 2A No. 10 North Linn meets 1A No. 2 Montezuma at 3:35 p.m., then 4A No. 6 Western Dubuque faces 4A No. 2 North Scott at 5:10.
“We’ve got some good matchups, and it’s always good to bring in some new, good teams,” Moenck said.
2018 Rivalry Saturday schedule
At Coe College (Kohawk Arena)
9:15 a.m. — Iowa City West (0-0) vs. Davenport Assumption (0-1)
10:50 a.m. — Anamosa (0-0) vs. Monticello (1-0)
12:25 p.m. — Maquoketa Valley (1-0) vs. Sumner-Fredericksburg (1-0)
2 p.m. — East Buchanan (1-0) vs. MFL MarMac (0-0)
3:35 p.m. — North Linn (1-0) vs. Montezuma (1-0)
5:10 p.m. — Western Dubuque (1-0) vs. North Scott (1-0)
6:45 p.m. — Center Point-Urbana (0-0) vs. Mount Vernon (0-0)
8:20 p.m. — Cedar Rapids Prairie (1-0) vs. Marion (1-0)
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