Prep Basketball

Cedar Rapids Washington earned home court, now plays for girls' state basketball bid

Warriors host Dowling in 8-vs.-9 Class 5A regional-final matchup Tuesday

Cedar Rapids Washington's Deja Redmond (50) takes a shot during the second quarter of their Mississippi Valley Conferenc
Cedar Rapids Washington’s Deja Redmond (50) takes a shot during the second quarter of their Mississippi Valley Conference girls’ basketball game against Linn-Mar on Jan. 5. The Warriors host West Des Moines Dowling in a Class 5A regional final Tuesday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

The Washington Warriors spent five anxious days, wondering if they would get the site they wanted for Tuesday’s Class 5A regional final.

They did.

And now, they’ll try to get the pace to their liking.

“If we play to our pace, get up and down the floor, get lots of possessions ... that typically favors us,” Coach Chris James said.

Eighth-ranked Washington (13-3) hosts No. 9 West Des Moines Dowling (10-6) at 7 p.m. Tuesday. At stake is a spot in next week’s girls state basketball tournament.

The Warriors are one of four Metro/Iowa City teams chasing a trip to Wells Fargo Arena. Also in 5A, No. 6 Iowa City West (12-3) hosts No. 13 Davenport North (11-1), and No. 12 Iowa City High (10-4) faces a road contest with No. 3 Waterloo West (18-1).

Marion (14-8) is at No. 4 DeWitt Central (15-2) in a 4A encounter.

Washington opened the season with 12 wins in its first 13 games. But the Warriors dropped their last two regular-season games — including one against Iowa City Liberty, in which three starters were out for unspecified reasons.

But they remained at No. 8 in the final rankings, Dowling stayed No. 9, and that meant home-court advantage for the Warriors in Tuesday’s showdown.

“It was definitely on my mind,” James said. “The thing is, with COVID and crowds and everything, there wouldn’t be the advantage there normally would be. But you tend to shoot better at home.

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“We’re excited. We think we’ve proved ourselves, regardless of the last couple of games, and we deserve to host this game.”

Washington ended its mini-slump with a 74-19 rout of Davenport West in the regional semifinals behind 29 points from Hannah Stuelke. Dowling, meanwhile, had to come from behind to defeat Linn-Mar, 52-46.

“Depth is going to be important for us,” James said. “We just have so many different kind of players. We have a couple of posts, a couple of really good shooters, some quickness, some good bench players.”

The City-Waterloo West battle features a pair of teams that reached the state semifinals last year.

“That team has no glaring weaknesses,” City Coach Bill McTaggart said of the Wahawks. “That’s a very good team.”

City High has endured two extended COVID-related breaks (plus the holiday break).

“We run out of gas a little bit at the end of games,” McTaggart said. “But what we’re doing well, we’re shooting free throws well, and we’re not turning the ball over.”

Iowa City West is on a 10-game win streak after a 2-3 start. Marion whipped Clear Creek Amana, 54-36, in its regional semifinal, gaining a measure of revenge from last year’s regional-final loss to the Clippers.

Tuesday's Class 5A regional finals

(All games, 7 p.m.)

REGION 3: No. 12 Iowa City High (10-4) at No. 3 Waterloo West (18-1)

Overview: City High, which has played only three games since Jan. 22, faces its toughest test of the season. A state semifinalist last year, MVC Valley Division champion West has won 17 consecutive games, and the Wahawks’ 68.2-point scoring rate is second in 5A, behind only Waukee. Sophomores Halli Poock and Sahara Williams lead the Wahawks’ attack — Poock averages 21.0 points and 5.6 assists per game, and Williams nets 19.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per contest. Also a state semifinalist in 2020, City High, which was tied at halftime in the regional final with Muscatine before prevailing, 55-45, is spearheaded by the trio of sophomore Kelsey Joens (19.3 ppg), junior Eviyon Richardson (14.8) and Ella Cook (12.9). The teams did not meet in the regular season.

BC Moore computer projection: Waterloo West by 8

REGION 6: No. 13 Davenport North (11-1) at No. 6 Iowa City West (12-3)

Overview: Two hot teams collide here — West has won 10 straight games after a 2-3 start, and North has run off nine victories in a row on its way to a Mississippi Athletic Conference championship. Both teams had to work to get through the previous round, though. West got a stern test from Davenport Central before prevailing, 53-43, and North pulled away from Bettendorf late, 59-53. Providence recruit Audrey Koch shoots 58.8 percent from the field, 80.8 percent from the line and leads West at 19.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, and Matayia Tellis adds 10.9 points per game. Four of North’s five key players are seniors, including Bella Sims (14.6 ppg). The Wildcats are seeking their second trip to state, the first was in 2016. West’s last appearance was in 2018.

BC Moore computer projection: Iowa City West by 11.

REGION 8: No. 9 West Des Moines Dowling (10-6) at No. 8 Cedar Rapids Washington (13-3)

Overview: Eight years have passed since Washington’s last voyage to Wells Fargo Arena, and this team is capable of ending the drought. The Warriors dropped their last two regular-season games, but bounced back big with a 74-19 rout of Davenport West in the regional semifinals. Junior Hannah Stuelke scored 29 in that game and leads the Warriors at 21.3 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. Sydney Mitvalsky, the only senior in the starting lineup, adds 16.8 points per contest. All six of Dowling’s losses have come against 5A top-five teams. The Maroons rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to defeat Linn-Mar, 52-46, in the regional semis. Senior Lexi Boles shoots 63.4 percent from the field, 80.5 percent from the line and scores at a 14.8-point clip.

BC Moore computer projection: West Des Moines Dowling by 5

STATE

Region 1: Ankeny (10-6) at No. 1 Waukee (9-1)

Region 2: No. 14 Indianola (18-4) at No. 2 Johnston (15-1)

Region 4: Sioux City East (18-4) at No. 4 Southeast Polk (14-3)

Region 5: No. 11 Des Moines Roosevelt (10-1) at No. 5 Ankeny Centennial (14-2)

Region 7: No. 10 West Des Moines Valley (10-6) at No. 7 Cedar Falls (16-3)

 

Tuesday's Class 4A regional finals

(All games, 7 p.m.)

REGION 5: Marion (14-8) at No. 4 DeWitt Central (15-2)

Overview: Marion’s four-year run of state-tournament appearances ended at the hands of Clear Creek Amana in last year’s regional finals, but the Indians got a measure of revenge Saturday, knocking off the Clippers, 54-36, in an impressive regional-semifinal display. The Indians ruled the third quarter, 21-3. Valparaiso recruit Ella Van Weelden paces Marion at 16.6 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, and junior Sadie Struchen (11.0 ppg) is dangerous from long range. A former Wamac Conference foe of the Indians, Central finished 10-2 in its first year in the Mississippi Athletic Conference. The Sabers rely a lot on juniors Taylor Veach (19.2 ppg) and Allison Meadows (16.0), and scored 70-plus points in their last two games.

BC Moore computer projection: DeWitt Central by 17

STATE

Region 1: Sergeant Bluff-Luton (13-8) at No. 1 Glenwood (18-3)

Region 2: No. 11 North Polk (15-7) at No. 2 Ballard (20-1)

Region 3: No. 13 Creston (14-6) at No. 3 Dallas Center-Grimes (19-2)

Region 4: Fairfield (11-8) at No. 6 North Scott (14-2)

Region 6: Dubuque Wahlert (12-9) at No. 5 Waverly-Shell Rock (21-2)

Region 7: No. 15 Grinnell (16-7) at No. 7 Bondurant-Farrar (15-5)

Region 8: No. 9 Harlan (16-5) at No. 8 Denison-Schleswig (18-4)

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

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