The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union is effective and creative in splitting power when drawing postseason brackets.
But there are bound to be exceptions. And a few cropped up in Class 2A girls’ basketball regional first-round games.
** Iowa City Regina (17-4) hosts West Branch (16-5) in a battle of the first- and second-place teams in the Cedar Valley Conference.
** Monticello (16-6) travels to Maquoketa Valley (17-4) in a matchup of perennially strong Tri-Rivers Conference foes.
** Surging Iowa Valley (14-7) travels to Mount Vernon (18-3).
All games start at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“I don’t understand our draw,” said West Branch Coach Mike Johnston. “I was very surprised, very disappointed when I saw the brackets. The 1 and 2 teams in our conference, in the first round? It doesn’t make sense.”
Regina swept the Bears in the regular season.
“The key is that we need to take care of the ball against their press,” Johnston said. “We can’t let them get six or eight points in a hurry.”
Maquoketa Valley Coach Scot Moenck was less than thrilled with his draw. The Wildcats beat Monticello in two close regular-season encounters.
“I’m kind of disappointed,” Moenck said. “Not with the fact that we’re playing Monticello as much as the fact that the top four teams in (the Tri-Rivers Conference) are in the same district. I wish they’d done a better job of splitting us up.”
Among that Tri-Rivers quartet is No. 1 Cascade (20-1), which hosts Dyersville Beckman (0-21) Saturday.
The 2A state runner-up last year, Cascade has won 20 straight games and is allowing 28.4 points per game.
The area’s other ranked team, No. 8 MFL MarMac (17-3) opens at home with Clayton Ridge (6-13).