Steals lead to layups, and layups lead to victories.
That has been the equation for Iowa City Regina, which stamped itself as the Cedar Valley Conference girls’ basketball frontrunner with a 50-40 triumph at West Branch on Tuesday.
Regina is 6-0 overall, 5-0 in the CVC under first-year coach Clark Anderson. The Regals average 18.3 steals per game; as a result, their 48.9-percent shooting rate is fifth-highest in the state in any class.
“It starts with shot selection,” Anderson said. “Our girls play tough defense, and they’re unselfish. Those two things lead to a lot of layups, and those are high-percentage shots.”
Anderson, a 24-year-old who was a key part of Linn-Mar’s state-championship boys’ basketball team in 2004, became the Regals’ head coach under bizarre circumstances.
Former coach Brian Joens resigned after he was arrested for harassing a neighbor. Anderson, who was Joens’ assistant last year, was elevated into the head role.
“I’m thankful that the (selection) committee and (Regina Athletics Director) Chet (Wisniewski) trusted me enough to give me a shot,” Anderson said. “This is a great opportunity for me. It’s something I’ve been gearing myself toward, and I’m going to put everything I have into it.”
Anderson said he’s been molded by many, including former Linn-Mar boys’ coach Mark Hutcheson and the University of Iowa women’s coaching staff, for whom he served as a manager while a student at the university.
Regina is averaging 54.6 points per game while allowing 35.0. Junior Zoe Dutchik leads the team at 14.5 points and 10.8 rebounds per game and is shooting 58 percent from the floor. Zoe Browning and Sara Kron are averaging 10.2 points apiece.
The Regals handled a West Branch squad that was the preseason Cedar Valley favorite, jumping to a 10-0 advantage and building an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter.
“We got off to a great start, then we dug in our heels after they made a little run at us late in the game,” Anderson said.
“At the beginning of the year, we had pretty high expectations. We’re trying to get better every day, and if we continue to do that, we might re-evaluate those goals and set them a little higher.”
Bulldogs’ UIC streak still intact
MFL MarMac had to sweat it out Tuesday, but a 32-29 win at Turkey Valley kept its Upper Iowa Conference winning streak alive.
The Bulldogs (5-1 overall, 4-0 UIC) have won 72 consecutive league games. Their last UIC defeat came Feb. 2, 2006, against Lansing Kee. They have captured seven straight league championships and own a 99-2 UIC record since the 2003-04 season.
Tuesday’s game was MFL MarMac’s second tight league win this season. The Bulldogs opened the season with a 43-40 win at Valley Community.
Junior Nicole Wubbena leads the Bulldogs with 10.6 points per game.
They’ll get another stern test next Tuesday, at South Winneshiek (7-1, 6-0).
Rivalry Saturday schedule set
Scot Moenck, coach at Maquoketa Valley and Rivalry Saturday director, has announced this year’s schedule. The event will be Jan. 22 at the U.S. Cellular Center.
11:15 a.m. — Benton Community vs. Vinton-Shellsburg
1 p.m. — Iowa City Regina vs. Solon
2:45 p.m. — Ballard vs. Linn-Mar
4:30 p.m. — DeWitt Central vs. Cedar Rapids Washington
6:15 p.m. — Maquoketa Valley vs. Edgewood-Colesburg
8 p.m. — Mount Vernon vs. Williamsburg