The West Division appears to be the best division in the Wamac Conference, at least at the top.
“Things go in cycles, and it looks that way,” said Williamsburg girls’ basketball coach Aaron Feddersen. “The East was stronger last year.”
After three rounds of interdivisional play — West teams won 14 of 23 games — divisional action kicks off Tuesday, headlined by a West Division showdown at Williamsburg, where the Class 3A top-ranked Raiders (5-0) entertain No. 6 Benton Community (4-0).
Tipoff is 7:30 p.m.
“Williamsburg is just loaded. Talk about an all-star lineup,” said Benton Coach Laurie Donald, who was busy breaking down tape Sunday night. “When you’re talking about a dream team, I think Aaron dreamt up those girls.”
Benton-Williamsburg has become the hottest Wamac girls’ basketball rivalry. The Raiders won twice in the regular season last year, then the Bobcats pulled a 50-39 regional-semifinal upset and eventually reached the state tournament for the first time.
The game will feature two of the best guards in Eastern Iowa. Benton junior Madison Weekly averages 17.8 points and 3.8 assists per game. Williamsburg counters with sophomore Paige Greiner (13.2 ppg), who is shooting 59 percent from the floor.
The Raiders return virtually intact from last season, warranting the No. 1 ranking. Benton brought back just two starters.
“If you’re going to play Benton, I sure don’t mind playing them early,” Feddersen said. “With our experience, we should be well prepared.”
Donald missed the first two weeks of the season after giving birth to her family’s third child, a son.
“I’m so proud of the way our seniors stepped up and led this team while I was gone,” she said.
Both teams already have a win over a ranked team under their belts. Williamsburg handled Washington (Iowa), 59-46, Thursday, then Benton won at Union, 54-38, Saturday.
Their unbeaten starts are not a surprise. Marion (3-0), on the other hand, is ascendant after suffering through a 6-16 campaign last year. The Indians have an impressive road win over Solon under their belts.
Tabbing a frontrunner in the East Division is more tricky.
Defending champion Mount Vernon — the 2A state champ in 2010 and the 3A runner-up in 2011 — is 1-3, but the Mustangs’ three losses have come against Benton, Williamsburg and Linn-Mar. Solon and Western Dubuque are 2-1.
Stephanie Botkin has made an immediate splash for Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
Botkin averages 13.3 points per game, the third-highest average in the state for a freshman. She scored 20 points in the Cougars’ 58-44 win over Pleasant Valley on Saturday.
Amber Schubert of Sergeant Bluff-Luton is the leader at 17.0 points per game.