Some of it was adrenalin. A lot of it was preparation.
Brian Wheatley spent late Friday night (and early Saturday morning) in college-student mode, cramming for an exam.
A regional-final exam.
“I was up until 2 in the morning,” said Wheatley, girls’ basketball coach at North Linn High School. “We’re playing another new team of which we’re not familiar.”
North Linn (22-3) faces West Marshall (19-5) in a Class 2A regional final at 7 p.m. Monday at Meskwaki Settlement School, near Tama.
It’s one of four regional finals Monday involving area teams. Monticello (21-3) takes on No. 15 Pella Christian (20-3) in another 2A game, at Marengo.
In Class 1A, No. 13 North Tama (20-4) battles Woodward-Granger (18-6) at LeGrand while Turkey Valley (15-9) battles No. 2 North Butler (20-1) at Clarksville.
Regional finals are Tuesday in 3A and 4A. All winners advance to the state tournament next week at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines.
Forgive Wheatley for a short, sleep-deprived night Friday. The Lynx rallied from a 15-point deficit to get past Grundy Center, 62-54. He got home and started to formulate a game plan for the Trojans.
“We made a deal with our boys’ basketball coaches. They scout for us and we scout for them,” Wheatley said. “It has worked out so far; both of our teams are still playing.”
The girls are still playing because they scored 11 straight points late in the second quarter to make the deficit manageable at halftime. Freshman Nicole Miller scored 10 of her game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter as the Lynx pulled away.
North Linn avoided a regional fray that involved the other Tri-Rivers Conference heavyweights. Monticello emerged from that Friday by knocking off No. 9 Maquoketa Valley, 59-51.
Like the Lynx, the Panthers have a short amount of time to prepare for an unfamiliar foe.
“It’s not easy,” said Monticello Coach Donnie Kremer. “The girls have jobs and they have plans. We just (had) to work around it (Saturday and Sunday).”
Kremer planned to use Saturday as a recovery day — both physically and emotionally — after the draining win at Delhi, then hit it harder Sunday in preparation for Pella Christian.
“At this point, it’s a chess match,” he said. “They’re going to do their thing. We’re going to do ours. Who’s going to counter what?”
MONDAY’S CLASS 2A REGIONAL FINALS
Monticello vs. Pella Christian (Region 5)
Time and site: 7 p.m., at Marengo
Records and rankings: Monticello (21-3) is unranked; Pella Christian (20-3) is No. 15.
Notable: Both of these teams reached the state tournament last year, with Monticello advancing to the semifinal round. The Panthers have won 10 straight games since the return of Brooke Stahlberg, who missed 10 games midseason with a broken wrist. Stahlberg scored 20 points in the Panthers’ 59-51 regional-semifinal win over Maquoketa Valley, and leads her team at 11.2 points per game. Monticello made 13 of 21 free throws in the fourth quarter to pull away. Pella Christian defeated Iowa City Regina, 63-49, in the regional semis after routs in the first two rounds. Jasmin Schelhaas leads the Eagles at 13.1 points per game. PC averages 21 3-point attempts per game and shoots 37 percent from long distance.
North Linn vs. West Marshall (Region 6)
Time and site: 7 p.m., at Tama (Meskwaki H.S.)
Records and rankings: Both teams are unranked. North Linn is 22-3; West Marshall is 19-5.
Notable: After rallying from a 15-point second-quarter deficit to beat Grundy Center 62-54 in Friday’s regional semifinal, North Linn pursues its second trip to the state tournament — and its first since 1997. Freshman Nicole Miller led the comeback, scoring 26 points. Amanda Aberle leads the Lynx at 13.8 points per game, Miller adds 12.2. West Marshall has rolled through regionals thus far, winning its three postseason games by 35, 42 and 19. Two of West Marshall’s losses have come at the hands of 3A top-10 South Tama, and the other three came by a combined five points. The Trojans convincingly avenged two of those losses in their regional run. McKenzie Shipley averages 15.6 points and 4.7 assists per game.
Region 1: Carroll Kuemper vs. Western Christian (at Cherokee)
Region 2: Estherville-Lincoln Central vs. Roland-Story (at Algona)
Region 3: Sumner-Fredericksburg vs. West Hancock (at Mason City)
Region 4: Central Lee vs. Bellevue (at Iowa City Regina)
Region 7: Panorama vs. IKM-Manning (at Guthrie Center)
Region 8: Lawton-Bronson vs. Ida Grove OA-BCIG (at Mapleton)
MONDAY’S CLASS 1A REGIONAL FINALS
Turkey Valley vs. North Butler (Region 3)
Time and site: 7 p.m., at Clarksville
Records and rankings: Turkey Valley (15-9) is unranked; North Butler (20-1) is No. 2.
Notable: Turkey Valley will need to pull a major upset to enter its first state tournament. North Butler has been a powerhouse since its inception, and the Bearcats have another fine team. They have won 20 in a row since dropping their season-opener, and nobody has played them close in tournament play. Cassidy Bangasser leads a balanced lineup, averaging 12.6 points per game. Turkey Valley has gotten through three competitive postseason games, including a 54-48 regional-semifinal win over Tripoli. Tess Kuennen leads the Trojans at 11.2 points per game; Allie Njus adds 10.5.
North Tama vs. Woodward-Granger (Region 4)
Time and site: 7 p.m., at LeGrand
Records and rankings: North Tama (20-4) is ranked 13th; Woodward-Granger (18-6) is unranked.
Notable: After cruising to three easy wins on its home court, North Tama is a step away from its first state-tournament appearance. Kailey Kladivo is the Redhawks’ leader; she averages 17.1 points and 13.2 rebounds per game. Allison Zobel adds 12 points and 5 assists per game. Woodward-Granger has faced a more challenging road, winning their first three games by 10, eight and three. The most recent win was a 41-38 thriller against Belle Plaine. Kladivo will be matched up in the paint with Woodward-Granger’s Maija Jantti (14.0 points, 8.7 rebounds per game).
Region 1: Central Lyon vs. LeMars Gehlen (at Orange City)
Region 2: Newell-Fonda vs. West Sioux (at Sioux City North)
Region 5: Clinton Prince of Peace vs. North Mahaska (at Solon)
Region 6: Burlington Notre Dame vs. Lynnville-Sully (at Ottumwa)
Region 7: Martensdale-St. Marys vs. Bedford (at Greenfield)
Region 8: Corning vs. Ar-We-Va (at Underwood)
Brian Wheatley, class 1A, class 2A, Donnie Kremer, girls basketball, Monticello, Nicole Miller, north butler, North Linn, North Tama, Pella Christian, regional finals, Turkey Valley, West Marshall, Woodward-Granger