Well, hello there, stranger.
Despite their close proximity — just 4 miles separate the schools — it has been five years since Iowa City High and Iowa City West were placed in the same girls’ basketball regional.
The last time the Little Hawks and the Women of Troy actually played in regionals? How about 2005?
State-tournament berths are on the line Tuesday in classes 5A and 4A. Among the regional finals are four involving area teams.
City High (20-2) takes a No. 1 ranking and a 13-game winning streak into the showdown with No. 10 West (17-5), the reigning big-school champion.
“It should be fun,” said West Coach B.J. Mayer. “They’re No. 1, it’s for a shot at the state tournament, and it’s City-West.”
In the other area-related 5A game, Cedar Rapids Washington (16-6) faces No. 6 Waukee (17-5) at Ankeny. In 4A, No. 5 Cedar Rapids Xavier (13-9) plays Washington, Iowa (14-7) at Kennedy High School and No. 3 Benton Community (20-2) meets Fairfield (11-12) at Marengo.
All games start at 7 p.m.
City High is the fifth team to hold the No. 1 spot in 5A this season, and nobody in the class has fewer than two losses.
“It’s crazy. Everybody is beating up on everybody,” Mayer said. “There are a lot of good teams out there, and I feel that City High and us are two of them.”
The Little Hawks defeated West twice in the regular season. In the second encounter Feb. 4, West held a late lead before City escaped, 46-44.
WASHINGTON ALSO is trying to reverse a regular-season outcome. The Warriors fell to Waukee in a road game, 62-61, Jan. 26.
This one is a neutral site, sort of. Waukee will travel 20 minutes to reach Ankeny; Washington will have a two-hour haul.
“There’s not a lot we can do about it,” Washington Coach Frank Howell said. “We’re not happy about it, but we need to work it into our favor. We feel it’s disrespectful, but if they want us to play in Ankeny, or Mozambique, we’ll do that.”
Senior Abby Herb said, “It doesn’t matter where we play. We’re going to win, that’s all that matters.”
XAVIER WON three state championships in the past decade (2003, 2005, 2007) as a 3A school. In those cases, a challenging MVC schedule paid off when the Saints reached the postseason.
It’s the same scenario now, with Xavier a 4A school in the new five-class structure.
“If we play at the level and the pace in which the MVC forced us to play, it’s going to help us,” said Saints Coach Tom Lilly. “The question is going to be whether we can keep that momentum going.”
TUESDAY’S CLASS 5A REGIONAL FINALS
(All games, 7 p.m.)
No. 1 IOWA CITY HIGH (20-2) vs. No. 10 IOWA CITY WEST (17-5)
Where: Cedar Rapids Prairie
BC Moore computer projection: City High by 10.
Notable: It has been five years since these teams were placed in the same region, and 2005 marks the last time they collided in regional play. West won in the state quarterfinals last year, with the victory preserved when Ally Disterhoft blocked a last-second 3-pointer. West went on to win the 2012 4A championship. City High prevailed in both meetings this season — 65-52 on Dec. 21 at West, 46-44 on Feb. 4 at City. Disterhoft, an Iowa signee is the state’s leading scorer at 26 points per game. City High counters with the inside-outside duo of Haley Lorenzen (18.6 ppg) and Mickey Hansche (15.3 ppg). A junior, Lorenzen has committed to the University of Florida.
CEDAR RAPIDS WASHINGTON (16-6) vs. No. 6 WAUKEE (17-5)
BC Moore computer projection: Waukee by 2.
Notable: Waukee edged Washington by a point in the regular-season meeting Jan. 26, and Washington journeys back to Central Iowa for the rematch. Washington was extremely impressive in a 64-35 regional-semifinal victory over Linn-Mar on Saturday, jumping in front immediately and then shooting 10-of-12 in the third quarter to blow it wide open. Washington’s 63.5 points per game rank second in 5A (behind Sioux City West), and the team has three double-figure scorers — Dani Franklin (17.4 ppg), Abby Herb (14.0 and Aleena Hobbs (11.4). Waukee has become a regular at the state tournament; it is chasing its sixth straight state berth. Britney Boland leads the team at 14.3 points per game.
TUESDAY’S CLASS 4A REGIONAL FINALS
(All games, 7 p.m.)
No. 5 CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER (13-9) vs. WASHINGTON, Iowa (14-7)
Where: Cedar Rapids Kennedy
BC Moore computer projection: Xavier by 23.
Notable: Despite a pedestrian record, Xavier is a heavy favorite in this one based on its schedule. Eighteen of the Saints’ 22 games have come against 5A competition. This team conjures memories of the 2007 state-champion team, which went 12-9 in the regular season before catching fire in the postseason. The Saints don’t possess a big scorer — Ashley Stulken leads the way at 9.7 points per game — but rides balance (five others at 5.5 ppg or more) and defense. Washington is the champion of the Southeast Conference and is led by Lauren Kimball (8.8 ppg).
No. 3 BENTON COMMUNITY (20-2) vs. FAIRFIELD (11-12)
BC Moore computer projection: Benton by 29.
Notable: Benton is a step away from its third straight trip to state, and the Bobcats appear to be a prohibitive favorite to advance. UNI signee Madison Weekly leads the team at 18.8 points and about 5 steals per game. Freshman Alyssa Wiebel adds 12 points per contest. Fairfield has pulled a pair of postseason upsets, knocking off Mount Pleasant in the quarterfinals and taking down No. 10 Oskaloosa in the semis. Sidney Baumann paces the Trojans at 18.2 points per game.
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