DES MOINES — Joel Oswald had good news at his fingertips.
Weather stations indicated that the brunt of Winter Storm Rocky appeared to be headed well south of Des Moines.
“We were prepared to bring teams in early,” said Oswald, the assistant director of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. “It looks like we’re going to dodge a bullet.”
Only 1-2 inches of snow are forecast for Des Moines for Tuesday. More accumulation is expected in southeast Iowa, with the center of the storm in Missouri.
Oswald said that Mid-Prairie was granted a stipend to bring its team to Des Moines tonight. The Golden Hawks face MOC-Floyd Valley in a Class 3A quarterfinal at 3:15 Tuesday afternoon.
“If teams need to get here early, we’re going to help them do it,” he said. “I hate to do it, but we can play without spectators. We can’t play without teams.
“With seven games a day and Wells Fargo unavailable Sunday, we have to stay on schedule.”
The last time a major winter storm affected the tournament was 1998, when Veterans Auditorium was virtually empty for most of Monday’s action. Teams were brought to Des Moines two days in advance that year.
In 1959, teams and fans were stuck in Des Moines due to a Saturday-night blizzard. Thousands spent the night at Vets as the night evolved into a postgame sock-hop.
Emotional season, emotional exit
There will be no Hollywood ending for Ar-We-Va.
The Rockets rallied from a 16-point deficit, but lost in overtime to Bellevue Marquette, 65-57, in a Class 1A quarterfinal.
Coach Davey Kock, who guided the Rockets to state-tournament appearances in 2011 and 2012, died in September of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare degenerative brain disorder characterized by sudden development of rapidly progressive neurological and neuromuscular symptoms.
He was 53.
“He was watching us today, that’s for sure,” said junior Paige Danner, who scored 22 points. “This was still his team. He was with us.”
Assistant Larry Siebert was elevated to the head position and led the team back to Des Moines.
The Rockets wore memorial patches (in the shape of a basketball, with COACH K inscribled on them).
Despite the loss, “I’m pretty sure Coach is proud of us right now,” said senior Lexie Vande Hoef.
Last dance for Villisca
Villisca made its first tournament appearance since 1968, and its final one.
The school will merge next year with Corning to form Southwest Valley High School.
The Bluejays held their own against No. 2 Newell-Fonda for a quarter before the bottom dropped out. Newell-Fonda ended the first half with a 31-4 run and ran away, 75-28.
Villisca committed 31 turnovers.