Mike Sconsa gives his heart to his team. And he offers other internal organs to its success.
“If somebody would have told me that we would be 22-0, I would have literally given them my liver,” said Sconsa, the girls’ basketball coach at Cascade High School.
“It’s hard to put this season into words. I love — LOVE! — the demeanor of these kids. They’ve played harder than any team I’ve ever coached, because if they don’t play hard, they’re not good enough to win every night.”
Second-ranked Cascade begins its postseason march Tuesday, when it hosts North Cedar (10-12) in a Class 2A regional quarterfinal. Tipoff is 7 p.m.
North Cedar surprised Bellevue, 56-43, in a first-round game Saturday. Cascade earned a first-round bye, and Sconsa was in attendance for the Knights’ triumph.
“They played very well,” Sconsa said. “It’s not like we blew them out in the regular season. We can’t afford to look past them.”
The Cougars swept the Knights by scores of 46-40 and 54-35 on their way to the River Valley Conference North Division title. The RVC was a competitive league, one which Sconsa believes has his team well prepared.
“We had games in which we needed to execute late in the game. We had games in which we needed to come from behind, or to pull it out and stall, or make late free throws,” he said.
Cascade reached the 3A state semifinals last season.
Tonight’s best 2A matchup appears to be the one at Delhi, where No. 11 Maquoketa Valley (19-2) faces Clayton Ridge (17-5).
The Wildcats shared the Tri-Rivers Conference West Division title. Clayton Ridge has won 12 of its last 13 games, including a 51-46 first-round victory over Edgewood-Colesburg. The Eagles are led by a freshman, Savannah Domeyer, who averages 11.8 points and 3.4 blocks per game.
“They’re very athletic, have nice size and are quick,” said Maquoketa Valley Coach Scot Moenck.
There’s a lot of talk about a regional-semifinal rubber match Friday between the Wildcats and No. 5 North Linn (20-1), which plays Tuesday’s Jesup-Alburnett winner on Wednesday. But Moenck acknowledges that his team has plenty on its plate Tuesday.
“We won’t look ahead,” he said. “We can’t.”
Maquoketa Valley reached the 2A state semifinals last year, and with annual success, Moenck feels his team is underrated.
“It seems we always kind of fly under the radar for the first five or six weeks, then people recognize us,” he said. “We always seem to lose a lot to graduation, but good kids keep coming into the program, keep working hard. That’s a credit to the stability of our staff and our feeder program.”
Class 1A regionals also are Tuesday. No. 14 Midland is the area’s lone rated 1A team. The Eagles (15-6), champions of the Tri-Rivers East, host Don Bosco (9-13).
Cascade, Class 1A regional quarterfinals, Class 2A regional quarterfinals, Clayton Ridge, girls basketball, Maquoketa Valley, Midland, Mike Sconsa, North Cedar, North Linn, Savannah Domeyer, Scot Moenck