Tatum Koenig drives against Durant. Norv Coblentz/For Your Prep Sports.City High
Coach: Bill McTaggart (19th season, 400-173)
Assistant coaches: Travis Dyer, Fred Riddle, Lynsey Barnard, Jan Grenko-Lehman, Jeff Miller.
Last year: 19-4
Returning starters: Ashley Joens, 5-11, Jr., G; Kenya Earl, 5-11, Sr., F; Sydney Schroder, 5-7, Sr., G.
Other returning letterwinners: Mikayla Lacy, 5-9, Sr., F; Christina Hora, 5-5, Jr., G; Madelynn Fontana, 5-8, Soph., F; Jaymesha Brackens, 5-8, Sr., F; Shevonna Norris, 5-6, Sr., G; Skye Spencer, 5-11, Jr., C.
Newcomers to watch: Paige Rocca, 5-6, Fr., G; Rose Nkumu, 5-7, Fr., G; Aubrey Joens, 5-8, Fr., G; Sam Greving, 5-10, Fr., C.
Headliner: Recent Iowa State commit Ashley Joens is ranked the 16th best junior in the country by ESPN after earning first team all-state honors during a sophomore season in which she averaged 19.3 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.
Keep an eye on: Senior forward Kenya Earl is a four-year contributor coming off her best season when she averaged 12.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
Circle the date: Dec. 9 vs. Cedar Falls. An early season matchup of preseason top five teams could end up determining the MVC Valley Division title as the fifth-ranked Tigers come to Iowa City to face fourth-ranked City High.
Outlook: Joens and Earl join senior guard Sydney Schroder as returning starters from last year’s City High team that went 19-4 and lost to Southeast Polk in the Regional title game.
The Little Hawks must replace Courtney Joens who is now playing at Illinois but should get a boost from a talented freshman class along with the return of juniors Christina Hora and Madelynn Fontana.
Coach: BJ Mayer (10th season, 283-113)
Assistant coaches: Brian Motley, Erika Mundt, Jesse Searls, Jeff Wieck, Julie Many.
Last year: 15-8, 9-4 MVC
Returning starters: Ali Tauchen, 6-0, Sr., F; Rachael Saunders, 5-8, Jr., G; Logan Cook, 6-1, Jr., F; Maddie Huinker, 5-8, Sr., G; Lauren Zacharias, 5-7, Soph., G; Emma Koch, 5-10, Soph., F.
Other returning letterwinners: Katie McGrane, 5-8, Sr., G; Cailyn Morgan, 5-9, Soph., G; Paige Beckner, 6-1, Jr., F.
Headliner: Creighton commit Rachael Saunders was a third-team all-state selection last season after leading West High in scoring at 9.7 points per game.
Keep an eye on: At 6-foot-1, junior Logan Cook is a versatile threat that can score from the post or the perimeter. Last season Cook averaged 9.0 points and led West High with 6.0 rebounds per game.
Circle the date: The first big test of the season for the eighth-ranked Women of Troy comes at home on Dec. 13 against cross-town rival City High.
Outlook: West High six players with starting experience and their stop seven scorers from a team that lost in overtime in a 5A regional final last season. Saunders, Cook and senior guard Maddie Huinker all return after averaging better than nine points per game last season.
Sophomore Cailyn Morgan (4.5 points), Lauren Zacharias (7.1 points) and Emma Koch (6.1 points) all return after strong freshman seasons while senior Ali Tauchen is back after suffering a season-ending knee injury last December.
Coach: Jeff Wallace (7th season, 120-30)
Assistant coaches: Matt Haas, Mark Besler, Mary Halvorson, Bryce Smeins.
Last year: 25-1, Class 2A state semifinals
Returning starters: Sarah Lehman, 5-10, Sr., F; Mary Crompton, 5-8, Jr., G; Greyson Dumont, 5-7, Jr., G.
Other returning letterwinners: Lauren Gaarde, 5-4, Jr., G; Katie Dunn, 6-0, Jr., F; Kennedy Wallace, 5-8, Soph., G; Alexa Lehman, 5-10, Jr., F; Megan Wick, 5-11, Jr. F.
Newcomers to watch: Alex Wiese, 6-0, Soph., F; Emma Corkery, 5-8, Sr., G; Maeve Dunne, 5-7, Soph., G; Katie Bracken, 5-8, Soph., F; Anna Martin, 5-11, Soph., F.
Headliner: Junior guard Mary Crompton led Regina in scoring at 16.3 points per game and shot 46 percent from 3-point range and 81 percent from the free throw line last year while earning first team all-state honors.
Keep an eye on: Sophomore Alex Wiese should have an immediate impact in the post in her first season after transferring from Tipton. The 6-foot-0 Wiese averaged 15.4 points and 12.7 rebounds per game last year for Tipton before a knee injury sidelined her for the final six games.
Circle the date: Feb. 4 vs. Cedar Rapids Kennedy. The Regals prepare for the postseason with a late regular season test against the Class 5A Cougars.
Outlook: Regina came up just shy of the first state title game appearance in program history last year, falling to state champion Unity Christian 53-45 in the 2A semifinals. The Regals return three starters and their top two scorers from last year’s semifinal team as they open the season ranked No. 1 in Class 2A.
Crompton returns after averaging 16.3 points per game along with senior Sarah Lehman (10.4 points) and junior Greyson Dumont (5.5 points).
Coach: Lisa Bishop (2nd season)
Assistant coaches: Mark Sovers, Logan Hjerleid, Tim Wheeler.
Last year: 14-10
Returning starters: Josie Durr, 5-9, Sr., G.
Other returning letterwinners: Alli Prybil, 5-3, Sr., G; Brianna Smith, 5-8, Jr., F; Bryce Hinkel, 5-9, Sr., C; Taylor Ryan, 5-3, Soph., G.
Newcomers to watch: Bryn Hanrahan, 5-5, Sr., G.
Headliner: Senior guard Josie Durr is just as valuable on defense (4.6 steals) as she is on offense (7.6 points and 2.2 assists) for the Spartans.
Keep an eye on: Senior Bryce Hinkel is primed for a breakthrough season after averaging 2.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per game off the bench last year.
Circle the date: Feb. 7 vs. Mount Vernon. The Spartans close the regular season against WAMAC rival and preseason sixth-ranked Mount Vernon.
Outlook: The Spartans return just one starter from last year’s team that fell to Mount Vernon in the 3A regional final but it is a good one in senior guard Josie Durr.
Solon will look for seniors Bryce Hinkel and Alli Prybil and junior Brianna Smith to step into bigger roles this season along with sophomore point guard Taylor Ryan.
Clear Creek Amana
Coach: P.J. Sweeney (3rd season)
Assistant coaches: Alex Schultejans, Nathan Elliot, Calie Sobaski
Last year: 8-14, 6-8 WAMAC
Returning starters: Be DeShaw, 5-3, Sr., G; Lauren Helle, 6-1, Sr., C; Abbi Kinnaird, 5-10, Sr., F; Claire Navara, 5-6, Sr., G; Erin Navara, 5-7, Sr., F.
Other returning letterwinners: Kelsey Lipkea, 5-6, Jr., G; Jordan Neely, 5-5, Soph., G; Andrea Roller, 5-8, Jr., F; Elizabeth Sweeney, 5-8, Jr., F.
Newcomers to watch: Lydia Banwart, 5-6, Soph. F; Meagan Harvey, 5-8, Fr., F; Karsyn Stratton, 5-7, Fr., G.
Headliner: Senior Erin Navara was a second team all-conference pick last season when she led the Clippers in scoring with 10.2 points per game and was second on the team with 5.1 rebounds per contest.
Keep an eye on: Senior Abbi Kinnaird earned honorable mention all-WAMAC honors last season, averaging 9.1 points and a team-high 5.2 rebounds per game.
Circle the date: Dec. 9 vs. Center Point-Urbana. The Clippers get a chance to see how they stack up against one of the best in the conference when they host the fifth-ranked Stormin’ Pointers.
Outlook: After winning 13 games two seasons ago in head coach P.J. Sweeney the Clippers finished 8-14 a year ago but return five players with starting experience and 74 percent of it its scoring output from a year ago.
Five of the top six scorers from last year and four of the top rebounders return led by Erin and Claire Navara, Abbi Kinnaird and Lauren Helle. Clear Creek Amana should get a boost from freshman Karsyn Stratton and Meagan Harvey.
Coach: Jarod Tylee (7th season, 83-34)
Assistant coaches: Rick Sexton, Ted Miller, Tony Luneckas
Last year: 21-4, Class 2A state quarterfinals
Returning starters: Haley Mullinnix, 5-4, Sr., G; Tatum Koenig, 5-6, Jr., G.
Other returning letterwinners: Paige Miller, 5-6, Sr., G; Allie Waterman, 5-5, Sr., G; Claire Bridges, 5-9, Sr., F; Abbey Fryauf, 5-11, Soph., C; Riley Vaughan, 5-4, Soph., G; Courtney Jarrett, 5-5, Soph., G.
Newcomers to watch: Abby Knoop, 5-11, Sr., F; Bridget Buol, 5-11, Jr., F; Maddie Luneckas, 5-9, Jr., F.
Headliner: An explosive playmaker, junior guard Tatum Koenig will look to build on a sophomore season in which she averaged 12.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists a game.
Keep an eye on: A three-year starter, Haley Mullinnix is among the most battled tested guards in the RVC and should be in for a big season after averaging 9.1 points and 2.9 assists per game last year.
Circle the date: Jan. 31. vs. Regina. Both of last year’s meetings with the Regals came down the final seconds. Look for another close contest when the two rivals hook up in West Branch.
Outlook: The Bears lost three starters and four players from their regular rotation from last year’s team that reached the Class 2A state tournament and won 21 games.
West Branch does return firepower in the back court in the form of seniors Haley Mullinnix and Paige Miller and junior Tatum Koenig. Koenig and Mullinnix ranked second and third respective in scoring for West Branch last season.