Girls Basketball Notebook: Iowa City a Hoops Hotbed
Regina junior Mary Crompton shoots against Benton. Jeff Yoder/For Your Prep Sports
By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Jeff Wallace could see it coming.
Throughout the summer basketball circuit Wallace, who is in his second stint as the head coach at Regina, got a first-hand look at some of the top players in Iowa City.
After watching players from City High, West High and his own Regina roster perform during the summer Wallace had an idea the type off success those three teams could be in for this season.
One month into the season, the early assessment from Wallace has been spot on.
Iowa City has become the hotspot in the state for girls basketball with all three Iowa City squad ranked in the top three in their respective classes and combining for a 23-1 record.
The one loss was a one-point setback for West High against City High.
“I’ve seen a lot of the girls from City High and West High play all summer and coached some of them in the summer so I’m not surprised that all three teams in the city are having this kind of success. They are talented kids and kids that want to get better so I knew all three teams would have success.”
Wallace’s Regina quad is unbeaten at 8-0 and has spent the entire season atop the Class 2A rankings.
City High also completed its pre-holiday schedule 8-0 and is one of only two unbeaten teams in Class 5A.
The Little Hawks are ranked second in 5A, one spot in front of West High (7-1) which is perfect outside of a 74-73 overtime loss to City High.
“Obviously, I’d like to be 8-0 but I think in our loss we learned a lot about ourselves,” West High coach BJ Mayer said. “As long as we can keep learning from those lessons good things are to come from our team.”
The Iowa City haven’t just won this season, they’ve dominated which suggests the early season success isn’t likely to fade in January or later.
Regina has yet to play a game decided by less than 20 points and has an average margin of victory of 34.
“I feel really good about how we are playing but at the same time I think it’s scary how much better we can play,” Wallace said. “We still have some things we can work on but you don’t want to be playing your best basketball in December and I don’t think we are even close to playing our best basketball.”
West High has won its seven games by just more than 20 points while the eight wins for City High have come by an average of just under 20 points.
The Little Hawks’ resume includes a 22-point win over fifth-ranked Cedar Falls and an eight-point road win at No. 12 Linn-Mar.
West High will be tested in January with six of its first nine games coming against ranked teams.
“I really like our team,” Mayer said. “I think in the month that we have had before the holidays I think we have improved a lot. We are still trying to figure out a few things but I’m really pleased with where we are at.”
Scoring Leaders: City High junior Ashley Joens enters the holiday break the top scorer in the Your Prep Sports area averaging 20.5 points per game.
Joens has scored 27 points or more in four of her last five games including back-to-back 27-point performances.
Regina junior Mary Crompton and West Branch junior Tatum Koenig are both averaging 19.5 points per game while West High junior Logan Cook is averaging 18.4 per game.
Rankings Update: City High, West High and Regina all held their spots in the final girls basketball rankings of the year released by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.
City High remained second and West High third behind top-ranked Indianola as the top five in Class 5A went unchanged.
Regina stayed at number one in Class 2A as the top 10 spots in 2A stayed the same.
Other top-ranked teams include Pella (4A), Pocahontas Area (3A) and Springville (1A).
Top performances: Regina senior Sarah Lehman had 23 points, seven rebounds and five steals in a 71-38 win over Benton Community.
Clear Creek Amana freshman Karsyn Stratton had 21 points and eight rebounds in a 71-62 loss to South Tama.
West Branch junior Tatum Koenig had 19 points, 10 rebounds and nine steals in a 60-57 loss to Mid-Prairie.
City High junior Ashley Joens had 27 points in a 65-42 win over Cedar Rapids Jefferson.
West High sophomore Emma Koch had 15 points and five rebounds in a 70-39 win over Cedar Rapids Prairie.