By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
At first glance Saturday’s matchup with Cedar Rapids Kennedy looked just like a regular non-conference contest for Regina.
Take a closer look and notice the timing for the meeting with the Class 5A Cougars was no accident for first-year Regina head coach Jeff Wallace.
Wallace wanted a game late in the season that would provide a challenge for his team heading into the postseason and the home game with the Cougars filled that.
Equally importantly, Wallace wanted the game to fall in a specific spot, at the end of a long week that would emulate the Monday-Thursday-Friday schedule of the Class 2A state tournament.
“That’s exactly what we did, we set this up to be like a state tournament week for us and we call it championship week,” Wallace said. “We are glad Kennedy was willing to play us and we wanted it in a spot where we were going to have three tough games.”
Top-ranked Regina doesn’t start postseason play until February 14 but the Regals conquered championship week.
Regina won three games by an average of better than 21 points in a span of five days to improve to 21-0 on the season.
“We call this week championship week because we played like we would play at the state tournament,” Regina senior Sarah Lehman said. “We were definitely looking forward to it and I think we played really well this week.”
The postseason preview stretch started with a road win against rival West Branch on Tuesday.
Regina closed the week with back-to-back wins in less than 24 hours.
The Regals posted a 16-point win at Camanche on Friday night and never trailed in a 76-57 win over Cedar Rapids Kennedy on Saturday afternoon.
“We had a tough rivalry game with West Branch, last night was a tough, long road game for us against a good team with a good big girl and we knew Kennedy was going to come in and compete really hard against us so we had to be ready for that,” Wallace said. “I was really happy with how our kids responded to the challenges this week that we threw at them.”
Regina will attempt to complete its second straight unbeaten regular season when it hosts Tipton on Tuesday.
The Regals open postseason play on February 14 at home against the winner of Alburnett and Tipton.
“This is a really mature team and they have been in a lot of big games and every time I throw challenges at them they respond,” Wallace said. “They’ve responded well so far and they are going to continue to be challenge and I think they’ll continue to respond.”
Finishing strong: Josie Durr only has a handful of games left in her basketball career but the Solon senior is making the most of them.
After scoring a season-low three points in a loss to Dyersville Beckman, Durr rattled off three consecutive 20 point games this week, capped by a 26-point effort in a win over Maquoketa on Friday.
Durr scored 28 in a loss at Maquoketa on Monday and had 23 points in a win at West Delaware on Tuesday.
The senior guard is averaging a team-high 17.1 points per game for Solon (8-12).
Still Unbeaten: Entering the final week of the regular season the list of undefeated teams is down to six.
Regina (21-0) is still on the shrinking list of unbeatens that features three teams from Class 2A.
Central Decatur (20-0) and Treynor (20-0) join Regina as the unbeaten teams in 2A.
The other three unbeaten teams all come from different classes Indianola (5A), Sioux Center (3A) and Janesville (1A).
Rankings update: There was another shake up in the Class 5A top five in the latest rankings released by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union on Thursday.
Indianola and West Des Moines Valley remained first and second in Class 5A while Cedar Falls climbed to third followed by West High and City High.
Regina remained number one in Class 2A as all five top-ranked teams held their spots.
Other number one ranked teams include Marion (4A), Sioux Center (3A) and Springville (1A).
Top performances: Solon senior Josie Durr had 28 points, eight rebounds, seven steals and five assists in a 69-67 loss to Maquoketa.
Regina sophomore Alex Wiese had 31 points and 15 rebounds in a 68-39 win over West Branch.
Clear Creek Amana senior Claira Navara made seven 3-pointers and had 27 points in a 70-34 win over Independence.
City High senior Kenya Earl had 19 points, five rebounds and three steals in a 74-53 win over Moline.
West Branch senior Haley Mullinnix had 15 points, six steals and four assists in a 70-20 win over West Liberty.