Early Thoughts and Observations on the Girls Basketball Postseason Pairings
Your Prep Sports
The girls basketball postseason is almost here.
Area teams, and everyone else in the state, got their first look at postseason paths on Tuesday with the release of the regional pairings for the three smallest classes in the state.
The playoff picture will come into full focus a week from Wednesday with the release of regional pairings for Classes 4A and 5A.
In the meantime, we take a look at what stood out for Your Prep Sports area teams with the initial postseason release on Tuesday as all teams gear up for a run at the 2023 state tournament which will be held February 27 – March 4 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Home Sweet Home for Solon
Solon has been a top-five team since early in the season and has assembled a sparkling resume so the it has long been expected that the Spartans would have home court advantage throughout regional play.
That expectation became reality on Tuesday with second-ranked Solon (17-2) earning the top seed in Class 3A, Region 2 meaning the Spartans won’t have to leave Solon to secure their first state tournament berth since 2006.
The seed is well deserved for Solon which has only lost to 4A top-10 opponents Clear Creek Amana and North Polk and has eight wins over currently ranked opponents.
The road to Wells Fargo Arena might lead straight through Solon but it certainly is not with obstacles.
Solon opens postseason play against Fairfield (2-14) on February 11 and would host the winner of Central Lee (8-10) or Davis County (8-12) on Feb 15 in the semifinals.
No. 12 Mount Vernon (12-6) and Davenport Assumption (11-7) are the likely finals opponent.
Solon won 56-50 at Mount Vernon on January 17 and hosts the Mustangs on Friday.
Davenport Assumption (10-7) is seeking a fourth consecutive state tournament berth and is rounding into form at the right time.
The Knights have won 10 of their last 12 following a 1-5 start to the season with the lone losses during that stretch coming to 5A No. 1 Pleasant Valley and 5A No. 5 Davenport North.
Davenport Assumption has wins over ranked 4A opponents Central DeWitt and North Scott during its recent 9-2 stretch and is no stranger to late-season surges.
A seven-win Assumption team defeated Solon in the 2021 regional final.
A Familiar Road For Regina
Like Solon, Regina did the work early in the season to put itself in a strong position come postseason time and to no surprise earned a top seed in Class 2A.
Sixth-ranked Regina (16-4) is seeking a second consecutive state tournament appearance and snagged the top spot in Class 2A, Region 6 and will host the winner of an opening-round contest between Durant (5-12) and Pekin (3-17) on February 14.
There is certainly some familiarity in the Region 6 draw for Regina.
Regina could face RVC South Rivals in each of its first two postseason games if Durant wins against Pekin and Wilton (7-10) defeats Columbus (7-12) in the quarterfinals.
The likely regional final opponent is no stranger for Regina either.
No. 12 Mediapolis (17-3) is the second seed but will have to get past a potential third meeting with West Burlington who it has split a pair of games with this season.
Regina has defeated Mediapolis in each of the past two postseasons downing the Bulldogs 63-51 in the regional final last season.
Bears Head North
West Branch (3-15) will make a short trip north for its postseason opener travelling to Lisbon (10-9) for a 2A, Region 1 opener on February 11.
If the Bears keep their season alive they will head even further north for their next contest.
With a win over Lisbon the Bears would travel to second-seeded East Buchanan (13-6) in the quarterfinals.
In one of the more interesting Regional pairings West Branch landed in the bottom half of the Region 1 bracket with RVC North Division teams Bellevue and Northeast along with East Buchanan.
Top-ranked and defending state champion Dike-New Hartford (18-0) is the top seed in Region 1 and joins Waterloo Columbus, Wapsie Valley, Alburnett and Jesup in the top half of the bracket.
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