Your Prep Sports
After Class 3A locked in its state tournament field on Saturday there are 16 more state tournament spots up for grabs on Tuesday evening.
Classes 4A and 5A will finalize their state tournament fields on Tuesday with eight regional title games schedule in each class.
By Tuesday the fields for the 2023 state tournament that begins on February 27 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines will be set for the largest three classes.
Here is a look at the Class 5A regional finals scheduled for Tuesday that feature Your Prep Sports area teams.
Class 5A, Region 4
No. 12 West High (16-6) at No. 4 West Des Moines Dowling (18-4)
When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Where: West Des Moines Dowling High School
Statistical leaders: West High – Meena Tate, 6-0, Sr., 14.8 points, 3.5 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 1.3 steals. Anna Prouty, 6-0, Sr., 9.9 points, 9.1 rebounds.
West Des Moines Dowling – Ava Zediker, 5-10, Soph., 19.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists. Ellie Muller, 6-1, Fr., 8.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.3 blocks.
About the Trojans: West High is seeking its second state tournament trip in the past three seasons and the first under first-year head coach Nate Frese after former coach BJ Mayer led the Trojans to the state tournament seven times from 2011 to 2021.
The Trojans return to West Des Moines for a regional final for the second straight season after falling to West Des Moines Valley in the regional title game a year ago.
West High is appearing in the regional final for the ninth consecutive season and is 4-4 in its previous eighth regional championship games.
All four regional final losses during that stretch have come on the road against CIML teams and West High is 1-4 against CIML teams in regional finals during that stretch.
The Trojans have won three in a row and five of their last six after a 72-57 regional semifinal win over Des Moines Roosevelt.
All six losses for West High this season have come to top-11 ranked opponents that are playing regional final games on Tuesday.
Tate and Prouty lead the way for West High while freshman Grace Fincham is averaging 8.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game and had 15 points and five rebounds in the regional semifinal win.
About the Maroons: West Des Moines Dowling enters the regional final riding a 15-game winning streak and the hottest team in Class 5A.
During its current 15-game winning streak the Maroons have avenged all three regular season losses to in-state foes and have won six games over 5A ranked teams by an average of nearly 16 points per game.
West Des Moines Dowling is seeking its third consecutive state tournament appearance and sixth trip to state in the past seven seasons.
Zediker is the lone Dowling player averaging in double figures with her 19.8 points per game ranking eighth in Class 5A.
However, four other Maroons average between 6.4 and 8.5 points per game led by senior Julia Moore with 8.5 points.
Muller, a 6-foot-1 freshman, averages 8.1 points and ranks third in 5A with 2.5 blocked shots per game while sophomore Layla Trytten is averaging 6.9 points per game and senior Lauryn Frerichs is averaging 6.4 points per game.
Who to watch: West High – Senior guard Meena Tate is the catalyst for West High on both ends of the court and will need to be at her playmaking best on Tuesday.
The Dartmouth recruit is averaging a team-high 14.8 points and 3.5 assists per game and will be a key defensively for West High as they look to slow West Des Moines Dowling standout Ava Zediker.
West Des Moines Dowling – Sophomore guard Ava Zediker is one of the top young players in the state and makes everything go for the Maroons.
The 5-foot-10 Zediker is shooting 47 percent from the floor including 43 percent from 3-point range while leading the Maroons with 41 made 3-pointers.
Zediker is also one of the best in 5A at getting to the free throw line, attempting 137 free throws, while cashing in at a 86 percent clip at the line.
What to watch: Don’t expect a ton of points in this game between two of the better defensive teams in Class 5A.
Dowling is allowing just 42.9 points per game and has been especially stingy during its current 15-game winning streak in which it has held opponents to 37.8 points per contest.
After allowing more than 52 points in six of its first seven games this season Dowling hasn’t given up more than 49 points in any of its last 15 games holding opponents to 40 points or fewer eight times in that stretch.
West High is allowing just 49.3 points per game on the season and will need one of its better defensive efforts of the season on Tuesday.
The Breakdown: Two of the premier big school programs in the state meet in what should be one of the better regional finals of the night.
Both teams are familiar with the moment having played in regional finals last season.
The key for West High on Tuesday will be getting off to a strong start.
Playing a red-hot team on the road an early deficit isn’t a recipe for success for the Trojans who have gotten off to slow starts in wins over Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Cedar Rapids Washington and a loss to Liberty High to close the regular season.
West High seemed to remedy those early issues in its postseason opener against Des Moines Roosevelt leading 19-9 after one quarter and scoring 45 points in the opening half.
An similar start early against Dowling would go a long way for West High as it attempts to pull an upset.
Class 5A, Region 7
No. 10 Liberty High (14-7) at No. 7 Southeast Polk (14-7)
When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Where: Southeast Polk High School
Statistical leaders: Liberty High – Jasmine Barney, 5-8, Sr., 15.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.6 steals. Ava Meyer, 6-2, Sr., 5.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, .9 blocks.
Southeast Polk – Brooklin Dailey, 6-0, Sr., 14.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists. Alyssa Bartlett, 5-6, Soph., 10.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.2 steals.
About the Lightning: Liberty High was rolling down the back stretch of the regular season winning six of seven before a 26-point loss at Cedar Rapids Prairie in the regular season finale.
The Lightning put that loss behind them quickly, hitting 16 3-pointers and getting back on track with a 70-26 win over Ottumwa in the Region 7 semifinals.
Now comes the big one for the Lightning which are making their first ever appearance in a regional final.
It has been a steady climb for the Lightning which won their first postseason game a year ago and have shown this season they can compete with the best in 5A with wins over ranked opponents Linn-Mar and West High.
Barney is the only Liberty High player averaging double figures, scoring a team-high 15.8 points per game and makes it all go for the Lightning leading the team with 6.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game.
A key to the success this season has been increased offensive depth with six players averaging between 4.6 and 8.4 points per game.
Madeline Casey is averaging 8.4 points, senior Avery Gaudet is scoring 6.5 per game and Meyer 5.8 points per game.
About the Rams: One of the most consistently successful program in the state over the last decade plus Southeast Polk is seeking yet another state tournament appearance after missing out a year ago.
The Rams are seeking their 10th trip to state in last 13 years after winning the 5A title in 2013 and finishing runner-up two other times during that stretch. won title in 2013 runner-up twice
A state tournament trip this season would be the fourth in five seasons for the Rams which lost to Waterloo West in a regional final a year ago.
Southeast Polk opened the season 8-0 before dropping four straight games to West Des Moines Valley, Johnston, Ankeny Centennial and Waukee.
Since that four-game losing streak the Rams have won six of nine including a 79-49 win over Cedar Rapids Jefferson in the regional semifinals.
The Rams rely on offensive balance with six players scoring at least 6 points per game led by a trio of double-digit scorers.
Dailey leads the way with 14.5 points per game while Stella Charleston adds 13.2 points per game and Bartlett is scoring 10.1 points per game.
Charleston is a 42 percent 3-point shooter and had a game-high 28 points and was 8-of-14 from 3-point range in the semifinal win over Cedar Rapids Jefferson.
Who to watch: Liberty High – In order to reach the state tournament for the first time in program history the Lightning will need to get contributions from everyone but it all starts with senior point guard Jasmine Barney.
Barney is the top scorer for Liberty High at 15.8 points per game but it is everything else the Minnesota State recruit does that makes her play so vital to the team’s success.
Barney is the second leading rounder (6.3), leads in assists (2.6) and steals (2.6) and is a top-notch perimeter defender as well as an excellent ball hander and she’ll need to do all of those things well on Tuesday.
Southeast Polk – What Barney is for Liberty High, senior Brooklin Dailey is for Southeast Polk – a do everything senior that can make plays on both ends of the court.
A Drake recruit, Dailey is a four-year starter with more than 1,100 career points and one of the top playmakers in the state.
The senior is averaging 14.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game to go with 1.8 assists and nearly a steal per game.
Dailey had 19 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Liberty High earlier this season and had 24 points and six rebounds in the Rams regional semifinal win over Liberty High last season.
What to watch: The Region 7 title game is a rematch of a regular season game won by Southeast Polk 54-35 back on November 28 in North Liberty.
The one stat that stands out from that game? Rebounding.
Southeast Polk had a 44-25 rebounding edge in its regular season win over the Lightning that included 15 offensive rebounds.
It goes without saying that Liberty High will need to be better on the boards to get a road win in a regional final.
Liberty High outrebounded Ottumwa 36-27 in its regional semifinal win and had 17 offensive rebounds.
Much of the rebounding load will fall on seniors Ava Meyer (6.4 rebounds) and Kennedy Daugherty (5.9 rebounds) but it will need to be a team effort for the Lightning to keep Southeast Polk off the offensive glass and avoid giving up second chance opportunities to a team that is averaging less than 10 offensive rebounds per game.
The Breakdown: After playing each of the past two seasons these teams have history.
Southeast Polk has won each of the previous two meetings by an average of 17 points.
In the regular season loss to the Rams this season Liberty High shot 23 percent from the floor (11-of-47) and was 7-of-26 from 3-point range.
How does Liberty High reverse the outcome of a 54-35 loss in November?
Make more shots is the easy answer but short of being that simple the Lightning need to get more easy baskets.
All but four of the made field goals in the November loss were from 3-point range and Liberty High shot 41 triples in its semifinal win over Ottumwa.
The long ball will always be part of the offensive game plan for a Jamie Brandt coached team but look for Liberty High guards like Barney, Avery Gaudet and Janessa Mosley to try to get into the lane on Tuesday to create shot attempts or open looks for teammates.
That said, the 3-point shot is the great equalizer and Liberty High and Southeast Polk have both relied heavily on perimeter scoring this season.
Liberty High ranks second in 5A in 3-point attempts and Southeast Polk is fifth with the two teams combining for 1,084 3-point attempts and have made 352 3-pointers between them.