Sometimes a post-season path is smooth. Sometimes this is not the case.
For West Branch, this is not the case.
Sometimes when a bump does occur, you survive it and land on your feet. Sometimes you don’t.
The western branch did.
“When you have a playoff run you’re going to get one sometimes,” Bears coach Jarod Tylee said, referring to his team’s 41-37 breakout act against Pella Christian in the half. regional class 2A women’s basketball finals. “You hope he’s a character builder, and you hope he prepares you for difficult situations that are yet to come.”
Who knows? Another could arrive on Wednesday. It was then that the third-ranked Bears (19-1) faced rival Iowa City Regina (12-7) in a 2A regional final in Williamsburg. Departure is at 7 p.m.
This is one of six home and away games that involve teams from the region. Also in 2A, No.1 Maquoketa Valley (22-0) faces Dyersville Beckman (13-10) in Manchester, and No.5 North Linn (20-2) – the reigning state champion – meets the n ° 6 Bellevue (20-1) at Cascade.
In 1A, No.6 Montezuma (21-1) makes his fourth consecutive appearance against No.12 Collins-Maxwell (22-1) in Pleasantville, No.8 Springville (20-4) faces No.10 Burlington Notre Dame (19-1) at Muscatine, and Turkey Valley (19-5) take on No.3 Saint Ansgar (21-1) at New Hampton.
The West Branch swept Regina in the regular season with verdicts of 52-36, 63-45, but Tylee and Regina coach Mary Halvorson felt the two games were closer than the scores reflected.
“We weren’t exactly neck and neck, but we were down 10 and nine by the end of the third quarter of both games,” said Halvorson. “We had a few mental failures and we didn’t keep up with the pace.”
Tylee said: “Both games were close for three and a half quarters before we started to walk away. We did a few shots when we needed it.
The Bears are a veteran crew, with four senior starters, led by Bradley University entry Sasha Koenig. But the Regals won’t exactly try to slow things down.
“Last year we wanted to play a game on the half court,” said Halvorson. “Now it’s pushing, pushing, pushing. We have athletes.
The three heavyweights of the West Division of the Tri-Rivers Conference face some intriguing tests:
• Maquoketa Valley faces a dangerous Beckman team who have already knocked out two ranked opponents.
• North Linn meets Bellevue in the state’s only game between two top-eight teams.
• Playing in his seventh consecutive regional final, Springville faces a tough draw on the rise of Notre Dame.
“They have a lot of shooters, and if they hit the 3 they’re going to be really dangerous,” Springville coach Christina Zaruba said. “Otherwise, the rebound is going to be crucial.
“If we can handle their pressure and get into our attack, we’ll be fine. We haven’t had a game in which our five children are hitting at the same time. We could definitely use it (Wednesday).
Wednesday’s regional class 2A finals
REGION 1: No. 1 Maquoketa Valley (22-0) vs. Dyersville Beckman (13-10)
Time and place: 7 p.m., in Manchester
Overview: Victories over Cascade ranked teams and Sumner-Fredericksburg have Beckman set to make his first official appearance in school history, but an even greater challenge awaits him. Maquoketa Valley is allowing 27.5 points per game, the second-lowest rate in Class 2A, and no one has scored more than 41 against the Wildcats. The senior trio of Ella Imler, Taya Tucker and Emerson Whittenbaugh counts for 40.6 points per competition. Maquoketa Valley is the West Division champion of the Tri-Rivers Conference. Beckman has won seven straight games and has been bolstered by a Wamac conference schedule of mostly 4A and 3A opponents. Senior Kennedy Arens leads the Blazers with 15.4 points per game and junior Lauren Osterhaus adds 10.5.
BC Moore computer projection: Maquoketa Valley by 12
REGION 3: West Branch # 3 (19-1) vs. Iowa City Regina (12-7)
Time and place: 7 p.m., in Williamsburg
Overview: West Branch had 16 straight wins, but came close to collapsing in the regional semifinals, where the Bears had to scratch and escape 41-37 against Pella Christian. The Bears have two wins (52-36 and 63-45) against Regina this year and need one more to complete their second straight trip. Senior Sasha Koenig, who will join older sister Tatum at Bradley University next year, averages 21.0 points and 5.4 assists, while junior Delaynie Luneckas – the only non-senior starter – adds 11 , 7 points and 9.6 rebounds. Regina won two road games, against Mediapolis and Van Buren County, to get there. Senior Annie Gahan (15.5 points per game) and sophomore Grace Gaarde (9.6) are the Regals’ best weapons.
BC Moore computer projection: West branch by 19
REGION 4: No. 5 North Linn (20-2) vs. No. 6 Bellevue (20-1)
Time and place: 7 p.m., at Cascade
Overview: This is the state’s only regional final, in any category, in which two top-eight teams compete against each other. Reigning 2A State Champion North Linn overcame the loss of four senior starters to compile his 11th consecutive season of more than 20 wins. Both Lynx losses came at the hands of 2A-ranked Maquoketa Valley in action from the West Division of the Tri-Rivers Conference. North Linn’s scoring average of 63.8 points per game ranks second in 2A (behind Nodaway Valley), and that’s a proposition across the board, with five players averaging at least 8, 7 points per game, led by freshman Kamryn Kurt (13.0 ppg) and Ellie Ware senior (12.2 ppg, 9.8 rpg). River Valley Conference North Division champion Bellevue is seeking his first appearance in the state since 2012 behind senior Teresa Paulsen (12.1 points per game, 7.7 strokes per game).
BC Moore computer projection: North Linn by 3
Region 2: No. 9 Denver (18-4) vs. No. 8 Grundy Center (18-3), in Waterloo West
Region 5: Avoca AHSTW (17-6) vs. No. 4 Nodaway Valley (22-0), at Atlantic
Region 6: No. 14 West Hancock (19-5) vs. No. 2 Dike-New Hartford (22-0), at Hampton
Region 7: Rock Valley (15-9) vs. Emmetsburg (15-8), at Hartley
Region 8: No. 15 Underwood (19-3) vs. No. 10 Treynor (19-4), at Council Bluffs Lewis Central
Wednesday’s Class 1A regional finals
REGION 3: Turkey Valley (19-5) vs. No. 3 Saint Ansgar (21-1)
Time and place: 7 p.m., at New Hampton
Overview: Saint Ansgar hosted four starters from last year’s 1A semi-final squad, and the Saints were nearly perfect. Their only loss was a pointer to Osage in mid-January, and nine straight wins followed. Senior Hali Anderson has her fingerprints on the team’s success, averaging 14.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 5.3 steals per game. Saint Ansgar’s 32.6-point defensive rate is the fourth-best in 1A. Turkey Valley is on a nine-game winning streak and is 10-0 against the 1A competition this season. Among the Trojans’ victories is a decision to double overtime against Waukon, who has already qualified for the State in Class 3A. Senior Ali Hoffert leads the way with 19.0 points and 8.2 rebounds, shooting 79.7 percent from the free throw line.
BC Moore computer projection: Saint Ansgar by 11
REGION 5: 8 Springville (20-4) vs. 10 Burlington Notre Dame (19-1)
Time and place: 7 p.m., in Muscatine
Overview: Springville is making its seventh consecutive regional final appearance, and this recent race consists of five state tournament berths and three championships. The Orioles’ four losses came against the 2A powers of Maquoketa Valley and North Linn. Junior Lauren Wilson is a versatile force, averaging 17.3 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.7 blocks per game. His classmate Morgan Nachazel adds 12.6 points per contest. Notre Dame is on an 18-game winning tour, and the Nikes avenged an early 36-point loss to 3A State qualifier West Burlington, 75-53. They beat No.9 Winfield-Mount Union, 61-33, in the regional semifinals and averaged 65.9 points per game, led by junior Megan Harrell (15.9 points per game), senior Karli Artman (13.2 points per game) and junior Katy Stephens (11.5). the latter two were on the Notre Dame State Championship volleyball team in November.
BC Moore computer projection: Burlington Notre Dame by 10
REGION 6: Montezuma # 6 (21-1) vs. Collins-Maxwell No.12 (22-1)
Time and place: 7 p.m., in Pleasantville
Overview: Montezuma has enjoyed great success during Janel Burgess’ four years as coach of his alma mater. The Bravettes are 96-9 under Burgess and continue their fourth straight trip to a state tournament. The long-distance ability of sisters Elise Boulton (senior) and Mia Boulton (sophomore) has been a strength this season. Montezuma is averaging 9.4 to 3 points per game, and the Boultons combine to shoot from about 40 percent from deep. Elise is averaging 16.9 points per game and three more – Mia, junior Shanae Wetering and senior Dylan Holland – join her as double-digit goalscorers. The Bravettes have won 21 straight games. After sharing regular season games with Baxter in the regular season, Collins-Maxwell won a regional rubber semi-final game and is one win away from his first appearance in the state. Senior Reagan Franzen has 19.2 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. Both teams are in the top three 1A on defensive average – Collins-Maxwell at 28.0 points per game, Montezuma at 30.3.
BC Moore computer projection: Montezuma by 11
Region 1: Conrad BCLUW (15-9) vs. No. 1 Algona Garrigan (22-1), at Mason City
Region 2: Anita CAM (17-6) vs N ° 2 Newell-Fonda (22-1), in Jefferson
Region 4: Council Bluffs St. Albert (10-12) v. No. 7 Kingsley-Pierson (22-1), at Denison
Region 7: Westwood (19-4) vs. Marcus MMCRU (20-2), at Sioux City West
Region 8: Lenox n ° 11 (20-3) against Exira-EHK n ° 4 (22-0), at Winterset
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Western Branch girls’ basketball coach Jarod Tylee yells at his players during last year’s state tournament. The Bears face Iowa City Regina in a Class 2A regional final on Wednesday in Williamsburg. (Rebecca F. Miller / The Gazette)