Girls Tournament Preview

The 2018 Girl’s High School State Basketball Tournament begins Monday (February 26th) at Wells Fargo Arena in downtown Des Moines.  The Central Iowa Sports Network will carry all the quarterfinal through semifinal games live online at www.CISN.TV for free.

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union is flipping the script this year, starting the tournament with the teams from the largest schools in Class 5A. The past tournaments had started with the smallest schools in Class 1A and moved through 2A, 3A, 4A. This year the 1A schools will be the last to take the floor for their quarterfinals on Wednesday.

The 5A teams begin quarterfinal round action Monday at 10 a.m. If the 5A field looks familiar to you, you are not seeing things as the 8 teams which qualified last year are back once again. It is the first time there’s been an 8-team repeat at the tournament since the IGHSAU created the 5A class in 2013. (Would that be called and Octo-double-double?)

One of the biggest surprises to make the tourney field based on their record is defending champion West Des Moines Valley.  The Tigers made it in with a 13-10 record, after entering last year’s tourney at 21-2. They were able to overcome the loss of some key seniors and injuries to get a chance to defend the title.

The top seed in 5A is Iowa City High at 23-0. Iowa City came into last year’s tourney with just one loss but was knocked out in the quarterfinal round by Cedar Falls, which ended up finishing second to Valley.  The Little Hawks face the defending champs in the quarterfinal.

Here’s the rundown of the 5A tourney:
#4 Johnston (20-3) vs. #5 Waukee (19-4)   10 a.m.        
#1 Iowa City High (23-0) vs. #8 WDM Valley (13-10) 11:45 a.m.
#3 Dowling Catholic (20-3) vs. #6 Iowa City West (16-7)
#2 Cedar Falls (22-1) vs. #7 Indianola (20-3)

The opening round games in Class 4A fill out the Monday tournament schedule.  Half the teams that qualified last year are back again, but that does not include the 2017 champion, North Scott, so there won’t be a repeat.  Center Point-Urbana is new to the 4A tourney this year after making it to the semifinals in 3A last season.

Runner-up Marion comes in as the top seed with a perfect 23-0 record. They had just two seniors on the team that lost in overtime in last year’s title game.  They face Fairfield which is making its first trip to the state tournament in 28 seasons. Lewis Central is the only other teams in 4A with an unblemished record at 22-0.

The other teams which are new to the 4A field this year along with Fairfield and  Center Point-Urbana are Mason City and Le Mars.

Here’s the full 4A schedule:

#4 Center Point-Urbana (21-3 vs. #5 Boone (22-1) 5 p.m. Monday
#1 Marion (23-0) vs. #8 Fairfield (19-4) 6:45 p.m. Monday
#3 Grinnell (21-2) vs. #6 Mason City (14-9)  8:30 Monday
#2 Lewis Central (22-0) vs. #7 Le Mars (17-6) 10 a.m. Tuesday