(KMAland) – The opening night of the tournament trail is in the books. The trail takes a night off tonight, but we don’t take days off from writing about it. Well, other than Saturdays and Sundays.
Today, a look back at last night, a farewell to the teams we lost and a ranking and rundown of Saturday’s tournament trail action.
DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS
-I had the East Mills 43-29 win over Southwest Valley, and I came to be wowed by Wolverines freshman Emily Williams. Williams, who I covered a lot in volleyball, looks much taller on the basketball court. Maybe because she wasn’t always standing next to or across from a big middle. She’s fluid, athletic and can do anything and everything you need her to do. Her future is really, really bright.
The best news, though, is that she has a bunch of running mates in the freshman class that figure to have great careers. One of those is Miah Urban, who was outstanding in her first postseason game. She filled up the boxscore with 14 points, six steals, five assists, three rebounds and a nosebleed. More than anything, she has the “it factor” every coach in America searches for. She knows the game, she understands where to be at all times and she is not phased one bit. I’m a fan.
-Elsewhere in Class 1A Region 7, St. Albert’s Isabel Pershing dropped in 32 points, broke her own single-game record for 3-point makes (8) and also set the new single-season record for 3-point makes. The 3-point shot is the great equalizer, and as it stands, there aren’t many teams in their bracket that are equal with the Saintes. I think it goes without saying that if Pershing is going to be this red hot through the postseason, they’re going to be a very tough out.
-Maddy Duncan dropped in 23 points last night in a Sidney win over Fremont-Mills. This was the fourth time the two teams played this year, so there were no secrets. Duncan still found a way to get hers, because she’s that dang good, and is now 17 points away from tying Sidney’s all-time 5-on-5 scoring record (Aimee Osborne).
-The East Mills freshman received plenty of play on KMA Radio last night, but you should know – and maybe do know – that Stanton also has their own great group of freshmen. They were on full display last night, too, with Abby Burke and Marleigh Johnson both scoring in double figures, and Jenna Stephens adding eight of her own.
-Jaci Christensen had the biggest night for a KMAlander in regional action last evening. At least it was the biggest night that has been reported one way or another. The Audubon sophomore star had 27 points and 10 boards.
-Bedford nearly came all the way back to shock Lenox last night, but the Tigers were able to hold off the hard-charging Bulldogs. Cassidy Nelson had some kind of performance, as she had 20 at half and finished with 27 for the evening.
-Abby Martin of Lamoni suffered an ankle injury and was unable to finish the Demons’ win over East Union. The good news is that they won with Leslie Guyer and Maddy Maedel both stepping up to score in double digits. More good news: The ankle is not broken. We’ll see what things look like for Tuesday.
-A big night for Martensdale-St. Marys sharpshooter Skylyr Stewart, who finished with 26 points in a dominant win over Murray.
-Paton-Churdan, Glidden-Ralston and Woodbine all won RVC showdowns. Paton-Churdan got 22 points from Danielle Hoyle in a victory over CRB, Hannah Whitver and Gretchen Wallace both had double-doubles for Glidden-Ralston in a comfortable victory over Ar-We-Va and Woodbine made the third time a charm in a win over Boyer Valley. The Tigers got 18 from Nicole Sherer, and they’ve now won five straight. Another RVC team, CAM, is moving on after five girls scored in double figures in a 54-point win over Griswold.
-The Riverside girl’s basketball team nabbed a three-point win over Heartland Christian for their second win in five days over HC. Big nights for Meghan Reed (25 points) and Ashlynn Amdor (22). Of note, Bella Dingus scored a game-high 26 for Heartland Christian.
Quick check on the BCMoore projections and results:
-Lenox was projected to win by 1.99 and won by 1.
-Riverside was projected to win by 2.74 and won by 3.
-Seymour was projected to win by 6.19 and won by 8.
-Sidney was projected to win by 13.10 and won by 17.
-Paton-Churdan was projected to win by 14.53 and won by 11.
-Wayne was projected to win by 21.33 and won by 19.
-Stanton was projected to win by 45.14 and won by 43.
-Audubon was projected to win by 48.69 and won by 40.
-Southeast Warren was projected to win by 58.67 and won by 47.
-St. Albert was projected to win by 63.55 and won by 65.
-East Mills was projected to win by 5.80 and won by 14.
-Lamoni was projected to win by 15.55 and won by 5.
-Grand View Christian was projected to win by 21.51 and won by 31.
-CAM was projected to win by 39.08 and won by 54.
-Westwood was projected to win by 41.05 and won by 56.
-Martensdale-St. Marys was projected to win by 46.34 and won by 34.
-Central Decatur was projected to win by 70.79 and won by 50.
The not so good:
-Glidden-Ralston was projected to win by 7.09 and won by 33.
-Woodbine was a 3.90-point underdog and won by 2.
That’s not bad, my dude. Not bad at all.
Here are out-of-conference records from last night (a conference vs. conference matchup was not counted):
Hawkeye Ten: 1-0
Western Iowa: 2-0
Pride of Iowa: 4-2
Rolling Valley: 1-1
While there were 17 KMAland conference schools advancing last night, there were 19 that lost. Farewell to these 19 and their seniors:
Corner (3): Essex, Fremont-Mills, Griswold
-Essex did not receiving any production from their senior class this year. They return every last bit of production.
-Fremont-Mills had four seniors, including their second and fourth leading scorers Courtney Goodman and Kaylee Wright. Those will be a pair of tough losses, as will Kelly Kesterson and Elizabeth Bartles, who both played in every game this season.
-Griswold lost Jocelyn Amos before the season, so that was a tough loss before the games even started. They also had Kami Howell and Kacey Danker producing at different points this year. Look for a big improvement next year with a strong senior class returning and the improvement of freshman McKenna Wiechman.
Pride of Iowa (3): Bedford, East Union, Southwest Valley
-Bedford will bring back their top five scorers, including double-digit standout Kennedy Weed (a junior). However, seniors Jaelyn Daly and Brooklyn Rowan were regular contributors, and April Murphy and Leslie Sheley had a reserve and leadership role this season.
-East Union has a bright future with Kaylin Lack (14.2 PPG) and Noelle McKnight (11.4 PPG) both returning next year AND the next year after that (McKnight will also be back the following year). Chloe Kerrigan, Jessica Kelley, Alexia Neisemier and Katy Allison, though, are seniors that played in at least 12 games this year and will be missed.
-Southwest Valley, which was hurt by a strong graduating class last year, has an even bigger group this year. Leading scorers Jentry Schafer and Rylee Jacobs will be sorely missed, as will starters Abbie Wetzel and Kayley Myers, regular contributor Jillian Simmons and reserves Allison Marshall and Jordyn Figgins.
RVC (4): Ar-We-Va, Boyer Valley, Coon Rapids-Bayard, West Harrison
-Leslie Luft played in just 13 games this season, but she averaged 11.2 points per game and will be missed. However, junior Jadeyn Smith (14.6 PPG) should lead a strong nucleus next season.
-The Bulldogs bring back their top three scorers, but they will need to replace regular contributors in Taylor Klein, Marie Hanigan and Nicole Behrendt.
-Coon Rapids-Bayard was still plenty young this year with two sophomores and two juniors among the top four leading scorers. Senior regulars Cora McAlister and Lexie Davis are both going to be tough to replace, however.
-The West Harrison roster was short on bodies, but they gave it their all. I think they’ll be all the better for it next year, despite losing senior Sabrina Rife – their third-leading scorer.
Bluegrass (8): Ankeny Christian, Diagonal, Melcher-Dallas, Moravia, Mormon Trail, Moulton-Udell, Murray, Orient-Macksburg
-Ankeny Christian lost a big a senior class from last year. That won’t be the case this year, though, as they lose just one senior in reserve Libby Wilken.
-Diagonal finished the year with just six players, and one of those was their leading scorer and senior standout Erin Sobotka. She will be sorely missed, but you have to like the looks of this freshman class, led by Anna Newton, Taylor Lumbard and Alaina Whittington.
-Watch for Melcher-Dallas to make a big jump next year, as they bring back a big, big senior class. They have five juniors among their top six scorers – and the other one is a freshman. However, they will miss senior Lilly Bennett – a regular contributor night in and night out.
-Moravia will bring back their entire roster next season. No seniors. That won’t be the case next year, as their top six scorers are juniors.
-Mormon Trail also does not carry a single senior on their roster. Juniors Skylar Watsabaugh and Chelsea Johnson are this year’s top two scorers.
-Moulton-Udell will definitely miss their senior class, as leading scorer Chelsey Boettcher (15.0 PPG) is graduating. So are third-leading scorer Malorie Probasco and fifth-leading scorer Brason Bulechek.
-Murray came into the year with a roster of unknowns, and I think they definitely exceeded expectations. They bring back their top two and six of their top seven scorers. The lone exception is Bailey Frederick, who is joined in the senior class by Destiny Ashby.
-Very strong season for Orient-Macksburg, and it was spearheaded by seniors Kaela Eslinger, Hailey Johnson, Cortney Gross and Caitlyn Buckman. That’s four of the Bulldogs top five scorers. They will be difficult to replace.
Other (1): Heartland Christian
-Heartland Christian is now in the Frontier Conference, and they will have to do without Bella Dingus and Shelena Cochran next year. Both girls have been multi-year contributors to the program, and they combined to average 27.2 points per game this season. They will definitely be missed and leave a large hole in that HC roster.
There are seven games involving KMAland conference schools on Saturday. Here’s the rundown and the ranking (this time going from 7 down to 1 for dramatic purposes)…
7. A-8: No. 59 Clarke (2-18) at No. 24 Creston (12-9): This is the second meeting this season between these two squads. The Panthers won by 45 back on January 20th in Osceola. This time, they welcome the Indians to the Panther Dome. BCMoore Projection: Creston by 42.11.
6. 3A-8: No. 51 Shenandoah (5-16) at No. 8 Red Oak (18-3): Two big things of note here: 1) Red Oak is likely playing this without Sophie Walker, and 2) Roxy Denton is healthy for Shenandoah. The Tigers, though, are still plenty loaded. They’ve won by 33 and 34 this season. I have this on KMA-FM 99.1 at 5:00 tomorrow night. BCMoore Projection: Red Oak by 37.75.
5. 3A-3: No. 47 Kuemper Catholic (5-16) at No. 4 Roland-Story (17-3): Kuemper deserves better than this. They played a top 10 schedule in 3A, and they didn’t get much credit for it. They will walk into a lion’s den inhabited by a really, really good Roland-Story team. The only saving grace is that the Knights have definitely seen teams as good as or better than Roland-Story. BCMoore Projection: Roland-Story by 35.75.
4. 3A-8: No. 60 Clarinda (2-19) at No. 32 Atlantic (8-13): The Trojans and Clarinda meet for a third time after Atlantic won by 55 in December and by 35 in January. I’m still not a big fan of the grouping here from the IGHSAU, which could have given us a solid Atlantic/Shenandoah matchup to enjoy in the first round. Alas, Trevor has Atlantic/Clarinda on FM 99.1 at 7:30. BCMoore Projection: Atlantic by 35.02.
3. 3A-1: No. 33 Sheldon (5-16) at No. 1 Bishop Heelan Catholic (16-4): Heelan lost their last time out, but that was against a Class 5A ranked Abraham Lincoln team. On Saturday, they get the Orabs, and Adam Van Der Vliet isn’t walking through that door. BCMoore Projection: Heelan by 34.09.
2. 2A-8: No. 68 MVAOCOU (4-16) at No. 42 Underwood (11-10): Underwood is playing well of late with wins in six of their last seven. In all actuality, they’ve been playing well all season long with half of their losses coming by single digits. MVAOCOU has lost seven of their last eight. BCMoore Projection: Underwood by 24.95.
1. 2A-8: No. 76 Tri-Center (4-17) at No. 77 Missouri Valley (3-18): The Trojans and Big Reds are concurrent in the rankings and might just put on the closest game on Saturday. I’m almost sure of it. Missouri Valley has won both matchups this season – by 4 on December 19th and by 10 on January 31st. Despite that, Tri-Center is the BCMoore favorite. Insert shrugging shoulder emoticon. BCMoore Projection: Tri-Center by 4.45.
Enjoy the basketball and your weekend.
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