Friday was the official end of our high school fall sports season and the unofficial start of the winter season at the same time.

Shortly after West Lyon played in the Class 2A state championship game and Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley played in the Class 3A state championship game in football, two area schools were involved in Hall of Pride challenge basketball games. Unity Christian’s girls hosted Sioux City Heelan and Okoboji hosted LeMars.

Today (Saturday, Nov. 20), the Sioux Center teams will host Estherville Lincoln Central.

Those games are played exactly the same as any other game, but are officially considered scrimmages and do not count toward the season won-loss record. A portion of the proceeds from those contests are donated to local charities.

The first official basketball game of the winter sports season is on Monday when the Gehlen Catholic girls visit Kingsley-Pierson. The rest of the N’West Iowa girls basketball teams, with the exceptions of West Sioux and Trinity Christian, open the season Tuesday.

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union put out its preseason girls basketball rankings on Thursday. Defending state champion Unity Christian is ranked first in Class 3A and last year’s state runner-up, West Lyon, is ranked third and nearby Cherokee is ranked fourth. In Class 2A, Central Lyon is ranked fourth and Sibley-Ocheyedan is eighth. No N’West Iowa schools made the preseason list in Class 1A.

The source we have used for many years for state wrestling rankings, The Predicament, has closed its doors. This year you can subscribe to IAWrestle for the full rankings, but I will keep you updated on where the N’West Iowa athletes and teams are ranked. So far, there are a lot of them in the individual rankings, but West Sioux is the only team to make the list. The Falcons are ranked second in Class 1A behind only Don Bosco of Gilbertville.

West Sioux has six individuals ranked, led by senior Cullen Koedam, who holds the top spot in Class 1A’s 160-pound class. Junior Mike Baker is second at 145. Senior Braden Graff is third at 120 and senior Carson Lynott is third at 182. Senior Cameron Clark is fourth at 126. Senior Drayven Kraft is 10th at 132.

The other N’West Iowa wrestlers ranked in Class 1A are Western Christian junior Jace Mulder, who is fifth at 152, and Sibley-Ocheyedan junior Jonathan Krogman, who is 11th at 132. There are 12 wrestlers who make the rankings in each class.

There are a large number of ranked Class 2A wrestlers in the region, with the strongest weight classes looking like 285, 152 and 182. Four of the top eight in the largest weight class are from this region. West Lyon senior Easton Fleshman, who recently announced he will join the University of Iowa program as a preferred walk-on, is second in Class 2A at 285. Sioux Center senior Ethan Hooyer is third, Okoboji/Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn senior Nick Bronstad is sixth and Central Lyon/George-Little Rock senior Lyle Moore is eighth. At 152, Sheldon-South O’Brien senior Cason Johnannes is seventh, Okoboji/Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn junior Noah Strantz is 11th and Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley junior Zach Strubbe is 12th. At 182, Sioux Center senior Zach Rozeboom is eighth and Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley senior Casey Pick is 11th.

The list in Class 2A continues with Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley sophomore Gabino Vargas ranked sixth at 106, Sioux Center sophomore Kade Bauer ninth at 113, Sheldon-South O’Brien junior Coy DeBoer eighth at 132, Sioux Center senior Dao Keokhamthong third at 138, Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley senior Jaxson Rozeboom 11th at 145, Sheldon-South O’Brien sophomore Jarrett Roos eighth at 160, West Lyon senior Gabe Ter Wee seventh at 195 and MOC-Floyd Valley senior Josiah Bundt ninth at 220.