It isn’t quite the same as the bracket reveal show for March Madness, but basketball coaches, players and fans in N’West Iowa have been anxiously awaiting the announcement of their postseason paths, something that became official this week.
The boys basketball district brackets came out on Wednesday for Class 2A and Class 1A. The two Class 3A schools in the region, MOC-Floyd Valley and Sioux Center, will not find out their assignments until Wednesday, Feb. 10.
In Class 2A, top-ranked Boyden-Hull and third-ranked Western Christian could theoretically each make the state tournament.
Boyden-Hull is the top seed in District 2. Unity Christian earned the other first-round bye in that district. The winner could have a tough task in the substate round against District 1. District 1 contains three teams that are 14-4 or better — fourth-ranked OABCIG, East Sac County and Ridge View.
Western Christian is the top seed in District 3. Rock Valley got the other bye in the district. The winner of that district gets the District 4 winner in the substate round. Spirit Lake and Alta-Aurelia are the top two seeds in District 4.
The 1A teams in N’West Iowa are all grouped in Substate 1. Four of the five are in District 1, where ninth-ranked Remsen St. Mary’s is the top seed. The exception is fifth-ranked Gehlen Catholic, which is the top seed in District 2.
The girls assignments became official on Thursday.
Setting up Class 3A was a bit difficult with three of the top five schools in the rankings in proximity geographically. Top-ranked Cherokee ended up going south to Region 1. No N’West Iowa teams had to follow the Braves there. Third-ranked Unity Christian went east to Region 2. There is one other ranked team in that bracket in 10th-ranked Estherville Lincoln Central. It sets up to where the Knights and Midgets could meet in a regional final. Most of the N’West Iowa teams in Class 3A got sent to Region 6, where fifth-ranked West Lyon looks to be the favorite. Sioux City Heelan, ranked 15th, is also in that bracket.
Class 2A also got fragmented for the N’West Iowa schools, but only a little bit. South O’Brien was shipped south to Region 8, where the favorites are ninth-ranked Treynor, 13th-ranked Underwood and 15th-ranked Ridge View. The rest of N’West Iowa’s 2A teams are in Region 7, where eighth-ranked Central Lyon and 12th-ranked Sibley-Ocheyedan are the only ranked teams in the group.
All of N’West Iowa’s Class 1A teams are in Region 7. The early favorites in that region would appear to be sixth-ranked MMCRU and 14th-ranked Storm Lake St. Mary’s.
High school record setters
Tuesday was quite a day for milestones in N’West Iowa high school girls basketball.
George-Little Rock senior Mackensie Post had a particularly memorable night even though her team lost to Sibley-Ocheyedan. Post went over the 1,000-point mark in her career. The 15 points she tallied in the game also gave her 1,004 points, which set the George-Little Rock program’s all-time scoring record. The previous mark of 1,002 was set by Heather Block, who graduated in 1999.
Block, now Heather Grafing, coaches at Central Lyon.
Speaking of the Lions, Central Lyon senior Hayden Heimensen is already the all-time leading scorer and may be putting that record out of reach. Heimensen surpassed Lexi Ackerman’s record of 1,087 in her junior season. She put up 24 points against MOC-Floyd Valley on Tuesday, passing the 1,500-point mark in the process. Heimensen was at 1,517 after that contest.
Meanwhile, West Sioux senior Emily Hulshof was setting a single-game school record with 11 steals in a win over Harris-Lake Park. The prior record was shared by Kayla Weerheim, who had 10 in a Dec. 12, 2003, contest and Rylee Negaard matched that on Dec. 19, 2013.
The theme continued on Thursday as Janie Schoonhoven, who became Unity Christian’s all-time leading scorer earlier this year, surpassed the 1,500-point mark. Schoonhoven had 22 in a win over Rock Valley to put her at 1,503 for her career.
Huge event for Seahawks
The Sioux Center Seahawks swim team hosted a meet at the All Seasons Center last Saturday with nine teams and 161 swimmers taking part.
Sioux Center hosted a smaller event in October. Erica Vonk, a Seahawks administrative official, said the success of that event helped organizers push a second home meet through despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“To be able to host is quite a challenge,” Vonk said. “It took months to make sure we could meet all the guidelines. First you have to meet your facility guidelines, then you have state guidelines, then we’re a part of an organization called Midwestern Swimming, then you have USA Swimming that determines the regulations for the events. The one we had in October went well. We have a lot of space so its easier for the swimmers to stay distanced.”
Saturday’s meet was large enough that it had to be split into three sessions.
The first was a smaller session for swimmers 11 and older in distance events.
The second was the rest of the events for swimmers ages 11-and-up.
The third was for the 10-and-under group. Spectators were allowed, but an effort was made to keep the numbers at two spectators per family. There also was an option to watch the meet online.
“It was a big day, but it’s good to bring people into our facility. It’s good to have them using our hotels and restaurants,” Vonk said. “We like people to come and see what a great community we have. It went very well and we were thankful to have it.”
The meet drew five teams from Iowa, two from Nebraska, one from South Dakota and one from Montana.
“We’re just thankful we can compete and have a somewhat normal season,” Vonk said. “The coach from Montana said they have no swim meets allowed in their state at all. In that part of the country there is a three-state area where none of them are having meets. Some swim teams throughout the nation can’t even practice.”