Editor’s Note: This is Day 6 of an eight-day midseason tour around the area conferences in girls’ basketball. If all goes as scheduled, it will conclude Friday, the day that the season resumes.
Here’s the plan:
Friday: Big East
Sunday: Upper Iowa
Monday: Northeast Iowa
Today: Cedar Valley
Thursday: Wamac (East and West)
Friday: MVC (Mississippi and Valley)
CEDAR VALLEY CONFERENCE
The frontrunner: Tipton (6-0, 4-0) has been destructive thus far: The Tigers are averaging 70.3 points per game, allowing 37.7. Their closest game thus far was their opener, a 22-point nail-biter against Monticello. Two of their more legitimate tests, on the road against Mid-Prairie and Iowa City Regina, were snowed out.
Other contenders: West Branch (7-1, 3-0) won its first seven games before tripping against Washington (Iowa), a 3A team. The Bears steal the ball in bunches. Other than a puzzling loss to Clear Creek-Amana, Iowa City Regina (4-1, 3-0) has been strong. The Regals have a 42-point win over Mid-Prairie under their belts.
Potential spoilers: A veteran team from Mid-Prairie (2-3, 2-1) probably is the best of the rest. Wilton (2-5, 1-3) dropped a one-pointer to West Branch and a three-pointer to Mid-Prairie. A break here, a break there, and the Beavers could trip someone.
Biggest surprise: No doubt, it’s West Branch. The Bears’ full-court mayhem defense has turned around this program, which — with a few exceptions — had sputtered in recent years.
Biggest disappointment: North Cedar figured to make a splash in its first year out of the Big East. Instead, the Knights are 1-7.
Leading scorer: Tipton senior Missy Miller is averaging 22.3 points per game.
What to watch for: Can anyone push Tipton? The Tigers will be favored in each of their conference games. They’ll have non-league challenges against Washington (Iowa) and Midland. Can West Branch keep it up? The Bears open 2009 with a pair of toughies — against 3A heavyweight Davenport Assumption and Tipton, and it will be interesting to see how they rebound after that difficult patch. Regina ought to be able to keep pace in the league race for the time being, and the Regals will challenge themselves with some out-of-league foes that include former EIHC foes Williamsburg, Mount Vernon and Solon.
Who will win it: Tipton, by plenty. And an unbeaten regular season is a serious possibility.