Editor’s Note: This is Day 4 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
Today: Northeast Iowa
Wednesday: Cedar Valley
Thursday: Wamac (East and West)
Friday: MVC (Mississippi and Valley)
NORTHEAST IOWA CONFERENCE
The frontrunners: For the time being, it’s a two-horse race between Waukon (8-0, 4-0) and defending champion Crestwood (6-0, 2-0). The first meeting between the teams is Jan. 9 at Waukon.
Other contenders: The next layer consists of Charles City (5-2, 1-1) and Decorah (6-3, 2-2).
Potential spoiler: Oelwein (6-2, 1-2) played the role to perfection Dec. 23, tripping Decorah, 63-52, on the road. The Huskies didn’t fare as well when they met Crestwood and Waukon, but they’re capable of springing another shocker.
Biggest surprise: Decorah, when it jumped to a 6-0 start, a run that included a win over Cedar Falls of the MVC. The Vikings were extremely impressive through Dec. 12.
Biggest disappointment: Decorah, through the last three games. The slide began at Waukon. And what happened against Oelwein?
Leading scorer: Decorah senior Karissa Shindelar is averaging 21.0 points per game.
What to watch for: Jan. 9, at Waukon; Feb. 10, at Cresco. Those are the two get-togethers for the Waukon Indians and the Crestwood Cadets. The countdown is on for Waukon Coach Gene Klinge, who needs 20 wins to catch the late Bob Mullen as the state’s all-time winningest girls’ basketball coach. At the beginning of the season, I thought Klinge might catch Mullen late next season. Instead, it’s looking like early next season (unless, of course, the Indians finish 28-0 this year).
Who will win it: The sensible route would be to predict a Waukon-Crestwood co-championship. I do think the teams will split their home-and-home. I also think one, if not both, of them will drop another game somewhere along the line. Just a hunch: Waukon goes 11-1, Crestwood 10-2.