Editor’s Note: This is Day 3 of an eight-day midseason tour around the area conferences in girls’ basketball. If all goes as scheduled, it will conclude next Friday, Jan. 2, the day that the season resumes.
Here’s the plan:
Friday: Big East
Today: Upper Iowa
Monday: Northeast Iowa
Wednesday: Cedar Valley
Thursday: Wamac (East and West)
Friday: MVC (Mississippi and Valley)
UPPER IOWA CONFERENCE
The frontrunner: Once again, it’s MFL MarMac. The Bulldogs (7-0, 6-0) are well on their way to their sixth consecutive Upper Iowa title.
Other contenders: Valley Community (3-1, 2-1) and Turkey Valley (5-1, 3-1) are the most legitimate challengers.
Potential spoilers: Postville (3-4, 3-1) already has played the role, knocking off Turkey Valley on Dec. 12. Sumner-Fredericksburg (3-3, 2-1) and Lansing Kee (4-4, 4-2) are capable of knocking off the teams above them if the conditions are right.
Biggest surprise: I’d say Postville, based on the win over Turkey Valley.
Biggest disappointment: West Central is 0-5 and hasn’t been very competitive. On the other hand, the top two scorers are juniors, so better days might be ahead.
Leading scorer: Postville senior Kelsey Heins is averaging 16.7 points per game.
What to watch for: MFL MarMac’s biggest challenge may be behind it. The Bulldogs escaped Elgin with a 47-39 win over Valley Community on Dec. 5. They still have a challenge at home against Turkey Valley on Jan. 23, and face the top three teams in the Northeast Iowa Conference (Waukon, Crestwood and Decorah), two on the road. Those games, plus a date with defending 1A champion Springville (Jan. 24, at Rivalry Saturday), should keep the Bulldogs sharp. Valley and Turkey Valley have been postponed twice. Their encounter, whenever it is played, should play a role in the race for runner-up.
Who will win it: MFL MarMac. For the sixth year in a row.