Girls’ tourney follow: A look to 2010

By Jeff Linder

The Gazette

DES MOINES — The Cascade Cougars flourished by keeping a deaf ear toward outsiders.

Projected as a rebuilding team, Cascade surprised everyone — perhaps even themselves — by earning runner-up honors in Class 2A at the girls’ state basketball tournament this week.

“We didn’t listen to what people were saying about us,” said guard Amber Meyer.

The role of the Cougars will shift next year. With four starters back, they’ll be among the favorites in Class 2A.

How will they handle that?

“We’re not going to think about it,” Meyer said. “We’re going to go out and play basketball. “We didn’t listen to it this year. We won’t listen to it next year.”

In three classes (1A, 3A and 4A), it’s an easy task to find a handful of contenders in 2010. In 2A, it’s a challenge. Here’s a look:

Class 4A

Most of the teams in this year’s state field will be well-equipped to return. The list of contenders begins in the Metro.

Cedar Rapids Kennedy returns its starting lineup and might rate as a slight favorite. Linn-Mar brings back the state’s best post (Kiah Stokes) and a quality backcourt. Waukee, which returns everybody, is a top challenger, along with Ankeny and Ames.

Class 3A

Sioux City Heelan returns an extremely strong duo (Carli Tritz and Millie Niggeling) from its runner-up team. A semifinalist this year, Waukon returns its entire starting lineup. The early focus will be Coach Gene Klinge’s pursuit of the state victories record.

Davenport Assumption, DeWitt Central, Marion and Spencer are the best of the rest.

Class 2A

This class is absolutely wide open. Picking a preseason top 10 will take extensive exploration.

Cascade loses its top athlete, Chanda Goedken, but returns the rest of its squad. The Cougars are as legitimate a title threat as anyone.

Manson-Northwest Webster returns three starters, including leading scorer Mika Rodewald. Hinton welcomes back its top two scorers, and MFL MarMac will remain a threat.

Class 1A

Four teams jump to the head of the small-school class.

Start with North Butler, a 2009 semifinalist that brings back four starters, including its top three scorers. Martensdale-St. Marys will have four starters back, including 6-foot-4 post Mackenzie Morrison.

Exira also has a top-flight post in Hallie Christofferson, and Mason City Newman was junior-dominated this season.

How did we do?

Triggered by a perfect first round in each class, we correctly picked 24 of 28 games throughout the week.

At one point, our picks were 19-0. The first miss came Thursday afternoon when Cascade beat Hinton.

We picked two champions correctly — IKM-Manning in 2A and Ballard in 3A.

INA all-state teams

Sportswriters from across Iowa gathered Saturday morning to select the Iowa Newspaper Association all-state teams.

The teams, highlighted by Miss Iowa Basketball 2009, will be released Tuesday.


One Response to “Girls’ tourney follow: A look to 2010”

  1. Girls’ tourney follow: A look to 2010 | Says:

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