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January 22, 2013

Girls postseason pairings set

Ottumwa heads east; area 1A squads staying close to home

OTTUMWA — The better you are, the less traveling you’ll have to do on the road to the state girls basketball tournament.

That’s the idea behind the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union’s regional postseason pairings. Whether it’s softball, volleyball or basketball, more wins equals fewer miles to log when mid-February rolls around.

Teams like Moravia, North Mahaska and Twin Cedars found out how true that was on Monday when the IGHSAU released its girls basketball regional postseason pairings. All three teams will start out on their home floors and, if they can keep winning, would make their longest road trip in the postseason to play at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

The undefeated Mohawks and Warhawks joined the Sabers and Oskaloosa as area teams that were awarded home games for their postseason openers. Moravia, Twin Cedars and North Mahaska would also receive a second-straight home game if they win those openers, while Oskaloosa would advance directly to the regional finals after receiving a bye and home-court advantage for the Class 4A, Region 5 semifinals against either Mount Pleasant or Fairfield on Saturday, Feb. 16.

The biggest school in the area, meanwhile, found out its road to state will go directly along the Mississippi River. Ottumwa and second-year head coach Kevin Patterson will need to head east for three wins to make a run to the first-ever Class 5A girls state basketball tourney, starting with a regional first round road trip to Burlington on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs are no strangers to opening postseason play at Johansson Gymnasium. Three years ago, a young but improved Ottumwa squad faced Burlington in a tight contest in a regional opener.

The Greyhounds held off the Bulldogs in that 2010 matchup, winning 59-54 to finish a 10-12 season for Ottumwa. One year later, the Bulldogs would avenge that loss by ending Burlington’s 2010-11 season with a 49-38 regional opening-round win at Evans Middle School Gymnasium that would be the final victory in the career of longtime head coach Stan Rupe.

The Ottumwa-Burlington winner advances to Muscatine to face the seventh-ranked Muskies in the 5A, Region 5 semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 16. That winner will play for a spot at state in Bettendorf against either Davenport West or Pleasant Valley in the regional finals.

The bid for state in Class 4A, Region 5 will be decided in Marengo on Tuesday, Feb. 19 as a pair of area teams could battle each other to play at Iowa Valley High School against either second-ranked Benton, Grinnell or Clear-Creek Amana. The Fairfield Trojans will open their postseason at Southeast Conference rival Mount Pleasant on Wednesday, Feb. 13 with a win sending Mick Flattery’s team to face 13th-ranked Oskaloosa.

All three teams will be very familiar with each other. Fairfield lost twice in regular season play to the Panthers and dropped a 44-26 decision to the Indians in Osky in their second game of the year while Oskaloosa picked up a 46-35 home win over Mount Pleasant this past weekend.

The only area school that will be hosting a regional final is Albia, where the state berth from Class 3A, Region 7 will be decided on Saturday, Feb. 16. The Lady Dees, however, will have to win twice on the road including an opening regional matchup at South Central Conference rival Davis County on Saturday, Feb. 9.

The winner in Bloomfield will head to Central Lee High School for the regional semifinals on Wednesday, Feb. 13. The Hawks could be hosting two-straight postseason games as Central Lee will be at home for their regional opener against Nic Belloma’s Centerville Redettes on Feb. 9.

On the other side of 3A, Region 7, Chariton plays in the second all-SCC regional opener as the Chargers head to conference title hopeful Clarke. The winner in Osceola on Feb. 9 plays at Bondurant-Farrar against either the seventh-ranked Bombers or PCM on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

The SCC’s current top team, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, opens at home against Cardinal in a Class 2A, Region 6 first round matchup while Pekin hosts Van Buren on Saturday, Feb. 9. Either the Warriors or Panthers will head to Pella Christian for a second-round contest on Tuesday, Feb. 12 while either Cardinal or EBF will head to face eighth-ranked North Mahaska, who will be looking for a second-straight state title after winning the 1A crown last year.

North Mahaska will also host a regional semifinal matchup between the winners of the New Sharon and Pella Christian second round games on Friday, Feb. 15. That winner plays for state on Monday, Feb. 18 in Pleasantville against one of six teams headlined by 12th-ranked Des Moines Christian and No. 13 Woodward-Granger.

Finally, Bluegrass rivals Moravia and Twin Cedars could be on a collision course with each other in the Class 1A, Region 6 semifinals in Albia if both can win two home postseason games. The 11th-ranked Mohawks open at home against Mormon Trail on Thursday, Feb. 7 while Twin Cedars hosts Moulton-Udell.

Wins by both teams would allow Moravia and Twin Cedars to host games on Feb. 12 with the Mohawks facing either Melcher-Dallas or Wayne while Twin Cedars would take on either Seymour or Southeast Warren. Those two winners would face off in Albia with that winner playing in Truro with sixth-ranked Adair-Casey among the seven teams that will battle on the other side of the bracket.

In Class 1A, Region 5, Sigourney and Tri-County hit the road to face South Iowa Cedar League rivals on Feb. 7 as the Savages head to Belle Plaine while the Trojans head to Montezuma. The two teams could meet if they win three straight in the regional finals in Newton on Monday, Feb. 18 for a berth at state.

GIRLS BASKETBALL REGIONAL PAIRINGS

CLASS 5A, REGION 5

Wednesday, Feb. 13

First Round

Ottumwa at Burlington, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 16

Regional Semifinals

Winner at Muscatine, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 19

Regional Finals

Winner vs. Davenport West or Pleasant Valley at Bettendorf, 7 p.m.

REGIONAL GIRLS BASKETBALL PAIRINGS

CLASS 5A, REGION 5

Wednesday, Feb. 13

First Round

Ottumwa at Burlington, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 16

Regional Semifinals

Ottumwa-Burlington winner at Muscatine, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 19

Regional Finals

Winner vs. Davenport West or Pleasant Valley at Bettendorf, 7 p.m.

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