TIFFIN, Ia. — Friday night’s contest between Clear Creek Amana and Solon featured two boys basketball teams on opposite ends of a second consecutive stacked WaMaC Conference.
Nine of its 16 member schools finished with winning records last year, and, once again, nine of 16 entered this Friday above .500. Only eight of Iowa’s 31 other leagues could claim that, and none of the other three involving Iowa City-area schools (Mississippi Valley, River Valley and SEISC).
The WaMaC is certainly enjoying the peak of an uptick right now; less than half its schools finished .500 or better in the 2011-15 seasons.
“Top to bottom, every game is competitive and all the teams have one or two dudes that, each night, could score 20-something points,” Solon coach Jason Pershing said. “We ran into it with (Central) DeWitt and Maquoketa. So I would say it’s super strong. The West (division) is a cluster; there’s so much parity. I would say it’s probably the best that it’s been in a long time, or it at least continuously stays that way.”
That’s all fine and good for the Spartans, whose balanced offensive attack and relentless defense has kept it competitive with any conference opponent. They beat CCA, 82-50, and right now they’ve got the No. 4 spot in the juggernaut-heavy WaMaC East and sixth place overall.
“You know every night you’re going to get a good ballgame,” CCA coach Brandon Clubb said. “There’s a lot of parity, especially in our half (East) of the league. But then you look at the other half, too, and they’re battling each other every night. It really proves to you that this is one of the first-class leagues in the state of Iowa as far as 3A schools.”
Things haven’t been as pleasant for the Clippers this year, who entered Friday 2-17, last in the conference. But as much as CCA lost from its 12-11 squad last year, keep in mind it still starts four seniors and boasts the WaMaC West’s fifth-best scorer (Tate Thomsen, 13.2 points) and fifth-best rebounder (Tyler Hallet, 6.3 rebounds). It’s also lost six games by 10 or fewer points.
When that’s your conference’s “worst” team, you’ve got some pretty dang good rosters. CCA’s record would look much prettier if it played in a different league this year.
“I don’t know how many other coaches have said that to me,” Clubb said. “It doesn’t make me feel much better, but it’s true. It’s exactly right. Like, ‘Wow you’re the best 1-and-whatever, 2-and-whatever team we’ve seen.'”
Added Pershing: “(CCA has) been in every game. They don’t get blown out. Our league, absolutely, is so hard. That’s why every night it’s so hard to prepare, because you never get a night off. It’s tough.”
Two WaMaC teams rank in the Class 3A top 10: No. 2 West Delaware and No. 7 Mount Vernon, both in the East. Just four games separate the top-five teams in the West.
If the Solon frosh team’s 74-68 overtime win over CCA Friday night is any indication, these schools might hover around each other in the standings in the near future.
Regional first rounds
Two area girls teams began regional play this week.
Lone Tree (17-5) handled winless Keota, 59-22, Thursday night in Lone Tree. Maddie Forbes, a new member of the 1,000-point club, scored 15. Elena Sieverding netted 11 and Ashley Musser added 12 on four 3-pointers. The Lions will host WACO (7-15) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Searching for its first win of the year, Iowa Mennonite forced overtime against HLV Victor (8-14) before ultimately losing, 51-48, Thursday night in Victor. IMS trailed, 15-8, at halftime and 28-16 entering the fourth quarter, but a 15-4 scoring run midway through the period erased that gap.
Suzanna Yoder scored 17 of her 25 points in the final frame. Alyssa Hershberger had 12, including two clutch free throws to tie it, 42-all, with 6 seconds left and send it to overtime.
Records as of Friday afternoon.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association released substate brackets for Class 3 and 4A boys teams this week. Here’s how Iowa City-area teams line up:
Iowa City West
The 4A No. 1 Trojans (15-1) get a first-round bye in 4A Substate 5 and will host the winner of Clinton (8-10) and Pleasant Valley (8-10) on Friday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m.
The Little Hawks (3-15) play at Linn-Mar (7-10) in the first round of 4A Substate 5 on Monday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.
Clear Creek Amana
The Clippers (2-17) play at 3A No. 2 West Delaware (18-0) in the first round of 3A Substate 5 on Monday, Feb. 20 at 8 p.m.
The Spartans (11-7) travel to Davenport Assumption to play Wahlert Dubuque (5-12) in the first round of 3A Substate 4 on Monday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m.
The Comets (7-14) play at 3A No. 8 Davenport Assumption (10-8) in the first round of 3A Substate 4 on Monday, Feb. 20 at 8 p.m.
Iowa City West 62, Waterloo West 42
City High 77, Wahlert Dubuque 33
New London 79, Lone Tree 71
Solon 82, Clear Creek Amana 50
City High 72, Wahlert Dubuque 65
Danville 65, Iowa Mennonite 45
West Burlington 74, Highland 69
Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.