Any team playing at this time of year has plenty to play for.
For Regina, there will be more than just a state tournament berth on the line tonight in the Class 2A Region 5 championship in Tipton.
The Regals will be after a little bit of redemption.
Regina gets a rematch with 2A second-ranked Cascade (24-0), which cruised to a 60-34 win in the regular season meeting between the teams back on Feb. 4.
“They beat us pretty badly earlier in the year but we don’t think we were playing at our best,” Regina coach Clark Anderson said. “We feel like we are a much better team now and we have a lot to play for this time around.”
Regina’s first meeting with Cascade started fine. Regina led 14-12 after one quarter, but quickly spiraled out of control as the Cougars outscored Regina 48-20 over the final three quarters.
The 60-34 defeat at Cascade started a three-game losing skid for Regina to end the regular season.
Regina snapped the losing skid with a win over Wapello to open the playoffs and played perhaps its best game of the season Friday in a 71-37 Region 5 semifinal win over Highland.
“Our spirits are high and we’re playing great basketball,” Anderson said. “It feels like all the pressure is on them.”
Cascade joins City High and Harlan as the only unbeaten teams in the state.
The Cougars cruised to a River Valley Conference North Division title this season going 17-0 in RVC play and rallied from a four-point halftime deficit to defeat West Branch 37-29 in the Region 5 semifinals on Friday.
The Cougars are allowing opponents just 30 points a game this season.
The 34 points by Regina in the first meeting with Cascade was a season-low.
“We take a lot of pride in playing good defense ourselves and being able to push the basketball,” Anderson said. “The more they set up their defense, that is not necessarily playing into our hands, so we want to lead with our defense and it’s going to be important for us to get some shots to fall in our half court offense to also fuel our defense.”
* A LOOK AHEAD: City High won’t have home court advantage in Tuesday’s Regional, final but they certainly won’t be in unfamiliar territory.
The Little Hawks will travel across town to face Pleasant Valley (15-7) in the Class 5A Region 6 final at 7:30 p.m. at West High.
City High (22-0) enters the regional final top-ranked in Class 5A, one of three unbeaten teams in the state along with 4A Harlan and Class 2A Cascade.
Pleasant Valley brings a seven-game winning streak into the regional final and is 15-4 after starting the season with three consecutive losses.
The Spartans haven’t had much success against the Mississippi Valley Conference this season, going 1-3 against MVC teams.
Pleasant Valley lost to Dubuque Senior, Dubuque Hempstead and Cedar Rapids Kennedy of the MVC while earning a six-point win over Linn-Mar.
* PERFORMANCES OF THE WEEK: West High senior Mollie Mason had 11 points and 10 rebounds in a 50-30 win over Cedar Rapids Jefferson.
Regina senior Katie Wick had 19 points and 12 rebounds in a 71-37 win over Highland.
City High senior Kiera Washpun had 25 points in a 75-21 win over Clinton.
Iowa Mennonite senior Olivia Yutzy had 19 points and nine rebounds in a 48-35 loss to Winfield-Mount Union.
West Branch senior Ashley Finnegan had 26 points and five rebounds in a 55-51 win over Durant.