How many chances at a state championship can one league get?
In the case of the Central Iowa Metropolitan League, the answer is seven — that’s the number of teams that will play in the state girls’ basketball tournament Wednesday.
Six of the 19 schools in the CIML will play in the Class 5-A quarterfinals. Another will take the 4-A stage at Wells Fargo Arena.
It’s a record number for the league, which has had five qualifiers each of the past two seasons.
The lucky seven: Defending 5-A champ Dowling Catholic; Southeast Polk, which was last year’s runner-up and the 2013 winner; Mason City, Valley, Waukee and Johnston; Indianola reached the 4-A tournament.
In 5-A, the CIML locked down six of the eight qualifying spots. A favorable bracketing system that spread out the teams benefited the schools.
Valley coach Joe Sigrist was asked what makes the league so special.
“I just think the CIML, the metro, the Des Moines area has tremendous talent and coaches,” Sigrist said.
Indianola (19-4) opens the revolving door for CIML teams at 11:45 a.m. against unbeaten Western Dubuque of Epworth.
That will be followed by Valley-Mason City game (1:30 p.m.), Southeast Polk vs. Iowa City West (3:15), Dowling-Johnston (5:00) and Waukee vs. Cedar Falls (6:45).
Six CIML teams were ranked among the state’s top 10 in 5-A. That list includes Ankeny Centennial, which did not qualify. Indianola also cracked the top 10 in 4-A.
Valley is ranked first, Waukee second, Dowling third, Southeast Polk sixth and Johnston ninth. Indianola holds down the No. 7 spot in 4-A.