The clock is ticking on the girls basketball regular season.
Regional play begins Thursday in Class 1-A, Saturday in 2-A and 3-A, and Feb. 13 in 4-A and 5-A.
As we transition into the postseason, let’s take a last look at the girls conference races around western Iowa. Before we do that, we’ll note that Sioux City Heelan (Class 5-A/4-A/3-A) and IKM-Manning (Class 2-A/1-A) lead The World-Herald’s final set of western Iowa ratings before regional play begins.
Starting in the Missouri River Conference, Heelan (10-0, all records listed are conference records) has clinched at least a share of its third league crown in four years. The Crusaders earn the outright title by beating either Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln (9-2) on Friday or Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson (0-10) on Feb. 12.
In the Hawkeye Ten Conference, it doesn’t get any better than Tuesday’s meeting in Council Bluffs between Lewis Central (10-1) and Harlan (10-1). The winner guarantees at least a share of the conference championship. Both will have one more conference game after that, Lewis Central against Clarinda (2-9) on Thursday and Harlan against Creston (2-9) on Friday. So it’s highly likely that Tuesday’s winner will be the outright champ.
Treynor wrapped up a 14-0 run through the Western Iowa Conference on Friday with a win over Tri-Center. The Cardinals claimed their sixth WIC title in eight years.
In the Corner Conference, it was a breakthrough season for Fremont-Mills, which registered its first league title since 1976 with an 11-1 record, two games ahead of its nearest rival.
The Western Valley Conference is split into two divisions. IKM-Manning won the South Division at 8-0 before losing to North champion Lawton-Bronson Saturday in the conference tournament championship.
Bedford (14-1) and Central Decatur (14-1) are tied for the Pride of Iowa Conference lead heading into their final games on Tuesday. Bedford plays host to Nodaway Valley (11-4) while Central Decatur travels to Wayne (7-8).
Congratulations to all the champions and good luck to those still competing for titles. Coaches hold league titles dear to their hearts and with good reason. They are earned against their biggest rivals, and often there are no surprises because they know one another so well.
NOTES: The Iowa High School Athletic Association announced its postseason boys basketball pairings on Monday for Class 3-A and 4-A.
Here are the first-round matchups for all teams in substates involving schools in The World-Herald’s western Iowa coverage area, with all 7 p.m. starts:
Class 3-A District Semifinals
Monday, Feb. 18
District 1, Substate 1
Denison-Schleswig (6-11) at Sioux City Heelan (12-7)
Sergeant Bluff-Luton (9-9) at Le Mars (13-4)
District 2, Substate 1
Estherville-Lincoln Central (7-13) at MOC-Floyd Valley (16-3)
Storm Lake (9-8) at Spencer (11-7)
District 15, Substate 8
ADM (3-15) at Atlantic (17-1)
Winterset (9-7) at Creston (15-2)
District 16, Substate 8
Greene County (6-13) at Carroll (14-2)
Glenwood (8-8) at Harlan (11-5)
Class 4-A Substate Quarterfinals
Monday, Feb. 18
CB Abraham Lincoln (5-13) at CB Lewis Central (5-13)
CB Thomas Jefferson (1-17) at Sioux City West (5-12)
Class 4-A Substate Semifinals
Friday, Feb. 22
CBAL/CBLC winner at Sioux City East (18-0)
CBTJ/SC West winner at Sioux City North (16-2)
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