Sports

Girls basketball games begin Friday

Winfield-Mt. Union’s Jenna Buffington takes the ball up court during a home game in 2018. Buffington is expected to make her return to the basketball court on Friday night in New London when the Wolves take on the Tigers. (File)
Winfield-Mt. Union’s Jenna Buffington takes the ball up court during a home game in 2018. Buffington is expected to make her return to the basketball court on Friday night in New London when the Wolves take on the Tigers. (File)

The sunset on Friday night will signal the official start of the 2020-21 Iowa high school girls basketball regular season. Friday is the first day teams can play in games that count on their regular season records, and the Union coverage area has a handful of tip-offs on the docket.

The area’s weekend schedule will begin with an early game at New London. The Tigers will host Winfield-Mt. Union just over a year after the two teams played a thriller in Winfield to kick off the 2019-20 season.

In last year’s season opener, W-MU staged a fourth quarter comeback to beat New London 49-46.

The New London-W-MU game will see its share of subplots. New London coach Aimee Iverson, a former Iowa Wesleyan player, will make her high school coaching debut where she will face off with longtime W-MU coach Mitch Wachs, who, for comparison, will be coaching in his 658th high school game.

It also will be the first game back for W-MU senior Jenna Buffington. Buffington missed the entire 2019-20 season due to injury after leading the team in scoring in 2018-19 and earning a spot on the Southeast Iowa Super Conference North Division first team.

Shortly after that game tips off, Keota’s weekend tournament will begin. The Eagles will host three teams; Columbus, Iowa Valley and Lone Tree in a tournament that will take place on Friday and Saturday.

Highland was originally scheduled to play in the first game of the Keota tournament, where they were set to match up with Iowa Valley at 6 p.m. The Huskies were forced to sit out of the tournament due to COVID-19 concerns, so Iowa Valley will instead play Centerville, with Keota and Lone Tree playing at 7:30 p.m.

All four teams are scheduled to return to the floor on Saturday night. The losers from Friday will play at 6 p.m., and Friday’s two winners will face off at 7:30 p.m. for the tournament championship.

The Pekin girls will hit the road for their season opener. The Panthers will play at Oskaloosa, with the varsity game starting at 8 p.m.

WACO and Cardinal will both be hosting scrimmage games, with girls games starting at 6 p.m., and boys games starting at 7:30 p.m. WACO will host Wapello in both games. Cardinal will host the Sigourney girls and the Oskaloosa boys.