The Marshalltown Community College Student Activity Center hosts the final four teams of the NJCAA Region XI Division II women's basketball tournament starting tonight.
The top four seeds each advanced out of Tuesday's first round and set up tonight's matchups of No. 1-seed Kirkwood against No. 4 DMACC (6 p.m.), followed by No. 2 Southeastern facing No. 3 Iowa Central (8 p.m.).
Kirkwood (28-2) went undefeated during conference play and is at No. 4 in this week's NJCAA national rankings. DMACC enters with a 23-7 record.
Southeastern and Iowa Central split in league action and both have 26-5 overall records. Southeastern is led by the ICCAC's leading scorer Hanzaria Washington (22.6 ppg). Iowa Central features University of South Dakota signee Mika Rodewald (18.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game).
Saturday's championship game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. tip-off and the winner advances to the national tournament.
Southwest Minnesota State in NCAAs
MARSHALL, Minn. - Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men's basketball tournament champion Southwest Minnesota State has advanced to the NCAA Division II Central Region tournament.
The No. 4 seed Mustangs, with a 19-10 record and winners of nine of their last 10, face No. 5 Minnesota State University Moorhead (20-9) on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. CST in Golden, Colo. This marks the third NCAA tournament appearance for SMSU and the first since 2009. Last weekend's win in the NSIC championship game was the first for the program, which was 0-4 in NSIC finals previously.
Michael Appel, who played at Marshalltown High School and Marshalltown Community College, is a junior forward for Southwest Minnesota State. He has averaged 2.3 points in 13 games this winter.
Manning takes Gatorade state honor
Ankeny High School senior Maddie Manning has been selected as the 2011-12 Gatorade Iowa Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Manning averaged 16.6 points, 5 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.6 assists per game for the state runner-up Hawkettes. Manning was a four-year performer for Ankeny and the Hawkettes played at the state tournament all four seasons.
"Maddie Manning is one of the top players ever to come out of Iowa," said Urbandale head coach Mark Tiby. "Her skills have developed each year and she plays the game with ease. I believe her biggest asset is her attitude, sportsmanship and her demeanor."
Manning has signed to play collegiately at Oklahoma. She is No. 33 in the Class of 2012 in the Hoopgurlz ESPNU 100.
Briar Cliff advances at nationals
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. - Briar Cliff upset No. 11-seed Grace (Ind.) in the first round of the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship, 59-56, on Thursday night.
Jake Shipley, a West Marshall grad, finished with eight points, three rebounds, four steals, two blocks and two assists for Briar Cliff.
Earlier in the day, William Penn took No. 3 Davenport (Mich.) to overtime before falling 85-81 in overtime. Ross Howe, a West Marshall grad, had two points and six rebounds for William Penn.