STORM LAKE - Saturday night's Northwest Conference girls basketball Jamboree at the Storm Lake High gym gave some area coaches an inkling of what kind of season to expect.
"We're looking for good things from this year's team," said Sioux Central coach Darren Piercy, whose Rebels stole the show Saturday night with a 37-33 win over Cherokee.
For other coaches, it was just a pre-season exhibition, and they'll learn more as their teams enter regular season play tonight.
That was the case with the Storm Lake High girls and coach Stacey VanDerSloot.
The Tornadoes were grouped into two teams, a team of junior varsity players and another of mostly varsity players.
The JV team beat the Pomeroy-Palmer varsity 20-12, while the Tornado varsity lost a 41-21 decision to Sac City.
"Splitting into two teams hurt us a little bit," VanDerSloot said Sunday night. "We had a couple of players gone because of other extra-curricular activities and neither team had much depth.
"I'm looking forward to our game at Alta Tuesday night when we have our whole team back," she added.
The Rebels, meanwhile, looked in midseason form Saturday, as senior off-guard Beth Ehlers poured in 18 points in two eight-minute quarters. She hit five three-point shots during that stretch.
Six-foot-2 senior Stef Madsen and junior forward Briana Scharn each added eight points.
Projected as a four-quarter game, the Rebels would have scored over 80 points.
"We were shooting the ball well and we were pleased with our offense," Piercy added. "We played mostly man to man on defense and have to work on that, but Cherokee is a good basketball team."
With Saturday's Jamboree win, Sioux Central established itself as the favorite in the Northwest Conference.
Storm Lake-St. Mary's and Newell-Fonda could pose a threat to the Rebels, however.
The Panthers, who, like the Rebels, return five starters, were edged 15-14 by Galva-Holstein. G-H's Emily Schlinz hit an 18-foot jumper with just seconds remaining for the win.
Post players Janie Imming and Maggie Lange led St. Mary's with four points each while Abby Richardson, Jess Lussman and Cassie Weaver each added two points.
Panther coach Ryan Berg wants his team to run the floor more this season than last, and said he liked what he saw in that respect Saturday.
"We still need to keep making good decisions on when to run and on our fast-break passing, but overall, I thought we ran the court well," he said.
Last season, the Panther girls' defense allowed just over 40 points per game, and defense was again a strong point Saturday.
"If we can play that kind of defense every night and improve our offensive production, we should be OK," Berg added. "We expect to see some improvement in our offense over the next couple of weeks."
Newell-Fonda, meanwhile, is coming off tough losses each of the past two years in the region finals. The Mustangs were upset last February by George Little Rock in a region final after holding the lead for much of the game.
Gone from that team are post players Jenn Schumann and Andrea Larsen and off-guard Kristen Culp.
Saturday night, the Mustangs were effective in a 33-31 win over a tall Manson NW Webster team.
The Alta girls, meanwhile, could be a factor in the Northwest Conference race. Saturday night, the Cyclones lost a 21-17 decision to Wall Lake View Auburn.
"I thought we were outstanding defensively," second-year Alta coach Jeannie Henningsen said Sunday night. "We still have some things to work on offensively. We didn't play badly for a first real varsity competition of the season."
Junior guard Jahde Hammer led Alta with nine points.
Aurelia might have drawn one of the toughest opponents Saturday night in its 24-9 loss to perennial powerhouse Rockwell City-Lytton.
In the Jamboree opener Saturday night, River Valley-Correctionville edged Schaller-Crestland, 19-17.