Newell-Fonda is no longer ranked - and starting tonight, it's that part of the season where every coach will say ratings and records are thrown out the window anyway.
The Mustang girls (17-3), who were ranked as high as seventh in Class 1A this season, host St. Mary's (0-20) in a 1A Region 2 opener in Newell tonight at 7.
No. 2-seeded Newell-Fonda beat the Panthers twice this season, by an average of 71 points. They missed the century mark by just one point during a 79-point drubbing in the first meeting.
Top-seeded in N-F's bracket is No. 4 Ar-We-Va, the only ranked team in the region. The Rockets are 19-1, with their only loss coming to Logan-Magnolia, 64-62, back on Dec. 7.
They beat 2A East Sac County 67-42 on Nov. 29, while N-F lost to East Sac 68-49 on Jan. 24.
Also tonight, Alta (10-11) hosts Schaller-Crestland in a Region 2 battle of teams that tied for fourth place at 8-6 in the Northwest Conference; Aurelia goes to Galva-Holstein in Region 1; and Laurens-Marathon hosts Ruthven-Ayrshire in Region 4.
All of tonight's games start at 7.
The winners of the Alta-S-C and St. Mary's-N-F games meet up Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. in Newell in the district final. Two victories after that equals a trip to the girls state tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines Feb. 25-March 1.
N-F beat Alta this season by scores of 100-60 and 70-64. N-F topped S-C by scores of 68-40 and 92-55.
S-C topped Alta 49-44 in the teams' first meeting, while Alta got the best of the Wildcats in the second go-round, 59-53.
The Cyclones enter tonight's contest having won four of their last five games, including a 63-51 victory over the Northwest Conference's second-place team, Laurens-Marathon, on the road Tuesday.
In 2A, Sioux Central goes to Emmetsburg Saturday at 7 p.m. in a Region 1 district semifinal. The winner plays H-M-S or Okoboji Feb. 12 at Milford.
Storm Lake (7-13) opens 3A postseason play next Wednesday at No. 13 Spencer, with the winner to play MOC-FV or No. 4 Spirit Lake Feb. 16 back in Spencer.