The ninth annual Dearrel Bates Mississippi River Shootout will go a long way to determining who's who in the Quad-Cities girls' basketball scene.|
The Illinois girls hold a 7-0-1 record in the meetings, only tying in 2010.
Rock Island and Assumption play the premiere game at Black Hawk College at 7 p.m., but the rest of the matchups are pretty intriguing, too.
Seeing highlights and reading about the teams in the paper can only go so far. Saturday they get to prove who is the best.
"It's kind of fun to be able to come together and root for the other Illinois schools to win," Moline coach Steve Ford said. "It brings a different kind of interest, too. People get excited about these kind of games."
Ford's Maroons, Rock Island and Assumption all have six wins in the history of the challenge.
"It's good to get a local flavor," UT coach Justin Shiltz said. "We know the other teams, we just don't get to play them, so Saturday is a great opportunity."
Shiltz's Panthers play Pleasant Valley in the penultimate game of the day, while Moline takes on Bettendorf in the afternoon.
Rockridge and Davenport North kick things off at 10 a.m., with games scheduled 90 minutes apart. Alleman and Davenport West will tangle at 11:30 and Sherrard and Davenport Central tip at 1 p.m. Orion and North Scott will play following the Moline-Bettendorf 2:30 game.
One strange scheduling quirk always makes this day of basketball interesting.
The Illinois teams are all coming out of holiday tournaments where they've played game after game between Christmas and the New Year.
The Iowa schools take three weeks off and have their first games since the first week of December tonight.
"That can go either way, though," Ford said. "Sometimes coming off a long break you're ready to go."
Assumption is the gem of the Iowa Quad-Cities girls' hoops scene. Last year's state champs are widely expected to repeat this year as Iowa has expanded the girls' tournament to five classes. The Davenport public schools have failed to be competitive recently and are a combined 5-16 in the shootout thanks to North going 4-3. North Scott hasn't fared better, going 1-5 in shootout history, but is rebuilding with a young team under veteran coach Todd Borrison.
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