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Iowa high school girls basketball rankings (11/27/2023)

Johnston, Dowling lead first Iowa girls prep basketball rankings of the season
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Johnston, last season's Class 5A state runner-up, heads SBLive's initial all-class girls basketball rankings of the season, while West Des Moines Dowling, Ankeny Centennial, Davenport North and Solon round out the top five. 

1. Johnston Last year: 24-2 

Dragons finished second in 5A to Pleasant Valley last year and return three starters along with 6-foot-1 Des Moines North junior transfer Amani Jenkins, who averaged nearly 20 points and 12 rebounds last season. 

2. West Des Moines Dowling Last year: 20-5

Maroons reached the 5A semifinals last year and return Creighton commit Ava Zediker, a junior who averaged 19.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists.

3. Ankeny Centennial Last year: 18-7

Jaguars advanced to the 5A semifinals last year and have already beaten defending 5A champ Pleasant Valley 44-40, as junior Tillie Smith led a balanced attack with 12 points.

4. Davenport North Last year: 21-3

Iowa commit Journey Houston (19.8 ppg) and Divine Bourrage (13.7 ppg) are back for their junior years after leading the Wildcats to the 5A state tournament last year.

5. Solon Last year: 23-3

Spartans lost by two in the semis to eventual 3A champ Sioux Center last year, and return Iowa commit Callie Levin. They've already beaten two-time defending 2A champ Dike-New Hartford, 49-48.

6. Dike-New Hartford Last year: 26-1

All-stater Payton Petersen had 29 points and 10 rebounds in the one-point loss to Solon this year, and they also return her all-state sister, Jadyn.

7. Pleasant Valley Last year: 26-0

Spartans return four starters from last year's 5A champs, but have dropped an early one to Ankeny Centennial this season.

8. Clear Creek-Amana Last year: 18-5

Clippers return four starters from last year's 4A quarterfinalist, led by senior Ava Locklear, who averaged 13.8 points and 10.1 rebounds last season.

9. North Linn Last year: 23-2

Lynx return their top three scorers from last year's 1A semifinalist in Kamryn Kurt, Macy Boge and Molly Boge. They have lost to Clear Creek-Amana 45-44 early this season.

10. Ankeny Last year: 12-11

Hawks have already notched a big 60-55 overtime win over Cedar Falls this year, with Karsen Jacks leading the way with 30 points and nine rebounds.

11. Estherville-Lincoln Central Last year: 24-1

Junior Haylee Stokes is one of the state's top all-around players. She averaged 20.6 points, 5.9 assists, 5.0 steals and 4.6 rebounds last year for the 3A quarterfinalists.

12. Sioux City East Last year: 17-5

Black Raiders return all five starters and are led by gifted sophomore Trishelle Miller, who averaged 20.3 points and 4.0 assists as a freshman.

13. Cedar Falls Last year: 15-7

Grace Knutson leads the Tigers after averaging 21.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists last year. She had 24 points and six steals in an early overtime loss to Ankeny this year.

14. Dallas Center-Grimes Last year: 23-3

Reigning 4A champs graduated top scorers Emma Miner and Finley Fitzgerald, but still have back plenty of firepower to contend.

15. Waukee Last year: 11-12

Warriors graduated just one senior and are expecting big things this year. They nearly pulled a massive upset in a regional final last year, falling to Waterloo West by one.

16. Waukee Northwest Last year: 8-13

A talented freshman class combined with some other strong returnees give the Wolves high hopes for a big move up this year. They opened with a 76-point win over Des Moines Lincoln.

17. Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Last year: 24-1

Rockets welcome back four starters from last year's 2A quarterfinalists, including juniors Molly Shafer and Ava Eastlick, who averaged 16.2 and 15.3 points, respectively, last season.

18. Newell-Fonda Last year: 24-3

Perennial 1A power Mustangs lost to Algona Garrigan in the championship game last year, and return three of their top four scorers.

19. Ballard Last year: 19-4

Bombers reached the 4A semifinals last year and return one of the state's most versatile players in Alliyah Thompson, who led her team in points, rebounds, steals and blocks last year.

20. West Des Moines Valley Last year: 15-9

Senior Elise Jaeger will be counted on heavily for the Tigers again this year. She led the team in points (12.7), rebounds (9.1) and steals (2.9) last season.

21. Mason City Last year: 14-7

Mohawks have high hopes with the return of all five starters, including senior Reggi Spotts, who averaged 17.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists.

22. Dubuque Wahlert Last year: 18-7

Class 3A state qualifiers last year return four of their top five scorers, including junior Claire Lueken, who averaged 13.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists.

23. Panorama Last year: 22-3

Panthers have all five starters back from last year's Class 2A state qualifier, which lost in the quarterfinals to eventual runner-up Central Lyon.

24. Waverly-Shell Rock Last year: 16-7

Go-Hawks have four starters back this season, including 6-foot-1 senior Katelyn Eggena, who averaged 16.0 points and 8.9 rebounds.

25. Southeast Polk Last year: 15-8

Rams figure to be in the mix in 5A this year. Alyssa Bartlett has averaged 20.5 points in her first two outings, hitting all 16 of her free-throw attempts.

-- Kevin White 

Photo by Matthew Putney