Rock Island defeated Davenport North in the marquee game of the IHMVCU Shootout last Saturday night at Augustana College’s Carver Center.

The big winner was girls basketball in the Quad-Cities.

The Iowa-Illinois Shootout lacked an identity and had an uncertain future just 12 months ago. In a short span, event coordinator Gary Thrapp found a title sponsor and proved the girls can have an event that flourishes like the boys.

In fact, the crowd at the Carver Center for Saturday’s finale, estimated at almost 2,500, was larger than what the boys drew for the United Township-Bettendorf finale last month in the Genesis Shootout.

“The atmosphere was amazing,” Rock Island coach Thad Hoover said. “What an event this was for girls basketball here. I don’t know if I’ve been in here for a crowd bigger in any event.”

Sure, the girls might not get a dream matchup like Rock Island versus Davenport North in the near future. Still, the timing of this matchup couldn’t have come at a better time to help launch this event back on its feet.

Plus, the Hawkeye state breathed some life into it winning four of the seven games. It is the first time Iowa has had the upper-hand in the 11 times both states have been involved.

“Us Iowa schools are all sticking together because we take this pretty seriously and we want to win,” North Scott coach TJ Case said. “Nothing to take away from Illinois because that’s great basketball, but I think it’s about time for Iowa to take it over.”

Iowa was not even a participant in this event a year ago.

With Thrapp’s guidance, the IHMVCU Shootout has gained instant credibility. Thrapp deserves plenty of credit and will continue to grow the event.

And with Rock Island’s Brea Beal back for two more seasons, the Shootout has a bona fide star for fans in the surrounding area to come watch.

Bettendorf, North Scott and Pleasant Valley field rosters with plenty of underclassmen. That should keep Iowa competitive in the coming years.

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1,000 times three: Davenport North already has two 1,000-point career scorers in its girls basketball program with Jinaya Houston and Jacionna Stowers. The Wildcats could have a third relatively soon.

Junior Paige Bradford, the team’s second-leading scorer this season, has 871 career points going into Friday’s game at Burlington. The 6-foot-1 post needs to average just 11.7 points per game in the final 11 regular-season contests to reach that mark.

Houston is 42 points shy of 1,500 for her career and would be just the second player at North to reach that total behind all-time leading scorer Amber Harrington (2,035 points).

Houston and Stowers were among seven senior basketball players from Iowa recently nominated for the McDonald’s All-American game.

Balanced scoring: Muscatine’s Joe Wieskamp is the overwhelming scoring leader in the MAC at nearly the midway point at 27.4 points per game, more than 8 points more than the next player.

However, there are 22 others players in the conference averaging double figures.

Assumption, Clinton, Davenport Central and Davenport North each have three players recording at least 10 points per game.

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