CHAMPIONSHIP: Valley 59, Dowling 49
In an all West Des Moines battle for the title, Valley and Dowling played a tightly contested game, before a late surge by the Tigers — and some clutch free throw shooting by Turner Scott — sealed the victory.
The rivalry game, unlike most of the others, was played as if it were a regular season match-up, and it was a slug-fest in the first half that ended with Dowling up 18-17.
The second half was more electric, and Valley's 2016 guard Pete Economos was an unsung hero, knocking in multiple 3s, and coming up big on defense to aid the team to victory.
Carlo Marble's back-to-back 3s were thwarted by Sam Ingoli's eight straight points for Dowling, but the two were both marvelous in the second half.
Turner Scott, though not hitting from outside, was the best player on the floor in this one. And between breaking ankles, and running the offense with great precision, Scott proved why he could be an all-state point guard next season.
MVP, Turner Scott (5'9 PG) Valley
His handles are top-notch, and his quickness allows him to get to the lane, where he is fearless and skilled at scoring. He's as clutch as anyone in the state, and remains calm always — basically a coaches dream. He'll be fun to watch next season.
Ankeny Centennial 52, Dubuque Hempstead 42
Ankeny Centennial's starting lineup was nearly unrecognizable from last year's all-star cast, but the new guys seem perfectly capable of holding their own.
It's 2017 wing Connor Kasperbauer who seems most likely to take the reigns as the team's leader, while 2016 post Chase Edwards is a guy who can carry some weight down low.
Centennial led comfortably throughout in this one, and used some stifling team defense — very well orchestrated — to achieve success.
Hempstead was lead by 2016 guard Ryan McDonough who was aggressive offensively, and could blossom into a star during his senior season.
It was an all-around sloppy game offensively, mostly because of the combative defense. Centennial walked off the court with a 9th place finish as winners of the consolation bracket.
MVP, Connor Kasperbauer (6'4 SG) Ankeny Centennial
The rangy sharpshooter was on-point on both ends of the floor. He'll have a summer with All Iowa Attack Nike under his belt before returning for his junior season to lead the Jaguars.
Dubuque Hempstead 51, Council Bluffs Lincoln 38
Council Bluffs Lincoln entered this tournament as one of the favorites to compete for a title. But after a tough opening round loss against Valley, they were cast to the losers bracket and faced a tough Hempstead team, faltering again.
The Mustangs are without eight of their nine leading scorers from a season ago, including top-scorer Robert Duax.
However, there is new batch of Duaxs waiting in the wings, and they were on full display in this game.
2018 point guard Lucas Duax is a poised player who can manage a team, and does it well. And 2017 wing Connor Duax is a 6'5 sharpshooter who can get any shot off and knock it in with consistency.
Lincoln was led by 6-foot-7 big-man Tony Bonner, who was easily the most dominating player in this game.
MVP, Tony Bonner (6'7, PF) Council Bluffs Lincoln
It's evident that the Lynx big-man has been crafting his skills this offseason with Martin Brothers, particularly on the defensive end. He was a human eraser in the early going and opponents learned their lesson, and after were electing to shy away from the rim when Bonner was present. His post game looked more refined, and he was scoring at will. He could be an all-state guy next season.
Dowling 70, Waukee 54
Dowling will reload rather than rebuild from last season's pseudo-successful 15-8 squad.
They cruised into the finals behind strong efforts from sophomore starting guard Sam Ingoli and senior up-and-comer Stevie Sarcone.
Ted Brown was at times dominating the suddenly-small Waukee front line, as he had five inches on their tallest opponent. Brown was also the beneficiary of elite vision by Ingoli — those two could be a lethal combo next winter.
Waukee has gone from one of the biggest teams in the state, to probably one of the smallest. Micheal Winger's stroke looked strong as usual and Drew Johnson emerged as a guy that can handle some of the scoring load left void by Jacobson and Nelson.
MVP, Sam Ingoli (6'4 PG) Dowling
Ingoli looked much more engaged than he does when he plays 15U grassroots ball. His vision was once again on full-display, and big-man Ted Brown could see his scoring average skyrocket because of it.
Valley 77, North 70
We knew Valley would be good, especially with Carlo Marble coming back after spending a year in Michigan — but Des Moines North was a mystery.
It's just one game in June, but it seems North is poised to be a contender in the CIML, and could compete for a Metro title.
Promise Academy transfer Jal Bijek, and former Woodward Academy star Dontre English have joined the team. But that's not it, Ben Hayes comes back after a strong junior season, and the emergence of a dazzling 2019 point guard Tyreke Locure could be critical to the Polar Bears' success.
Still, Valley was the better team here, and its 5-foot-9 point guard Turner Scott never ceases to dazzle. He was money in this game, hitting every open look from 3, and getting to the rim with ease, finishing often.
Charlie Crowley could be the X-factor for the Tigers, he uses his medium-build 6-foot-7 frame well, and is much improved from a season ago. He and 2017 Quinton Curry will be a nice duo in the paint.
MVP, Turner Scott (5'9 PG) Valley
Scott is a prolific shooter, with elite quickness and a nice handle. He was dazzling in this game and almost always is when we see him. He will vie for CIML player of the year next season.
Ankeny 80, Iowa City West 79
Maybe this will be a wake-up call for the supremely talented Iowa City West guys, or maybe Ankeny is just this good. I'm going with the former. And though Ankeny was impressive, in particular 2017 Drew Maschoff — who lit up the Trojans with five 3s, including a contested game-winner– I'm going to say if these teams played 10 times, West wins at least eight of them.
The Trojans held a 17 point lead at one point in the first half, and that was slowly salted away as the Hawks were drilling often from long-range — they were well into double-digit 3s by games end.
Maschoff's look at the end to win the game was simply marvelous. He created his own look, and with a step-back dribble connected on a contested 24-footer — his team down two with 9 ticks to play.
The Hawks pseudo-court storm after the game was something you don't see often in June — but why not? You just beat the overwhelming favorites to win 2016's 4A title.
MVP, Drew Maschoff (6'1 G) Ankeny
We first jumped on the Maschoff wagon in May at Kings of the Court Classic, he was sensational then. He looks like a guy who could be a bonafide star in the CIML next year, and vie for all-state his senior year. He's money from downtown, and clutch, with handles tighter than anyone around.