Posted On: 02/15/17 11:30 AM
The favorite: The top scoring team in the state, regardless of class, is Grand View Christian. The Thunder average north of 90 points a game, and have already beaten the biggest threat in the district, Ankeny Christian. That game was played at a much slower pace than the rest of GVC’s games have been, just a 55-46 win. Four players average in double figures for the Thunder, led by point guard Grant DeMeulenaere (20.6), who paces everything they do on both ends of the floor. He’s dished out 157 assists (compared to just 25 turnovers), as well as swiping 69 steals in their pressure-heavy defense. Stephen Glenn (16.4), Arturo Montes (12.8) and Mach Nyaw (12.0) round out the big scoring threats, but this is a group that has eight players who could realistically score in double digits any night. If Ankeny Christian is able to slow the pace way down again, they may have a chance, but it’ll take a great game plan to beat this explosive bunch.
The biggest threat: Ankeny Christian gave Grand View Christian their most difficult game of the year (outside of the loss to 3A Pella), slowing the game down considerably and trying to beat them that way. Drew Wilken (20.0), Griffin Laib (16.1) and Caleb Grizzle (12.7) give the Eagles three competent scoring threats, and we wonder if they’d be more willing to try and run with GVC this time around. If not, they’ll need to make the most of their chances in the halfcourt and likely try to get Grizzle involved as much as possible. The 6-7 sophomore is skilled inside and out and could cause some issues on the interior.
The dark horse: Trent Williamson (20.5) paces a good Earlham team that enters the postseason hot, having won nine of their last 10 games, with all but one of those wins coming against 2A competition. Williamson is a threat to score from anywhere on the floor and is capable of having a huge night. Joey Harkins has blocked 42 shots and gives them an interior presence that is necessary against both Ankeny Christian and Grand View Christian. It would take a big effort, and slowing the game down considerably, for the Cardinals to beat either of those teams, but they’ve got the pieces to do so.
Players to watch
Grant DeMeulenaere, Grand View Christian, 2018
Stephen Glenn, Grand View Christian, 2017
Mach Nyaw, Grand View Christian, 2019
Arturo Montes, Grand View Christian, 2019
Drew Wilken, Ankeny Christian, 2018
Griffin Laib, Ankeny Christian, 2017
Caleb Grizzle, Ankeny Christian, 2019
Trent Williamson, Earlham, 2019
Spencer Lamb, Nodaway Valley, 2019
Mason Gossman, East Union, 2017
The favorite: Fremont-Mills has gone 2-1 this season against the district’s other big gun, Stanton, so we’ll give them the slight edge here. The Knights are led by Sam Phillips (16.3), an undersized but physical forward who competes at a high level on the glass and can also facilitate a bit. Dalian Melgoza (10.5) and Carter Jennings (10.3) take some of the scoring pressure off of Phillips.
The biggest threat: The other contender in this district is Stanton, who enters the postseason with an 18-3 record. Two of those losses have come to Fremont-Mills. The Vikings boast one of the most balanced teams in 1A, ranking No. 12 in scoring offense (67.8) and No. 10 in defense (44.3). They’re led by Drake Johnson (21.1), an efficient forward who is shooting nearly 55% from the floor. Dillon Rocha (11.3, 9.5 rebounds) and Connor Hultman (9.9, 8.7 rebounds) do an excellent job on the glass. The Vikings won the last of the three meetings with Fremont-Mills, 55-49, a few weeks ago, so maybe that momentum can carry into the potential district final.
The dark horse: Bedford ended the regular season with an upset win over Stanton, behind a huge 30-point effort from freshman standout Brennan Sefrit (19.3). The Bulldogs have won three of four down the stretch, and have proven they can beat one of the top teams in this district.
Players to watch
Sam Phillips, Fremont-Mills, 2017
Drake Johnson, Stanton, 2019
Brennan Sefrit, Bedford, 2020
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Grand View Christian vs. Fremont-Mills
In all likelihood, Grand View Christian’s most difficult game in this substate will come in the district final against Ankeny Christian. The Thunder should roll against whoever comes out of District 14, and return to the state tournament for the second consecutive year.