Posted On: 02/15/17 8:40 PM
The favorite: One of just four remaining undefeated teams in the state, Ar-We-Va has gone 12-0 against teams in the district, including a season sweep over Exira/EH-K, the biggest competition in the district. The Rockets have a veteran team with six players averaging at least 7.6 points a game. Derek Schurke (13.7) leads the charge for this group, which is among the top 11 teams in 1A in both scoring offense (68.9, 8th) and scoring defense (44.4, 11th). With the way they’ve cruised through their schedule, and have already beaten any team in this district that is competition to them, consider them a fairly heavy favorite to make it through to the substate final.
The biggest threat: Winners of 11 of their last 14 games, Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton enters the postseason fairly hot. The Spartans have four players averaging in double figures, led by Drew Buckholdt (15.3, 57.0 FG%) and Dakota Rold (13.8), who is shooting an absurd 73% from the floor. Rold provides an interior presence on both ends, as he’s also blocked 48 shots this season. They were swept by Ar-We-Va, but anytime a team meets another for a third time, it gets interesting.
The dark horse: Boyer Valley played Ar-We-Va within single digits in both meetings this season, and the Bulldogs have a big-time scoring guard in Joe Weber (23.2), who is capable of taking over a game. This group has proven that they can play with the Rockets, the question is whether or not they can finally get over the hump.
Players to watch
Derek Schurke, Ar-We-Va, 2017
Drew Buckholdt, Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton, 2017
Dakota Rold, Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton, 2019
Joe Weber, Boyer Valley, 2018
Thomas Hensley, CAM, Anita, 2018
The favorite: Only a six-point loss to 4A Sioux City West in the final week of the season is preventing Siouxland Christian from entering the postseason on a 12-game winning streak. Yet to lose to a 1A team this season, the Eagles are led by dynamic scorer Christian Kyles (22.8). A smooth scorer and facilitator (123 assists), Kyles makes a major impact on both ends of the floor. Jeremiah Bor Khat (12.9), Ahmed Musa (11.6) and Goay Deang (9.9) provide some additional scoring punch for this group. They shouldn’t be tested in the upper half of this bracket, and should be well rested for the district final.
The biggest threat: Nobody in Class 1A plays a tougher schedule than Council Bluffs St. Albert, who doesn’t play a single 1A team during the regular season, which prepares them well for the postseason every year. Lots of experience is back from last year’s runners-up, led by Tyler Blaha (12.1), Jake Carley (11.8) and Matt Fagan (10.6). The Falcons are most definitely battle tested and won’t be intimidated by anyone in this district. Do they have the firepower to keep up with Siouxland Christian if their game turns into a track meet? That may be the biggest question here. It certainly wouldn’t surprise anyone if they come out of this district.
The dark horse: Despite being the lower seeded team, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto gets to host the district semifinal matchup against St. Albert. Colby Seuntjens (19.4), Juan Delagarza (13.6) and Connor Beeck (10.3) lead an efficient attack that shoots nearly 50% from the floor. Getting to play at home is a big edge and could come in handy here.
Players to watch
Christian Kyles, Siouxland Christian, 2017
Jeremiah Bor Khat, Siouxland Christian, 2018
Tyler Blaha, Council Bluffs St. Albert, 2018
Matt Fagan, Council Bluffs St. Albert, 2018
Jake Carley, Council Bluffs St. Albert, 2018
Colby Seuntjens, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto, 2018
Juan Delagarza, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto, 2017
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Ar-We-Va vs. Siouxland Christian
A tight game throughout, Siouxland Christian has the best player on the floor in Christian Kyles and gets the slightest edge here, sending them to state over previously unbeaten Ar-We-Va.