Posted On: 02/15/17 2:45 PM
The favorite: Tied for the best record in Class 2A at 20-1, Van Meter has used a stifling defense to carry them to the top seed in this district. Allowing just 44 points a game, good for 4th in the class, the Bulldogs have a tremendous amount of size for a 2A team, featuring a pair of 6-8 players in junior Grant Johnson (9.0, 59 blocks) and sophomore Ryan Schmitt (11.4, 38 blocks). Six players average at least 7.2 points, and none more than 11.4, making this an extremely balanced team without a single player to key in on. Blake Fryar (41.5 3P% on 82 3PA), Mitchell Pomeroy (50.0 3P% on 88 3PA) and JJ Durflinger (47.7 3P% on 65 3PA) provide some perimeter shooting around the dynamic interior duo, making this a very difficult team to defend.
The biggest threat: Central Decatur split their season series with Interstate 35, with each winning at home. Playing at a neutral site, we’ll give the slight edge to the team that has had more time to prepare, and should have the best player on the floor. Led by Carter Boothe (16.8, 7.4 assists), the Cardinals have won seven straight entering the postseason, and boast the No. 8 scoring defense in 2A, allowing just 45.9 points a game.
The dark horse: Three players average in double figures Interstate 35, led by Brennan McCuddin (13.5) and Chris Godfrey (13.3). The Roadrunners split their season series with Central Decatur, and while they haven’t had as much time to prep as the Cardinals have, this is a conference opponent who they should know plenty about.
Players to watch
Grant Johnson, Van Meter, 2018
Ryan Schmitt, Van Meter, 2019
Blake Fryar, Van Meter, 2018
Carter Boothe, Central Decatur, 2018
Brennan McCuddin, Interstate 35, 2017
The favorite: AHSTW, Avoca split their season series with Underwood, and swept Treynor, the two teams that could come out of the bottom half of the bracket. The Vikings have lost just once since December 13th, a February 2nd loss to Underwood. Led by R.J. Harris (18.0), this is an efficient team that shoots above 50% from the floor collectively, and ranks No. 3 in 2A in scoring offense, putting up 74.2 a game, while holding teams to 49.7, good for 13th. With an easier semifinal tilt, give the edge to Avoca in this district.
The biggest threat: Underwood split their season series with both Treynor and AHSTW, and have lost just twice since the holiday break (including wins over both Treynor and AHSTW). Isaiah Humphrey (21.8, 51.2 FG%) is a big-time scorer who can take over a game, as he did in their last game against AHSTW, scoring 34. The Eagles get solid production out of the rest of their starters as well, with each averaging at least 7.7 points. If Humphrey is able to have another big night, this group could certainly play for a trip to state.
The dark horse: The No. 10 defensive team in 2A, allowing just 47.9 points a game, Treynor has been a perennially strong program that is dangerous come postseason time. The Cardinals split with semifinal opponent Underwood, and have a big scorer in Dillon Faubel (18.5) who is capable of taking over a game. Treynor shot just 3-21 from deep in the loss to Underwood, and if they can correct that a bit, they’ve got a chance at playing for the district title.
Players to watch
R.J. Harris, AHSTW, Avoca, 2018
Rhett Welsh, AHSTW, Avoca, 2017
Isaiah Humphrey, Underwood, 2017
Dillon Faubel, Treynor, 2018
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Van Meter vs. AHSTW, Avoca
One of the state’s stingiest defensive teams, Van Meter uses their size to slow this game down and take AHSTW out of their comfort zone. The Bulldogs punch their ticket to state in a tight one.