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Posted On: 03/3/17 6:00 PM
No. 1 Seed: Western Christian (21-2)
About: After winning last season’s 2A title behind dominant big-man Josh Van Lingen, the Wolfpack come into this season the favorites (based upon seeding) to win it again — but this time behind a star guard. Senior point guard Ben Gesink has been tremendous this season for Western Christian, which brings plenty of pedigree to the tourney; this is the Wolfpack’s 20th trip to the State Tournament.
Why they can win it all? They have a star player (Gesink) with lots of experience — that could take them a long way. Several others from last year’s state title roster are back too, including; Jesse Jansma, Tyson Kooima and Caleb Harmsen.
Chances they win it all: 18%. This is a balanced and loaded field; so despite being the top-seed with plenty po experience, the Wolfpack are not overwhelming favorites.
No. 2 Seed: Pella Christian (22-2)
About: Levi Jungling and Co. are back and nobody is surprised. They come in hot, winners of eight straight. What’s especially impressive is they won their substate final against Highland, Riverside by 39 points, 72-33.
Why they can win it all? The Eagles finished second behind crosstown rival Pella in an extraordinarily tough Little Hawkeye Conference, which is mostly 3A. And if they can compete and succeed in that gauntlet, they can certainly do plenty of damage in a 2A field.
Chances they win it all: 15%. They have Jungling to run the show, and he’s a playmaker and game-changer. David Kacmarynki is big and skilled enough to make a big difference in the paint. The Eagles have a decent shot of winning this thing.
No. 3 Seed: Kuemper Catholic (22-2)
About: The Knights pushed their win-streak to double-digits with their emphatic 67-49 substate win over Alta-Aurelia. Matt Dentlinger is the main attraction here, the 6-foot-7 small forward is headed to D1 South Dakota State next season as a preferred walk-on.
Why they can win it all? The Knights won at Atlantic and at Glenwood early in the season, so they have proven they can beat very quality 3A teams, now they just have to beat very quality 2A teams; simple, right?
Chances of winning is all: 18%. In addition to Dentlinger, the Knights have a super supporting cast that has played a ton of quality opponents this season, and beaten them.
No.4 Seed: Cascade, Western Dubuque (22-2)
About: Another mainstay at the State Tournament, this is the Cougars’ third straight trip to Des Moines. This time though, they’ll be without big-man Devin Green, and will rely on a young stable of guards to lead the way.
Why they can win it all? They are balanced, and don’t rely on just one guy to do all the scoring. If Johnny Supple is having an off night, there’s three other guys that can step-up. Plus they are the best defensive team in the field.
Chances of winning it all? 10%. It’s like the old saying goes: defense wins championships.
No. 5 Seed: Camanche (22-2)
About: The Indians will bring a fast-paced style of play to the tournament. They averaged 76 points per game this season, that’s tops in the 2A field. This is the team that’s most likely to produce triple-doubles.
Why they can win it all? They have shooters, some size and score more than anyone else in the field. If they are hot, they are dangerous.
Chances of winning it all? 10% They’re a long shot, but if they score their season of average of 76.o points every game, we’re guessing they’ll go home champs.
No. 6 Seed: Garner-Hayfield-Ventura (23-1)
About: They have a legitimate Division I prospect with 6-foot-6 combo-forward James Betz; wait until you see the big and bouncy sophomore get off the floor. The Cardinals’ average margin of victory was 23 points, and they beat a very good Osage team in substate to get here.
Why they can win it all: They’ve lost just once this season, to Osage back in December, and they’ve beaten 3A state qualifier Forest City twice — the Cardianls are no slouch.
Chances of winning it all? 12%. Like Cascade, Western Dubuque, the Cardinals are a well-balanced team, and if Betz is shut-down, they have several other scoring options. And the Cardinals sport the second best defensive average in the field (43.6)
No. 7 Seed: Van Meter (23-1)
About: After starting the season 18-0, the Bulldogs faced Pella Christian in a Saturday non-conference, and that would be their only loss up to this point. In reality, Van Meter may be a year ahead of schedule, they start no seniors. And wait until you see the skilled twin towers; Ryan Schmitt and Grant Johnson both go 6-foot-8.
Why they could win it all? They have more size than anyone in the field with Schmitt and Johnson, and a wealth of stable guards that can handle the ball and knock down triples.
Chances of winning it all? 8%. In this very loaded and very even field, everyone has a shot. So even though the eight percent is low, it’s not out of the question.
No. 8 Seed: South Hamilton (22-2)
About: It’s all about the Hills. Senior Collin Hill has been one of Iowa’s best this season. sophomore Conner Hill is a stock-riser on 2019. And dad, Nathan Hill, is at the helm as head coach. Throw in dazzling point guard Marco Balderas and you got a legitimate threat at the eight-seed.
Why they could win it all? Balderas is one of the state’s best junior point guards, with uncanny vision and an ability to orchestrate and offense to perfection. Conner Hill is a lights out shooter, and Collin is 6-foot-5 and can do a little bit of everything.
Chances of winning it all? 8%. Like Van Meter, the Hawks have the least favorable odds to win it all, but in a balanced and loaded field they still have a chance. There are no weaklings in the 2A field this season.
Quarterfinals: Western Christian, Cascade, Pella Christian, Kuemper
Semifinals: Western Christian, Pella Christian
Champion: Pella Christian
Quarterfinals: Western Christian, Camanche, Van Meter, G-H-V
Semifinals: Western Christian, G-H-V
Quarterfinals: Western Christian, Camanche, Pella Christian, G-H-V
Champion: Western Christian