STATE TOURNAMENT: Monday Preview

High School
Iowa

Posted On: 03/5/17 7:41 PM

Joe Smoldt is averaging 30.5 points a game for G-R
Joe Smoldt is averaging 30.5 points a game for G-R

1A Quarterfinal: No. 4 Gladbrook-Reinbeck (24-2) vs. No. 5 Lynnville-Sully (24-1), 10:30 a.m.

Analysis: The state tournament starts off with an interesting contrast in styles, with Gladbrook-Reinbeck ranking fourth in 1A in scoring offense (69.3 points a game) and Lynnville-Sully ranking fourth in scoring defense (39.2). Both teams enter the tournament hot, with Gladbrook-Reinbeck having won 16 straight and Lynnville-Sully 20.

The Rebels are led by Joe Smoldt, the best player in the 1A field. The smooth scoring guard has twice been named the all-tournament MVP here, and he’s having his best season of his career, averaging 30.5 points a game on 53-50-86 shooting splits. Caden Kickbush (11.9) and Tyler Pierce (10.2) provide some additional scoring punch.

Lynnville-Sully has traditionally been a very strong defensive team, routinely ranking among the top five in 1A in scoring defense. This season has been no exception, holding teams to 30 or fewer points eight times this season. That task will be much more difficult against Smoldt and company. The Hawks have become a more potent offensive team than previous years, with four players averaging in double figures, led by Jesse Van Wyk (12.5). They excel at attacking the rim, but they’ll likely need to knock down some 3s to keep pace here.

Players to watch
Gladbrook-Reinbeck: Joe Smoldt (No. 13 in ’17)
Lynnville-Sully: Jesse Van Wyk (No. 139 in ’18), Brevin Hansen (No. 143 in ’18), Rylan James (No. 71 in ’19)

Our pick: Gladbrook-Reinbeck 65, Lynnville-Sully 56

 

jake-hilmer
Jake Himer is a stat-sheet stuffing point guard for the top-seeded Lynx

1A Quarterfinal: No. 1 North Linn (25-0) vs. No. 8 Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto (18-7), 12:15 p.m.

Analysis: Top seeded North Linn has blasted teams by an average of 41 points en route to a perfect 25-0 record entering tournament play. The Lynx are led by sophomore point guard Jake Hilmer, a stat-sheet stuffing playmaker averaging 21.7 points, 10.2 assists and 4.6 steals a game. He leads a potent offense that is shooting 53.3% from the floor and 40% from 3. Ryan Miller (19.0) and David Seber (15.8) are great running mates alongside Hilmer. The second highest scoring team in 1A at 78.8 points a game, the Lynx have been slowed down a bit during the postseason by teams, something Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto will need to do to keep this one competitive.

MV-A-O navigated through arguably the most difficult district and substate to reach Wells Fargo Arena, riding a top-notch defense to string together the necessary wins. The Rams have a trio of double figure scorers, led by Colby Seuntjens (18.5), an efficient 6-3 wing who has shown the ability to score from anywhere. If he and Connor Beeck (43.6 3P%) are able to get hot from the arc, they may be able to keep pace with the Lynx.

Players to watch
North Linn: Ryan Miller (No. 81 in ’18), Jake Hilmer (No. 6 in ’19), David Seber (No. 59 in ’19)
Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto: Colby Suentjens (No. 146 in ’18)

Our pick: North Linn 62, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto 49

 

Ben Dentlinger is averaging 15-11-4 for New London
Ben Dentlinger is averaging 15-11-4 for New London

1A Quarterfinal: No. 3 St. Mary’s, Remsen (24-0) vs. No. 6 New London (21-3), 2:00 p.m.

Analysis: The other undefeated team remaining in 1A is St. Mary’s, Remsen, a solid defensive team that is allowing just 42 points a game. In another game of contrasting styles, they’ve drawn New London here, a team averaging 69.2 points a game, good for sixth in 1A.

St. Mary’s has an efficient offense, shooting 51.0% from the floor, led by 6-4 forward Nicholas Ruden (15.3). He also leads the team in rebounding and blocks. The Hawks get some solid production out of Colin Schroeder (12.0) and Jacob Wesselmann (11.3) as well. The dual-point guard lineup has dished out 161 assists on the year to just 77 turnovers. Wesselmann (38.9 3P%) has proven to be a solid 3-point shooter as well.

New London played a large chunk of the season without their best player, Ben Dentlinger. The Wayne State commit is averaging 15.1 points, 11.2 rebounds and 4.3 blocks a game for the Tigers, using his 6-5 frame and athleticism to make plays all over the floor. Mason Porter (19.5) is the team’s leading scorer, a highly physical and athletic combo guard who excels at attacking the rim. The rest of the team is balanced, with four players averaging between 6.8 and 9.8 points a game, giving the Tigers a potent and balanced offensive attack.

Players to watch
St. Mary’s, Remsen: Jacob Wesselmann (No. 168 in ’17), Colin Schroeder (No. 196 in ’17), Nicholas Ruden (No. 117 in ’18)
New London: Ben Dentlinger (No. 24 in ’17), Mason Porter (No. 14 in ’19), Keontae Luckett (No. 65 in ’19), Isaac McSorley (No. 75 in ’19)

Our pick: New London 58, Remsen, St. Mary’s 54

 

Grant DeMeulenaere is averaging a team-high 19 points for GVC
Grant DeMeulenaere is averaging a team-high 19.7 points for GVC

1A Quarterfinal: No. 2 Grand View Christian (24-1) vs. No. 7 West Hancock (19-6), 3:45 p.m.

Analysis: The highest scoring team in Class 1A is Grand View Christian at 88.3 points a game. The Thunder have run off 24 straight wins after a season opening loss to 3A power Pella. They’ll be looking to have a better showing than last year’s quarterfinal against South O’Brien in which they scored just 32 points and only took three 2-point attempts.

Grant DeMeulenaere (19.7), the Thunder’s leading scorer, was injured last season and a healthy point guard should make a difference here. He’s dished out 178 assists on the year, pacing the state’s highest scoring attack. Stephen Glenn (16.1), Arturo Montes (12.5) and Mach Nyaw (12.4) all provide different things on the floor, and this group goes as deep as anyone in the class. If they’re able to dictate tempo, something they were unable to do last year, they’ll force tons of turnovers and be really tough to beat.

West Hancock is led by a duo of players who made major impacts on last year’s state qualifying team in Dylan Eckels (17.7) and Seth Weiland (12.6). Weiland, a 6-7 center, is one of the state’s most unique players. He’s knocked down 61 3s (39.1 3P%) and blocked 128 shots on the year. According to BC Moore’s power rankings, the Eagles have played the most difficult schedule in the 1A field. This should be an entertaining game, but we’re not sure if West Hancock has the tools to slow down the potent Grand View Christian offense.

Players to watch
Grand View Christian: Stephen Glenn (No. 47 in ’17), Augustine Saliu (No. 244 in ’17), Grant DeMeulenaere (No. 48 in ’18), Arturo Montes (No. 54 in ’19), Mach Nyaw (No. 79 in ’19), Sam Glenn (No. 91 in ’19), Bryce Crabb (No. 105 in ’19)
West Hancock: Seth Weiland (No. 134 in ’17), Dylan Eckels (No. 169 in ’17)

Our pick: Grand View Christian 73, West Hancock 61

 

Ben Gesink averages a team-high 16 points for defending champion Western Christian
Ben Gesink averages a team-high 15 points for defending champion Western Christian

2A Quarterfinal: No. 1 Western Christian (21-2) vs. No. 8 South Hamilton (22-2), 6:35 p.m.

Analysis: Defending champion and perennial power Western Christian enters the 2A tournament as the top seeded team, and has a tough matchup against a very good South Hamilton team to start it off.

Traditionally a team with lots of size, the Wolfpack are much different, more guard oriented this year. They’re led by Ben Gesink (15.2) and Tyson Kooima (14.0), a talented guard tandem that can score in bunches. They’ve played the second toughest schedule in the 2A field, according to BC Moore’s power rankings, and that should come in handy here. They’re very good defensively, very well coached and will be extremely tough to knock off.

South Hamilton has the star power to do some damage here. Led by Truman State commit Collin Hill (22.4), the Hawks are an efficient offense, shooting 51.2% from the floor. Marco Balderas (12.7, 145 assists) is as solid a floor general as there is in the field and Conner Hill (11.5, 42.4 3P%) has proven to be one of the best perimeter defenders around. They will put up a strong fight here.

Players to watch
Western Christian: Ben Gesink (No. 61 in ’17), Tyson Kooima (No. 164 in ’17), Jesse Jansma (No. 171 in ’17)
South Hamilton: Collin Hill (No. 17 in ’17), Marco Balderas (No. 49 in ’18), Conner Hill (No. 33 in ’19), Logan Peters (No. 94 in ’19)

Our pick: Western Christian 68, South Hamilton 63

 

CascadeWesternDubuque
Cascade has given Camanche both their losses this season

2A Quarterfinal: No. 4 Cascade (22-2) vs. No. 5 Camanche (22-2)

Analysis: Conference rivals are meeting for the third time this season in this quarterfinal. Cascade has won the first two meetings of the year, 66-58 and 60-54. In those two games, Camanche, the highest scoring team in 2A, shot just 34.3% from the floor (they shot 46.6% in all other games).

Camanche averages 76 points a game, with four players averaging in double figures, led by Dakota Soenksen (18.7). Dylan Hundley (15.9, 11.2 rebounds) is a walking double-double, and the backcourt tandem of Cameron Soenksen (14.0) and Dev Patel (12.4) provide additional scoring punch. They’re very reliant on the 3-ball, launching 201 more attempts from the arc than any other team in the 2A field. With their up-tempo style and propensity to launch 3s from anywhere on the court, things can either go very right or very wrong in the bigger arena and longer floor.

Cascade is arguably the worst matchup for Camanche in the field, with a very good 2-3 zone that is highly disciplined and has given the Indians problems in both meetings this season. The Cougars also have four averaging in double figures, led by Johnny Supple (11.7), a long, rangy wing who can make plays on both ends of the floor. Gannon O’Brien (41.6 3P%) and Brock Simon (43.1 3P%) are very good shooters who help space the floor.

Players to watch
Cascade: Johnny Supple (No. 46 in ’18), Gannon O’Brien (No. 102 in ’18), Brock Simon (No. 108 in ’18), Haris Hoffman (No. 73 in ’19)
Camanche: Dylan Hundley (No. 110 in ’17), Dakota Soenksen (No. 127 in ’17), Dev Patel (No. 132 in ’18), Cameron Soenksen (watch list in ’20)

Our pick: Cascade 57, Camanche 53