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Posted On: 11/15/17 2:12 PM
The Teams (2016-17 teams in parenthesis)
Belle Plaine (16-7): After a very decent campaign last winter, the Plainsmen will look to duplicate that success without its top two scorers. Junior Garrett Straight will take the reins this season, and will be helped out substantially by Joe Eichhorn Dylan Fry and Trevin Straight.
English Valleys (1-22): Last season’s senior-laden squad could muster just one win, and it could be tough sledding again this winter for the Bears. Leading scorer Braydon Fisher is back, though, so there’s some reason to be optimistic.
Iowa Valley, Marengo (6-15): Not one of the 12 guys who suited up last season graduated, and that alone should result in more wins for the Tigers this season. They should even finish up near the top of the East division.
Keota (17-6): The always-good Eagles will again look to finish in the upper echelon of the conference this season with senior Hunter Wilson leading the way. Look our for a breakout season from sophomore JD Stout.
Sigourney (6-18): Though last season may have been rough for the Savages, things are looking up this year. Their three top scorers are back; Dustin Haines and Co. will start their season with a tough test on Nov. 28th at perennial top-dog, Keota.
Tri County-Thornburg (6-16): It’s Cameron Krumm’s turn to take the reins, and he’ll do his best to keep the Trojans competitive, despite them losing three of their top four scorers from a season ago. Their season begins on a Monday, No. 27th, at Moravia.
Projected Order of Finish
Analysis: Keota is always a top-dog, and this year shouldn’t be any different. It’s a program that never really rebuilds, but rather, reloads. Teams like Iowa Valley, Marengo and Sigourney can be considered upstart programs, they both have a lot of talent returning from last season’s sub-par squads, but we don’t expect them to dethrone the Eagles.
Preseason Player of the Year: Hunter Wilson, Keota (2018)
The five top scorers from a season ago in the conference were seniors, and Wilson is next in line to potentially bring home a scoring title. He’ll get it done on both sides of the ball for the Eagles, and will look to lead them to yet another East division crown.
Biggest Sleeper: Trevin Straight, Belle Plaine (2020)
The sophomore could have a breakout season. And especially after getting some valuable experience as a frosh last winter, there’s no reason to expect he shouldn’t make substantial contributions for the Plainsmen this season. With a couple of top seniors graduating last year, there will certainly be ample opportunity for him to do so.