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Posted On: 11/17/17 5:33 PM
The Teams (2016-17 record in parenthesis)
Central Springs (1-20): Even with five seniors in the starting lineup last season, the Panthers were able to muster just one win, a 56-33 shellacking of Northwood-Kensett. Things may get not get much better this season.
Nashua-Plainfield (7-16): Though last season may have been rough at times, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic in Nashua this winter. All five regular starters are back, including leading scorer Dayton Hansen.
Newman Catholic (15-8): Josh Fitzgerald was one of the conference’s best young guns last season, and now a wily vet, the junior guard looks to lead the Knights to a finish near the top.
North Butler (7-14): Its four stop scorers are back from a season ago, and the Bearcats will look to improve upon their seven wins behind preseason 1st-team all-conference senior Dylan Clipperton.
Northwood-Kensett (2-20): Even with one of the most productive players on the conference last season, Tom Fick, the Vikings finished near the bottom of the conference. With Fick now gone, someone else will need to fill the void; maybe Kole Parks?
Osage (22-2): Big things could be coming for the Green Devils, and not only are they one of the conference’s best squads, but one of the state’s best. Drew Olson is the Preseason Player of the Year, and Lucas Schwamann will help carry the load.
Rockford (13-9): The Warriors are led by one of the state’s most effective shooters, Zach Bushbaum; he canned 76 3s at a 43 percent clip last season. The rest of the team is back, too. Watch out for Rockford this winter.
Saint Angsar (16-8): It’ll be a new-look squad that takes the floor for the Saints, as their top six guys from a season ago have graduated. Expect junior Ethan Kirchgatter to lead the guys this season, but don’t expect them to win 16 games again.
West Fork (19-6): Always good, the Warhawks have been a mainstay atop the conference since we started this Prep Hoops Iowa endeavor four seasons ago. So, we expect this winter to be much the same; especially with the likes of Zach Martinek leading the way.
Projected Order of Finish
Analysis: It’s crowded with stellar teams atop this division, and especially the top two should be intriguing to follow. In the end, we feel Drew Olson’s experience as a senior will be the difference maker. When Osage and West Fork play this season, it’ll be must-watch hoops. Those games are December 19th, at Osage, and January 27th, at West Fork.
Preseason Player of the Year: Drew Olson, Osage (2018)
This guy is not just the best player in the conference, but one of the best players in all of 2A. Iowa’s 75th-ranked 2018, Olson will score in bunches, and get buckets, efficiently, from all over the court. He’s a natural leader who spent his spring and summer balling with one of Iowa’s best grassroots teams, Iowa Mavericks Purple 17U.
Biggest Sleeper: We’re expecting the Saint Angsar junior to step up big this winter. And after playing a small role last season on a senior-laden squad, to the tune of 2.0 points and 1.4 rebounds per game, he’ll likely see his numbers increase dramatically this season.