Posted On: 02/2/18 8:00 AM
The favorite: The Mustangs of George-Little Rock are the district’s top seed, and for good reason. They’ve spent all season ranked in the top 10 of our 1A poll, and they’ve gone 4-1 against other teams in the district. (That lone loss came to Boyden-Hull by a point last week.) They have a really balanced roster, with seven players averaging between 6.3 and 13.5 points a game, led by Lucas Nagel. They have the versatility to do a lot of different things on both ends of the floor and they should have a fairly easy road to the district final. They’ve shown they can beat really good teams with wins over talented 2A teams like West Lyon (twice) and Rock Valley.
The biggest threat: Boyden-Hull is starting to come on, having won three straight games. It took them a while to get things going with a really young roster (only two seniors on the team), and they hold a win over G-LR already. The Comets are led by Beau De Jongh (16.1), an efficient interior scorer who leads a group that does a great job getting to the free throw line. The district semifinal against Gehlen Catholic is pretty much a toss-up, but we’ll give the slightest edge to a B-H team that is starting to gel and has played a significantly more difficult schedule to date.
The dark horse: The best defensive team in the district is Gehlen Catholic, who are allowing just 50.4 points a game. The Jays have a trio of players averaging in double figures in Cole Wiltgen (16.9), Bryan Nohova (11.3) and Jacob Nemmers (10.2). They aren’t a great free throw shooting team at just 58.9%, and in a game that could be low-scoring with their defensive talents, that could play a factor. Nohova gives them an edge against everyone in the district on the glass (except maybe G-LR), and Wiltgen will be the best player on the floor nearly every game. They’d be an underdog against the Mustangs in the district final, but they’re a strong defensive team with some talented threats on the offensive end. They haven’t beaten a team with a winning record yet.
Players to watch
2018 Jayden Mauldin, George-Little Rock
2019 Lucas Nagel, George-Little Rock
2018 Josh Haken, George-Little Rock
2019 Caleb Terhark, George-Little Rock
2019 Landon Jumbeck, George-Little Rock
2019 Beau De Jongh, Boyden-Hull
2018 Zach Noble, Boyden-Hull
2020 Jacob Nemmers, Gehlen Catholic
2018 Cole Wiltgen, Gehlen Catholic
2018 Bryan Nohova, Gehlen Catholic
2019 Nick Jacobs, Akron-Westfield
2018 Connor Anderson, Akron-Westfield
2019 Shane Kooima, Trinity Christian
The favorite: Peyton Brasser (17.4) and the Louscher brothers, Carson (17.1) and Jackson (11.6), lead a South O’Brien team that has already swept their likely district semifinal opponent, Harris-Lake Park. They’re the best defensive team in the district, allowing just 7.7 points a game and they’ve only lost to really good teams this season (twice to 18-0 Remse, St. Mary’s, twice to 2A 12-6 Unity Christian and once to 2A 16-2 Sheldon). They recently picked up a quality win over Gehlen Catholic and have won six of their last seven games, peaking late in the year.
The biggest threat: Sophomore guard Bryce Coppock leads a Newell-Fonda team that just beat Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire, their likely district semifinal opponent at home. That game will also be played at home, which should give the Mustangs an edge. They’ve won eight of their last nine games, and Coppock will be the best player on the floor in each of their first two games, and is good enough to give the Wolverines a run in the district final
The dark horse: Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire is the second best defensive team in the district, allowing just 49.7 points a night. They gave up 62 points to Newell-Fonda on Tuesday night, and aren’t likely to win in a run-and-gun game against the Mustangs. If Jacob Conlon, Tom Geelan and the Titans are able to slow it down into a lower scoring game, that would play to their advantage, but there isn’t much from the first meeting to suggest that’ll happen. A district final against South O’Brien could be played in the 30s, which anyone coudl win.
Players to watch
2018 Peyton Brasser, South O’Brien
2018 Carson Louscher, South O’Brien
2020 Jackson Louscher, South O’Brien
2020 Bryce Coppock, Newell-Fonda
2019 Tom Geelan, Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire
2018 Jacob Conlon, Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire
2021 Bubba Sohn, Harris-Lake Park
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
George-Little Rock vs. South O’Brien
In what would be a very entertaining game, George-Little Rock gets the edge after having gone through the meat grinder of the Siouxland Conference schedule. A big night from Lucas Nagel propels the Mustangs to their first state tournament appearance since 2008.