Posted On: 02/2/18 2:30 PM
The favorite: Easily the biggest team in the district, Bishop Garrigan has a starting lineup that features 6-3 Brad Capesius, 6-1 John Joyce, 6-5 TJ Schnurr, 6-4 Cade Winkel and 6-7 Angelo Winkel. The Golden Bears haven’t lost to a 1A team yet this season, and have a remarkably efficient offense that shoots 54% from the floor. With their size, they pound teams on the glass on both ends of the floor, and scoring against them around the rim is nearly impossible. They have a tricky district semifinal matchup against St. Edmond, who plays a nearly exclusively 2A and 3A schedule, but they get that one at home, which should give them an edge. With their size and talent, they’re the team to beat in the district.
The biggest threat: There are three other quality teams in this district, but St. Edmond might actually provide the best game against Bishop Garrigan. The Gaels have some size and physicality with 6-5 Will Woodruff and 6-6 Sean Flaherty in the paint, and the shooting that Andrew Gibb (20.7, 37.2 3P%) and Jackson Kochendorfer (11.2, 40.3%) mean that they can score without having to attack the size of Garrigan. Woodruff and Flaherty can hang on the glass, and if the guards get hot, they could make some noise. If they get past Garrigan, they’ll be favored in the district final. Playing in the North Central Conference, against all 2A and 3A teams, means they’ve been tested all year.
The dark horse(s): Whichever team comes out of the bottom part of the bracket will be dangerous as well, as both Mason City Newman Catholic and West Fork are currently 14-win teams, and the two teams split their meetings, so it’s a tough call as to who to choose to emerge. Newman Catholic started the season 0-3 but has gone 14-1 since, with the lone loss coming to West Fork. They have a balanced attack, with eight players averaging between 4.0 and 11.2 points a game. West Fork will have the best player on the floor in their meeting with junior wing Zach Martinek (17.8), a talented, slashing wing who can take over a game. Both of these teams will struggle with the size of Garrigan, but Martinek’s ability to take over probably gives West Fork a better chance against the Golden Bears.
Players to watch
2019 Brad Capesius, Bishop Garrigan
2020 John Joyce, Bishop Garrigan
2019 TJ Schnurr, Bishop Garrigan
2021 Angelo Winkel, Bishop Garrigan
2020 Cade Winkel, Bishop Garrigan
2019 Andrew Gibb, St. Edmond
2019 Josh Fitzgerald, Newman Catholic
2018 Joe Scholl, Newman Catholic
2019 Zach Martinek, West Fork
2019 Mitchell Halloran, West Fork
2019 Gavin Becker, West Hancock
The favorite: With point guard Jack Kelley back from injury, Don Bosco has the best backcourt in the district, and it makes the Dons a fairly heavy favorite. They have three players averaging in double figures with Zach Nie (16.5), Sean McFadden (15.2) and Kelley (14.2). Nie is a really talented shooter who is shooting nearly 45% from behind the arc, while Kelley does a majority of his damage via dribble penetration. Zach Huff pairs with that duo as the distributor, leading the team in assists, and completes the really talented backcourt trio. McFadden provides some size and rim protection, and this is a group that goes deep, especially for a 1A team.
The biggest threat: The district semifinal game between Rockford and Hudson should be entertaining, but it’s Hudson who probably has the better chance at knocking off Don Bosco. The Pirates have a solid backcourt duo of their own with Parker Ingamells (17.6) and CJ Christopher (10.9). They’ve each knocked down 45 3s on the season and if they’re able to get hot, they can stay with the Dons. 6-4 Jacob Murray and 6-3 Dylan Beaumont provide some size and physicality in the paint and can protect the rim against the dribble penetration of the Dons guards.
The dark horse: Rockford has a solid defensive team, allowing just 51.8 points a game, and they have an offensive attack that is heavily reliant on the 3 ball, with four players having attempted at least 71 3s on the season. The Warriors average 24 3PA a game, and if they’re able to get hot, they’re capable of winning the district.
Players to watch
2019 Jack Kelley, Don Bosco
2018 Zach Nie, Don Bosco
2018 Sean McFadden, Don Bosco
2018 Parker Ingamells, Hudson
2018 CJ Christopher, Hudson
2018 Zach Bushbaum, Rockford
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Bishop Garrigan vs. Don Bosco
In a fascinating matchup between tremendous size and really good guard play, we’ll give Bishop Garrigan the edge here. An offense that is heavily reliant on dribble penetration is going to struggle against the size that the Winkel brothers and TJ Schnurr provide, and that trio should also feast on the offensive end.