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Posted On: 02/3/18 8:30 AM
The favorite: The theme in both of Dunkerton’s losses this season have been major struggles from the 3-point line, playing against teams that have had the ability to cut off an offense that thrives on attacking the rim. In a loss to Gladbrook-Reinbeck, the Raiders were 6-31 from behind the arc (and 12-17 from 2-point range). In a loss to Don Bosco, they were 4-38 from deep (13-28 from 2). They shouldn’t have too much of an issue in this district using their athleticism and size to get to the rim for easy buckets, and rather using the 3-point line as a complimentary part of the offense instead of the only shots they’re getting. They’ve already beaten possible district final opponent Janesville twice, and they’ve played a significantly more challenging schedule than Turkey Valley. This should be Dunkerton’s district to lose.
The biggest threat: An injury to one of Janesville’s best players knocks them down a peg, and should give Turkey Valley an upper hand in the likely district semifinal matchup. The Trojans are led by an efficient low-post scorer in Ethan Leibold (14.0, 59.6 FG%), who is able to control the glass, and he’s surrounded by four shooters at all times. This is a group that does a relatively good job taking care of the basketball, and if they’re able to limit the turnovers and knock down a few shots from the arc, they should advance to the district final.
The dark horse: The best individual player in the district may be Janesville’s big man Codey Hicks, who has torched Dunkerton in a pair of meetings, averaging 24.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in their two meetings. The Wildcats would likely be considered the “biggest threat” to Dunkerton if they were at full strength, but they’re without standout guard Spencer Hoff, who fractured his ankle in early January. He probably won’t be back unless the ‘Cats make a run to the state tournament. Still, Hicks is good enough for this group to make some noise.
Players to watch
2019 Zach Johnson, Dunkerton
2019 Brady Happel, Dunkerton
2018 Kaleb Westendorf, Dunkerton
2020 Ethan Leibold, Turkey Valley
2018 Evan Drilling, Turkey Valley
2019 Codey Hicks, Janesville
2019 Levi Lukes, South Winneshiek
2018 Blake Wettleson, Postville
2018 Owen Jacobson, Postville
The favorite: The best player in this district is Wapsie Valley’s Paul Rundquist (23.2), and the Warriors are going to go as far as he goes. He’s had some big games in their biggest contests of the season so far, and he’ll need to string together three straight big performances to carry this group to a district title. They’ve lost just once to a 1A school this season, an overtime defeat at Hudson, and their primarily 2A schedule should benefit them here. Rundquist will need to get some help from his supporting cast, but in a district with teams as tight as the top three are here, we’re going to take the best player and assume that he does enough to carry his team to a district title.
The biggest threat: Edgewood-Colesburg is the district’s top seed, and probably it’s most balanced. The Vikings have five players averaging between 8.7 and 12.8 points a game, and on any given night, any one of them can be the go-to guy. The Rochford brothers, Preston (12.7) and Parker (12.8) are both deadly perimeter shooters, shooting a combined 46.4% from behind the arc, and that type of shooting can win games. The Vikings have gone 8-0 against other teams in the district, including a 16-point win over likely district semifinal opponent Central Elkader. A district final with the Rochford brothers and Rundquist going back-and-forth would be very entertaining.
The dark horse: Winners of seven of their last nine games, the Central City Wildcats are peaking late. Those two losses came to Edgewood-Colesburg, the district’s top seed, and North Linn, arguably the best 1A team in the state. Led by Nick Reid (18.2), the ‘Cats should be a heavy favorite against MFL-Mar-Mac in their opener, then will have to get by Rundquist and Wapsie Valley in the semifinal. Nonetheless, nobody in the top half of the bracket is going to challenge Ed-Co, so it’ll be the Wapsie Valley/Central City winner who has the next best chance to come out of the district.
Players to watch
2019 Paul Rundquist, Wapsie Valley
2020 Nick Reid, Central City
2019 Preston Rochford, Edgewood-Colesburg
2021 Parker Rochofrd, Edgewood-Colesburg
2018 Jacob Wessel, Edgewood-Colesburg
2018 Noah Erickson, Central Elkader
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Dunkerton vs. Wapsie Valley
Wapsie Valley has the athletes to defend Dunkerton the way that Gladbrook-Reinbeck and Don Bosco have in the Raiders’ losses. The Warriors will also have the best player on the floor in Rundquist, and behind a big shooting night from him, Wapsie Valley punches their ticket to the state tournament.