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Posted On: 02/5/18 12:36 PM
The favorite: Even after the graduation of Mr. Basketball Joe Smoldt, Gladbrook-Reinbeck has kept rolling along, entering this week with a 14-5 record, and a 10-0 mark against 1A teams. Caden Kickbush (21.5) has been great for the Rebels, and he gets just enough help from Mason Skovgard, Jackson Kiburis, Walker Thede and company to make this team the favorite in the district again this year. The major edge that they have in strength of schedule will show up here and carry them to the substate final.
The biggest threat: Meskwaki Settlement has a pair of big-time scorers in the Bear brothers, Jarius (19.0) and Tate (17.8), who could get things rolling and knock off G-R in the district final. But if they want to make some real noise, they’ll need to play disciplined and protect the ball much better than they have over the course of this season (more turnovers than assists).
The dark horse: Belle Plaine is getting hot at the right time, having won six of their last eight games, and Garrett Straight (18.6) is a talented scoring guard who could carry the Plainsmen to a few wins and a meeting with Gladbrook-Reinbeck, where anything could happen.
Players to watch
2018 Caden Kickbush, Gladbrook-Reinbeck
2018 Jarius Bear, Meskwaki Settlement
2019 Tate Bear, Meskwaki Settlement
2019 Garrett Straight, Belle Plaine
2019 Brayden Peterson, GMG, Garwin
The favorite: There is no bigger favorite in any district or substate than the North Linn Lynx will be here. In what essentially amounts to a Tri-River Conference tournament, the Lynx have blasted through each team in this district, going a combined 10-0 and winning those games by an average of 57.3 points. The closest game they’ve played against a team in this district is a 38-point win over Easton Valley. Their record setting offense is averaging 92.5 points a game, led by junior point guard Jake Hilmer (23.2, 13.1 assists), who is going to have his name all over the record books by the time his career is over. Ryan Miller (25.0) and David Seber (11.5) are the additional firepower, and this team turns people over like crazy. They won’t play a competitive game in district play, and likely won’t in the substate final either.
The biggest threat: Nobody is going to threaten North Linn in the district, but the team with the best chance would probably be Easton Valley, who has played them to the second closest margin they’ve had this year. They protect the ball better than anyone else in the district (outside of North Linn, obviously), and they’d need to slow this game to a crawl to even have a chance in the fourth quarter.
The dark horse: Lisbon is the other potential team that could come out of the bottom of the bracket, and the Lions have the firepower to play with North Linn for a little bit, if they’re all knocking down shots.
Players to watch
2019 Jake Hilmer, North Linn
2018 Ryan Miller, North Linn
2019 David Seber, North Linn
2018 Logan Miller, Easton Valley
2018 Brett Givens, Lisbon
2018 Bailey Arwine, Lisbon
2018 Ian Boline, Alburnett
2019 Izic Mackey, Alburnett
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Gladbrook-Reinbeck vs. North Linn
Caden Kickbush is an interesting matchup problem here for the Lynx, but the Rebels will struggle with North Linn’s press and turn it over way too much for this game to stay competitive for all four quarters. The Lynx stroll to Des Moines.