Posted On: 02/7/18 8:30 AM
The favorite: This is about as balanced a district as you’ll find in the class, but we’ll go ahead and make Bedford, the top seed, the favorite. The Bulldogs have lost to both Nodaway Valley and Southwest Valley, but they’ve also beaten both of those teams as well. Led by sophomore guard Brennan Sefrit (19.0), the ‘Dogs have both the highest scoring and most efficient offense in the district, and it should carry them to the district crown.
The biggest threat: Nodaway Valley suffered a significant loss before the season when leading scorer Spencer Lamb transferred to Van Meter, and it took them a while to get it going this season. But they recently beat Bedford, 73-70, and that should give them plenty of confidence leading into a possible district final meeting. Spencer Thompson (14.7) and Brady Hilpipre (12.7) lead the Wolverines attack, and Thompson is among the most aggressive slashers in the district. If he’s able to attack the rim and get to the line or dish to Hilpipre (42.2 3P%), they could be in business.
The dark horse: Southwest Valley would’ve been in this spot, but the injury to Chance Cobb has really hamstrung them, and they’ve lost six of their last nine games. Instead, it’s Sidney who could potentially cause some problems. The Cowboys are strong on the glass on both ends of the floor and could control the paint against either Nodaway Valley or Bedford.
Players to watch
2020 Brennan Sefrit, Bedford
2020 Cooper Nally, Bedford
2019 Brady Hilpipre, Nodaway Valley
2018 Spencer Thompson, Nodaway Valley
2018 Cameron Whitehead, Sidney
2018 Trenton Drake, Southwest Valley
2018 Blake Alden, Diagonal
The favorite: Council Bluffs, St. Albert doesn’t play any 1A teams during the regular season, which prepares them really well for the 1A postseason. They’ve already seen bigger, more athletic, more talented teams all season, and shouldn’t have any issues getting through this district. The trio of Jake Carley (14.8), Tyler Blaha (13.4) and Matt Fagan (11.2) were key contributors for a Falcons group that played for the 1A title two years ago, and that experience should give them a substantial edge here. They’re loaded with talent and athleticism, and shouldn’t have too many problems getting through this district.
The biggest threat: The Vikings of Stanton haven’t played a very difficult schedule in the Corner Conference, but they’re an explosive offensive team that is averaging 75.6 points a game and would be comfortable playing in an up-and-down affair if they could get St. Albert to run with them. Drake Johnson (22.4) and Donnie Weis (19.3) lead the way, but this is also a group that shoots 38.5% from the arc, which makes them a dangerous team.
The dark horse: Exira-Elk Horn-Kimball has a difficult task in St. Albert in the semifinal, a game which would be played at St. Albert. But the Spartans have the pieces to give St. Albert some issues. The backcourt duo of Cole Burmeister (14.5) and Josh Pettepier (11.9) can shoot it effectively from the arc, and Dakota Rold (12.4, 51 blocks) can protect the rim and compete on the glass against Fagan. It’s a tall task, but the formula for beating St. Albert in this district is going to be making 3s and preventing their athletes from scoring at the rim. Exira-EHK can do both.
Players to watch
2018 Tyler Blaha, St. Albert
2018 Jake Carley, St. Albert
2018 Matt Fagan, St. Albert
2019 Cole Burmeister, Exira-EHK
2019 Josh Pettepier, Exira-EHK
2019 Dakota Rold, Exira-EHK
2018 Thomas Hensley, CAM, Anita
2018 Nicholas Holste, CAM, Anita
2019 Drake Johnson, Stanton
2019 Donnie Weis, Stanton
2019 Mason Vanatta, Fremont-Mills
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Bedford vs. Council Bluffs, St. Albert
Bedford has some nice players, but they’re no match for the talent and experience from St. Albert. The Falcons entered the season as our No. 3 team in 1A, and while they’ve suffered plenty of losses against their 3A-heavy schedule, they’re a far superior team in this matchup. St. Albert returns to State after a one year absence.