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Posted On: 02/7/18 3:16 PM
The favorite: The district’s top seed, Boyer Valley, also has the district’s best player in Joe Weber (22.3, 141 assists) and should be considered the favorite here. The Bulldogs are the top scoring team in the group, averaging just under 70 points a game, and they’re also sound on the defensive end, allowing 48.1 points a night. Jalen Malone (15.2) and Chad Klein (11.3) give the ‘Dogs another solid pair of options alongside Weber, and while this group has played the weakest schedule among the top four contenders, we’ll take the best player and take our chances.
The biggest threat: Tri-Center recently dropped a game to IKM-Manning, but they avoid IKM and Boyer Valley until the district final. The Trojans have a trio of players who pound the glass on both ends of the floor in Jackson Nelson, Ben Sorsenson and Kaleb Harrison, and that type of size and aggressiveness on the backboards will be tough for Boyer Valley to match up with. Their top two of Nelson (15.9) and Sorenson (12.8) are efficient, shooting a combined 59.1% from the floor. They’re the best defensive team in the district, and if they’re able to slow a game against the ‘Dogs down and play it in the 50s, they’d be in business.
The dark horse: IKM-Manning just beat Tri-Center, and won’t be an easy out for Boyer Valley, especially since that semifinal game is going to be played at IKM, despite Boyer Valley being the top seed. IKM is a solid defensive team, and if they’re able to slow that game down, they could smother Weber and company en route to a win and a district final appearance.
Players to watch
2018 Joe Weber, Boyer Valley
2018 Jackson Nelson, Tri-Center
2018 Jared Johnson, IKM-Manning
2019 Drew Schurke, Ar-We-Va
The favorite: Remsen, St. Mary’s is an overwhelming favorite here, as they’ll be entering postseason play undefeated for the second straight season. The Hawks have the third best scoring defense in Class 1A, allowing just 41.2 points a night, and they’ll have far and away the district’s best player in combo forward Nicholas Ruden (15.8), who recently committed to play NAIA ball at Briar Cliff. Spencer Schorg (12.6) gives them a perimeter scorer, and Brody Ricke (10.9) is one of the better third options you’ll find in 1A. This group is going to suffocate every team in this district on the defensive end and should have no issues making their way through.
The biggest threat: Kingsley-Pierson lost to likely semifinal opponent Woodbury Central, 67-62, a few weeks ago, but that game was played at WC. The semifinal meeting would take place at K-P, which gives them the edge. Nathan Keck (16.6) and Jessen Reinking (12.2) should control that rematch, and the Panthers should smother WC on the defensive end with a group that is allowing just 47.1 points a night.
The dark horse: Nobody in the upper half of the bracket is going to challenge St. Mary’s, so the next best option figures to be Woodbury Central, who has already beaten likely semifinal opponent Kingsley-Pierson. The Wildcats have a really balanced group, with six players averaging between 5.5 and 11.8 points a game, and that type of balance can make them difficult to prep for.
Players to watch
2018 Nicholas Ruden, Remsen, St. Mary’s
2020 Spencer Schorg, Remsen, St. Mary’s
2018 Brody Ricke, Remsen, St. Mary’s
2019 Nathan Keck, Kingsley-Pierson
2019 Jessen Reinking, Kingsley-Pierson
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Boyer Valley vs. Remsen, St. Mary’s
A nice season for Boyer Valley should come to a crashing halt here. St. Mary’s size and defensive talents should smother Boyer Valley’s smaller guards, and the ‘Dogs don’t have an answer for Nicholas Ruden. St. Mary’s returns to State with another undefeated record, just like last season.