Posted On: 02/8/18 3:30 PM
The favorite: It’s the big two and everyone else in this district, and it’s tough to pick which team is the favorite. Sheldon and Sioux Center split their two meetings and are incredibly tight teams. We’ll give the slightest edge to Sioux Center, who is playing a little bit better basketball right now, having won six of their last seven games. The Warriors are one of the state’s most explosive offenses, averaging 71 points a game, and their starting five is remarkably talented and versatile. Four starters shoot better than 40% from behind the arc with Tyus Arends (16.1 points a game, 41.8%), Cade Bleeker (15.8, 43.5%), Tyler Van Beek (10.6, 40.9%) and Isaac Vietor (9.2, 46.7%) surrounding big man Brendan Zeutenhorst (9.3), an efficient low-post scorer. They’ll look to turn a third game against Sheldon into more of an up-and-down affair, and if they’re able to knock down shots, they should move to the substate final. When they’re at their best, we think they’re slightly better than Sheldon is, and they get the edge here.
The biggest threat: The Orabs are also a really talented group, and they have the size that could give Sioux Center quite a bit of problems with Ryan Van Marel (11.0, 9.0 rebounds) and Kyle Boerhave (13.1, 9.0) controlling the glass and scoring efficiently in the paint. Sheldon also has some talented guards who can stroke it with Jaden Kleinhesslink (12.4, 42.7 3P%) and Tyler Johnson (8.6, 52.4%). They’re the far superior defensive team, allowing just 46.3 points a game, and if they can dictate the tempo against the Warriors and make it a half-court game, using their size and strength on the glass to control the game, they’ll be the ones punching their ticket to the substate final. That district final should be a doozy.
The dark horse: If anyone is going to jump up and upset either Sioux Center or Sheldon, it’s probably Estherville-Lincoln Central. Both of those teams have already blown out Sibley-Ocheyedan and Okoboji twice, but neither team has seen ELC this year. The Midgets are a solid defensive team allowing just 47.8 points a game, and if they can play at a methodical pace and keep it close into the fourth quarter, anything can happen. But don’t count on it.
Players to watch
2018 Tyus Arends, Sioux Center
2019 Cade Bleeker, Sioux Center
2018 Isaac Vietor, Sioux Center
2018 Brendan Zeutenhorst, Sioux Center
2018 Tyler Van Beek, Sioux Center
2018 Kyle Boerhave, Sheldon
2018 Ryan Van Marel, Sheldon
2018 Jaden Kleinhesslink, Sheldon
2018 Tyler Johnson, Sheldon
2019 Grant Brouwer, Sibley-Ocheyedan
The favorite: This is far and away the most balanced district in 2A, with the six teams separated by just 12 points in BC Moore’s projections. Pocahontas Area is the district’s best offensive team and holds a head-to-head win over Alta-Aurelia (albeit by just three), but it’s enough to give the Indians a slight edge here. With junior point guard Jace Davidson (21.0) leading the way, they’ll have the best player on the floor in each game through district play, and that should carry them through. Cameron Callion (13.0, 8.5 rebounds) is relentless on the glass, particularly on the offensive end, and the extra possessions that he’s able to grab could be the edge that gives this group the bump.
The biggest threat: Alta-Aurelia is the district’s best defensive team, and they’ve gone 3-0 against the teams that they’ll see in the semifinal. Senior wing Carson Kruger (12.4) is finally back in the lineup after missing the first 14 games of the season, and his addition is a huge boost. He’s a talented slasher who can take over a game and go toe-to-toe with Davidson. The Warriors are deep and defensive minded, and if they can find a way to limit Davidson’s effectiveness, they can win the district.
The dark horse: Sioux Central has shown what they’re capable of with a six-game winning streak earlier in the season, and they recently played Alta-Aurelia to a four-point game. Hunter Decker (14.7) is the type of volume shooter (61-154 3P) who could get hot and carry the Rebels to a few wins.
Players to watch
2019 Jace Davidson, Pocahontas Area
2018 Cameron Callion, Pocahontas Area
2018 Carson Kruger, Alta-Aurelia
2018 Jordan Gano, Alta-Aurelia
2019 Hunter Decker, Sioux Central
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Sioux Center vs. Pocahontas Area
Whichever team comes out of District 3 will be a heavy favorite over the District 4 winner, and Sioux Center should run away and hide in this matchup as they roll to Des Moines. The Warriors are just too talented and explosive offensively for Poky to keep up with.