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Posted On: 02/11/18 7:30 PM
The favorite: The district’s top seed is Eddyville-Blakesburg Fremont, and for good reason. The Rockets are 18-3, with their three losses coming to teams that have been ranked in the top five of their respective classes all season. The Rockets are far and away the best offensive team in the district, averaging 67 points a game with four double figure scorers. Headlined by the backcourt of Trey Moore (14.8) and Wyatt Klyn (13.2), they protect the ball and create plenty of turnovers. This balanced group should be able to make it through the district without too much difficulty.
The biggest threat: Williamsburg has played by far the most difficult schedule of these six teams, going through the WaMaC. Eight of their ten losses have come by single digits, and they’ve posted some solid wins against the likes of Center Point-Urbana and Mount Vernon. The Raiders have a standout duo of forwards who pound the glass in Brandon Blythe and Ben Subbert, and guard Lucas Schlesselman (14.4, 44.6 3P%) has been really good this season for the Raiders. Having gone through what amounts to a gauntlet compared to the rest of the district’s schedules, the Raiders will have a chance to beat anyone.
The dark horse: The backcourt for Albia is solid and could carry them to three wins in the district and a district title. The Blue Demons have a solid trio of guards who can control games with Nick Maddison, Trent Garver and Cade Crall, and if they’re able to dictate the tempo and lock down on the defensive end (allowing just 51.6 points a game), they could make some noise.
Players to watch
2019 Gabe Larkin, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont
2019 Wyatt Klyn, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont
2018 KJ McCrea, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont
2019 Trey Moore, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont
2018 Lucas Schlesselman, Williamsburg
2018 Brandon Blythe, Williamsburg
2018 Ben Subbert, Williamsburg
2018 Nick Maddison, Albia
2019 Cameron Millikin, Pekin
The favorite: Van Meter was a late season slip-up away from going wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in Class 2A, completing the regular season with a 20-1 record. The Bulldogs are the best defensive team in 2A, allowing just 37.6 points a game, and they’re a remarkably efficient offensive team, posting shooting splits of 56-46-73 as a team. They have great size with a pair of 6-8 post players on the interior with Ryan Schmitt (14.0) and Grant Johnson. Johnson missed quite a bit of time with an injury and has taken a while to get back into the swing of things, but he’s getting there. They surround those bigs with a number of tremendous shooters in Blake Fryar (12.9, 48.5 3P%), Mitchell Pomeroy (9.8, 47.8%), JJ Durflinger (7.1, 40.0%) and Marshall Smith (4.2, 56.4%). Jack Trudo (9.9), Anthony Potthoff (5.7), Ian Abrahamson (4.2) and Spencer Lamb (4.7) give them some tremendous depth, and they should have no issues getting through this district.
The biggest threat: The district’s second seed, Mount Ayr, is a really solid defensive team, allowing just 45.1 points a game. The Raiders have a standout tandem of guards in Dawson Frost (13.6) and Luke Wurster (10.9, 42.0 3P%), and point guard Myles Greene (125 assists to 50 turnovers) can control a game and help limit opposing possessions. The Raiders don’t really have the size to stop Van Meter on the glass or in the paint, but they’re comfortable playing in a defensive battle, and if they can limit possessions and get Frost or Wurster going from the arc, they could be in business.
The dark horse: Pleasantville is another really strong defensive team, ranking sixth in 2A in points allowed per game at just 43.6 points a game. The Trojans have the size in 6-7 Devon Dursky to protect the rim against the Bulldogs size, and the guard play from Owen Worthington and Gauge Van Haalen (who each shoot just under 40% from deep) could make them players.
Players to watch
2019 Ryan Schmitt, Van Meter
2018 Blake Fryar, Van Meter
2020 Dawson Frost, Mount Ayr
2018 Luke Wurster, Mount Ayr
2018 Owen Worthington, Pleasantville
2018 Gauge Van Haalen, Pleasantville
2018 Chris Godfrey, Interstate 35
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont vs. Van Meter
Van Meter has been our No. 1 team in 2A for most of the season for a reason, returning every single player from a state tournament team, and the Bulldogs should roll through their district and lock down a high-powered EBF offense in the substate final en route to a trip right down the road to Wells Fargo Arena, where they’ll have a really strong shot at taking home a state title.