Posted On: 02/13/18 11:18 PM
The favorite: The top three teams in the substate aren’t separated by much, but we’ll give the slight edge to Charles City as the favorite. The Comets have compiled a 16-4 record, split their matchups with Waverly-Shell Rock and beat Clear Lake earlier this season. The Comets have four players who average in double figures, led by point guard Jackson Molstead (18.7), who has dished out 152 assists to just 41 turnovers. Their backcourt of Molstead, Mike Cranshaw and Noah Schlader is the best in the substate, and Cade Hemesath gives them some size and rim protection in the paint. This is the most balanced team in the group, and with their backcourt limiting turnovers, they’re the team to beat.
The biggest threat: The top defensive team in the substate is Waverly-Shell Rock, who are allowing just 49.5 points a game, good for seventh in 3A. The Go-Hawks recently beat Charles City, and they’ll get to play their first two games at home, which should give them an edge over Clear Lake in the semifinals. They have more turnovers than assists, which isn’t great, but they should be able to ride their defense and offensive balance to a substate final appearance. The size of Mosai Newsom (8.9) and Jacob Bahe (7.4) will give Clear Lake issues, and they’ve shown they can beat Charles City already.
Others who could make some noise: There are three other solid teams in the substate who could potentially win the group – Clear Lake, Decorah and Webster City.
Clear Lake probably has the best individual, or at the very least most explosive player, in the substate with guard Zach Lester, who’s averaging 29.6 points a game. He’s a fantastic athlete who can get to the rim at will, causes havoc on the defensive end, and the Lions have four shooters on the floor a majority of the time who can get hot and carry this group to three wins.
Decorah just beat Charles City by 13 on Friday, and the Vikings have three players averaging in double figures. Jerod Redenius (12.0) is a big, physical interior player who can control the glass and protect the rim, and they put a pair of good shooters in Nick Bockman (12.0, 38.2 3P%) and Jonah Johnson (10.2, 40.7%) around him. They’re probably the deepest team in the district, and they have the size to get Hemesath or Newsom/Bahe into foul trouble in a hurry.
The final team with a legitimate shot looks like Webster City. The Lynx have a pair of efficient players who do a majority of their scoring around the rim in Jordan Tanner (15.7, 57.5 FG%) and Henry Hoversten (11.4, 58.5%). Tanner does his damage by slashing, while Hoversten is more of a low-block player, and Cameron Moen and Noah McKinney are capable shooters who can carry them at times. Allowing just 52.9 points a game, the Lynx are a solid defensive team who are comfortable slowing the game down and playing the slower style that some of the teams in the substate prefer to play.
Players to watch
2019 Jackson Molstead, Charles City
2018 Mike Cranshaw, Charles City
2018 Cade Hemesath, Charles City
2019 Luke Velky, Waverly-Shell Rock
2018 Jack Seward, Waverly-Shell Rock
2019 Mosai Newsom, Waverly-Shell Rock
2018 Zach Lester, Clear Lake
2018 Jonah Johnson, Decorah
2018 Nick Bockman, Decorah
2018 Jerod Redenius, Decorah
2018 Jordan Tanner, Webster City
2018 Clayton Ollendieck, Crestwood
2021 Karson Sharar, Iowa Falls-Alden
2019 Calvin Carlson, Humboldt
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Charles City vs. Waverly-Shell Rock (game played at Mason City)
Comets vs. Go-Hawks Part III. Charles City and Clear Lake, Molstead vs. Lester, would probably be a more entertaining game, but W-SR’s stout defense should handle Lester and company, which leads us to this rematch. Despite a recent loss to the Go-Hawks, Charles City punches their ticket to state behind a big night from Jackson Mosltead, sending the Comets to State for the first time since 1956.