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Posted On: 02/14/18 2:00 PM
The favorite: Davenport Assumption got off to a rough start this season, opening the year 1-5 as standout wing Dylan Peeters (11.6) struggled with injuries. He’s back now, and although they’re now without younger brother Sean Peeters, who’ll miss the rest of the year with a foot injury, the Knights have won four of their last five games heading into postseason play. Assumption, like Dubuque Wahlert and Cedar Rapids Xavier, have the benefit of playing in the 4A MAC and MVC conferences, respectively, throughout the year, which preps them well for postseason play. They have the 7th ranked defense in 3A, allowing just 49.7 points a game, and although they aren’t an explosive offensive team, they shouldn’t have too much trouble scoring against the rest of the teams in the substate. The Knights, behind their standout trio of Trent Fitzpatrick (12.6), Ray Thrapp (10.6) and Peeters, will have a tricky road to the substate crown, but they’re the best team in the group and have to be considered the favorite here.
The biggest threat: Few teams in Class 3A have been as hot as West Delaware has been since the holiday break. The Hawks have won 11 of 12, with the lone loss coming by a point, in overtime, to Maquoketa. The Hawks will have the best individual player in the substate with junior power forward Derek Krogmann (21.5, 12.8 rebounds). It’s hard to see any team in this group slowing him down in the paint or keeping him off the glass, and senior wing Tyler Kelley (15.8) has taken his game to the next level this season to take some pressure off of Krogmann. The rest of the roster isn’t anything special, but they’ll do a fairly good job at protecting the ball and locking in on defense. The Hawks have the second best scoring defense in the class at just 46.0 points a game. They’ve gone 4-1 this season against teams in their section of the bracket, and will be an overwhelming favorite to come out of that group of four, getting both games at home.
Others who could make some noise: Two teams standout among this group of teams who could potentially be a spoiler – Dubuque Wahlert and Maquoketa.
Wahlert, like Assumption, has the benefit of going through the MVC gauntlet, and they’ve proven they can beat high-quality teams with wins over Assumption and Oskaloosa. They’ve also played Hempstead and Cedar Falls tough in three meetings. The Golden Eagles can comfortably go eight deep, and Peter Timmerman (13.3) has the ability to get to the free throw line in bunches. Matt Bandy (12.8, 59.4 FG%) is a super efficient post player, and they can put some shooting around that duo with guys like Jacob Schockemoehl (8.4, 36.2 3P%), Craig Collins (7.4, 37.8%) and Cael Schmitt (4.6, 32.7%). This group hasn’t been great on the defensive end, allowing 63.8 points a game, but that has also come by playing against the toughest schedule in 3A. They won’t be intimidated by anyone, and we certainly wouldn’t be surprised if they knock off Assumption on the road in the semifinals and play for a chance to go to State.
The other potential spoiler is Maquoketa. The Cardinals have already beaten West Delaware, but AJ Becker (18.9, 82 3PM) is the most potent perimeter shooter in the substate. If he and a few others on the team are able to get hot and get things rolling, they can put up points in a hurry and they’re capable of beating both teams they’ll line up with leading into the substate final.
Players to watch
2018 Trent Fitzpatrick, Davenport Assumption
2018 Ray Thrapp, Davenport Assumption
2019 Dylan Peeters, Davenport Assumption
2019 Derek Krogmann, West Delaware
2018 Tyler Kelley, West Delaware
2018 Peter Timmerman, Dubuque Wahlert
2018 Matt Bandy, Dubuque Wahlert
2019 AJ Becker, Maquoketa
2018 Chase Zielke, Marion
2021 Keaton Kutcher, Mount Vernon
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
West Delaware vs. Davenport Assumption (game played at US Cellular Center, Cedar Rapids)
The top three of this substate (Assumption, Wahlert, West Delaware) aren’t separated by much, and the substate final between whichever teams come through that group will be a tight one. Assumption, without Sean Peeters, could struggle to contain Krogmann on the interior, but I’m not sure the Hawks have anyone to matchup with Dylan Peeters either. The Knights strength of schedule wins out here, and they take a low-scoring final and punch their ticket to Des Moines in a game played in the high-40s or low-50s.