Posted On: 02/15/18 8:00 AM
The favorite: Mount Pleasant is probably as big a favorite as there is in any 3A substate. The Panthers have a fantastic backcourt, probably the best in the class, led by Brady Sartorius (23.6), who has set all sorts of school records. Jordan Magnani (14.2) adds some additional scoring punch on the perimeter, and they’re a remarkably efficient and patient offensive team that gets great shots nearly every time down the floor. They are the top defensive team in 3A, allowing just 44.5 points a game, and their three losses are to the top team in 3A, Xavier, and a pair of 4A teams, Hempstead and Cedar Rapids Washington. This group has really stepped up their schedule in an effort to prepare for a state tournament run, and after they make it through this substate, they’ll be one of the top two or three teams contending for the title.
The biggest threat: Solon looks like the favorite to come out of the bottom part of the bracket, and the Spartans have some interesting pieces who could potentially cause some issues for Mount Pleasant. Sophomore wing AJ Coons (18.3, 49.1 3P%) is playing fantastic basketball down the stretch, and at 6-5, he has the size, length and athleticism to defend effectively on the perimeter against the MP guards. Ben Krutzfeldt (15.3, 42.7 3P%) is a good point guard who flies around on the defensive end and gets his teammates involved offensively. They’ll need to have some additional players step up alongside Coons and Krutzfeldt, but that duo is potentially dangerous, and they’re almost irrationally confident in their abilities. They’re not going to back down from anyone.
Others who could make some noise: There really aren’t many (any?) teams in this substate that can challenge Mount Pleasant. Their likely semifinal opponent, Fort Madison, is a team that they’ve beaten by 24 and 32 points in a pair of meetings. And if anyone is going to get by Solon in the bottom half it’s probably Fairfield, who have also been swept by the Panthers, by 29 and 13 points.
Players to watch
2018 Brady Sartorius, Mount Pleasant
2018 Jordan Magnani, Mount Pleasant
2020 AJ Coons, Solon
2018 Ben Krutzfeldt, Solon
2018 Treavor Kokjohn, Fort Madison
2018 Kaleb Cresswell, Fort Madison
2019 Austin Simpson, Fairfield
2020 Andre Brandon, Iowa City Liberty
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Mount Pleasant vs. Solon (game played at Muscatine)
As we mentioned earlier, Solon has some pieces who could potentially throw some wrenches into what Mount Pleasant does, but the Panthers are just too experienced and talented to fall short of State. This group has started together since they were freshmen, and they’ve been working towards this goal. Panthers roll to Des Moines.