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Posted On: 02/15/18 2:00 PM
The favorite: Oskaloosa is the most talented team in 3A, and while they’re extremely young, this group is ready to make a State run. The Indians have a quartet of double figure scorers, led by Jarad Kruse (15.5, 61.6 FG%), a gifted scorer who can do so inside and out, and has been at times dominant. The headliner here is super sophomore Xavier Foster (13.1, 74 blocks), a hyper-athletic, long 6-11 forward who makes a major impact on both ends of the floor. He’s the ultimate eraser on the back end of the Indians defense, and as long as he’s able to stay out of foul trouble, they’ll be in great shape on the defensive end. Cole Henry (15.5) is another potential Division I player in their frontcourt, a point-forward at 6-8 who can handle and leads the team in assists. This group is explosive and should cruise through their substate. They’ve already beaten Pella, a potential substate final opponent, by 27 and nine points in a pair of meetings.
The biggest threat: Carlisle has one of 3A’s most potent offenses, averaging 66.2 points a game, which is 8th in the class. They’ve compiled a 13-8 record, and six of those eight losses came by single digits. The Wildcats are equipped to score against Oskaloosa without having to attack the bucket, as they’re filled with jump shooters, which will benefit them, avoiding Foster in the paint. Collin Lister (20.9) is a great scorer, Tommy Donovan (15.9, 143 assists) facilitates well, and they have some other quality role players who can put the ball in the hole. This is an athletic group that can score in bunches, and they’ll get to play their first two games at home.
Others who could make some noise: None of the other teams in this substate are on the same talent level as Oskaloosa is, but there are a few teams who could potentially push them – Pella and Bondurant-Farrar.
Pella recently played Oskaloosa tough, losing by just nine a week or so ago. The Dutch aren’t nearly as explosive as they’ve been in previous years, but they know how to play against Osky, and Nick DeJong (13.5, 10.2 rebounds) is a player who could get Foster into foul trouble and open things up for everyone else.
Bondurant-Farrar is a team like Carlisle that has played a lot of close games throughout the year. The Jays have a trio of double figure scorers in Tanner Bedier (17.2), John Carlson (11.9) and Seth Moeller (11.3). The issue is that a large chunk of their offense comes by attacking the rim, which won’t be easy against Oskaloosa in a semifinal meeting.
Players to watch
2018 Jarad Kruse, Oskaloosa
2019 Cole Henry, Oskaloosa
2020 Xavier Foster, Oskaloosa
2018 Spencer Tucker, Oskaloosa
2019 Collin Lister, Carlisle
2018 Tommy Donovan, Carlisle
2019 Nick DeJong, Pella
2018 Tanner Bedier, Bondurant-Farrar
2018 Patrick Crawford, Knoxville
2018 Isaiah Tuigong, Chariton
2018 Tyson Belloma, Centerville
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Oskaloosa vs. Carlisle (game played at Southeast Polk)
While Carlisle is a team that actually matches up fairly well with Oskaloosa, the Indians have too much size and talent here and should make their first trip to State since 1996.