Posted On: 02/15/18 6:00 PM
The favorite: Norwalk’s backcourt duo of Bowen Born (19.7) and Luke Vaske (19.3) is outstanding, and would be enough to get them through this substate almost on their own. The Warriors add a number of other big-time contributors to that duo, however. Daniel Geistler (10.1) is an athletic wing who can score inside and out, Blake Johnson (10.5) is similar. Tyler Endres (9.0, 72.5 FG%) is a highly efficient interior scorer who cleans up misses and gets buckets off of Vaske and Born’s penetration, and Tyler Johnson (6.2, 44.4 3P%) is a sharpshooter off the bench. They’re the highest scoring team in 3A by over six points a game at 79.5, and they’ve surpassed the 100-point mark three times this season. This is a really balanced team, and after they get through this substate, they’ll be one of the top contenders to win the 3A crown.
The biggest threat: Winterset’s backcourt of Easton Darling (16.7) and Casey Kleemeier (14.6) are really strong in their own right, and can carry the Huskies to the substate final. While they lack traditional size, guys like Nick Mortoza and Jayden Carney do a great job hitting the offensive glass and providing some toughness on the interior.
Others who could make some noise: Two teams stand out as possible threats to Norwalk in this substate – Dallas Center-Grimes and Boone.
Dallas Center-Grimes has lost to Norwalk by 17 points and 18 points this season, but the ‘Stangs are familiar with the Warriors and will know how to play them. This is a veteran team that starts five seniors and has plenty of experience back from a team that made a run to the state tournament last season. They got off to a 5-1 start on the season and have faltered a bit since, but they did a similar thing last season before putting it all together during postseason play. Maybe that can happen again.
Boone is peaking late, like they did last season. The Toreadors have won nine of their last 10 games and are now 13-7 after starting the year 1-5. They brought back a lot of players from a group that fell in the substate final last season, and they’ll be ready to roll come postseason time again. Trevor Vanpelt (16.8) and John Herrick (14.2) give them a pair who can score inside-out, and they’ll have the size to do some damage against Winterset in a semifinal meeting.
Players to watch
2018 Luke Vaske, Norwalk
2020 Bowen Born, Norwalk
2018 Daniel Geistler, Norwalk
2019 Casey Kleemeier, Winterset
2020 Easton Darling, Winterset
2018 Steve Borneman, Dallas Center-Grimes
2018 Trevor Vanpelt, Boone
2018 John Herrick, Boone
2019 Will Turner, Gilbert
2018 Trent Stahl, Nevada
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Norwalk vs. Winterset (game played at Waukee)
This is a rematch of a game that happened early this season, won by Norwalk by 27 points. While we don’t expect to see the Warriors roll like that, their balance and explosiveness is too much for the Huskies to hold down. Bowen Born and Luke Vaske put on a show for the Warriors to book their trip down the road to Des Moines.