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Posted On: 02/17/18 8:30 AM
The favorite: With the exception of maybe Iowa City West in their substate, Sioux City East is the biggest favorite of any team in 4A to make it to State. The Black Raiders have gone 9-0 against teams in the substate, with those wins coming by an average of 28.9 points a game, and only two games decided by 11 or less (none by single digits). They have a fantastic inside-out tandem with Van Rees (17.6, 59.4 FG%) and Aidan Vanderloo (17.6, 54.5 3P%), who pace an offense that ranks second in 4A in scoring at 74.1 points a game. Jack Peterson (9.0), Jaleque Dunson (7.1) and Cole Taylor (4.8) provide some additional punch on the perimeter, and Sam Hildahl (6.4), Javonte Keck (5.7) and Sayvion Armstrong (4.7) do their damage around the rim. This group is deep and filled with scoring, and they shouldn’t have too much difficulty in this substate.
The biggest threat: Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln is the second seed in the substate, but they aren’t the biggest threat to East. The biggest threat is their crosstown rival, Sioux City West. The Wolverines have played East tougher than anyone else in the group, as they were tied after the third quarter in their most recent meeting before the Raiders outscored them 16-6 in the final quarter. Cliff McCray (14.6) and DeSean Foy (10.3) headline an athletic group that held East to their second lowest scoring output (the lowest was a loss to Sergeant Bluff-Luton without Vanderloo in the lineup). This is also a highly efficient group that shoots 53.3% from the floor and 43.0% from the arc. If they can slow down East’s potent offense and make it more of a halfcourt game, then have guys like Adien Belt, McCray, Foy, Omar Maldonaldo or Micah Mcwell knock down some 3s, they could pull the upset. The Wolverines have beaten CBAL, their semifinal opponent, by 16 and lost to them by three (in double overtime).
Others who could make some noise: The only other team in this substate who has a somewhat realistic chance at coming out is Abraham Lincoln. The Lynx have a pair of strong perimeter defenders in Troy Houghton (16.1) and Preston Fant (12.9). They limited Vanderloo in one meeting, holding him to just five points (he had 16 in the other). They’ll need to do so again if they want to have a chance at winning in a substate final. The issue this group runs into against East is that they don’t have the size to stop Rees and Hildahl on the interior. Those two are averaging 34 points and 16 rebounds on 62.2% shooting in a pair of meetings.
Players to watch
2019 Aidan Vanderloo, Sioux City East
2018 Van Rees, Sioux City East
2019 Jack Peterson, Sioux City East
2019 Cliff McCray, Sioux City West
2018 DeSean Foy, Sioux City West
2018 Troy Houghton, Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln
2018 Preston Fant, Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln
2019 Josh Simmons, Lewis Central
2019 Cole Jensen, Lewis Central
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Sioux City East vs. Sioux City West (game played at Iowa Western Community College)
No team from this substate has played East within single digits this season, and while that could potentially change here, the Black Raiders are still an overwhelming favorite to punch their ticket to State, where they’ll be a solid contender to make it to Friday night.