Posted On: 02/18/18 8:00 AM
The favorite: Dubuque Senior is our top ranked team in 4A, and they enter the postseason hot, winning nine straight games. The Rams haven’t lost this season with star forward Noah Carter in the lineup, including wins over Iowa City West and Dubuque Hempstead. They have a tremendous inside-out tandem with Carter (18.3) and Carter Stevens (16.6), who both have the ability to score both inside and out. Carter’s ability to stretch the floor at 6-6/6-7 makes the lineup extremely difficult to defend, and Stevens is fantastic at getting to the rim and finishing through contact. This is a group filled with role players who can really shoot it with Nick Timmerman (11.7, 42.5 3P%), Sam Link (9.5, 40.0 3P%) and Marshaun Carroll (7.4, 42.1 3P%). They don’t go very deep, but this group is incredibly disciplined, can really lock in defensively and they have lots of versatility on the offensive end. They haven’t lost at full strength, and should be considered the favorite in the substate.
The biggest threat: The Lancers of North Scott have the second ranked scoring defense in 4A, allowing just 43.1 points a game. They’ve always been a fantastic defensive program, and this year is certainly no exception. While they don’t have much size, they have a lot of players who are similarly sized and they can switch on just about everything. Corvon Seales (15.5) is the standout on the offensive end, but this is a balanced group, with everyone in the starting lineup (Seales, Cortaviaus Seales, Reece Sommers, Ty Anderson, Sam Kilburg) a legitimate threat to lead the team in scoring on any given night. Like Senior, they’re a disciplined team that takes great care of the basketball and can really dig in defensively. They haven’t gotten tested on a nightly basis quite to the extent Senior is in the MVC, but this is a veteran group with the weapons to slow down the Rams in the substate final.
Others who could make some noise: There are two teams in this substate who could be dangerous, and they’re dangerous for very different reasons.
Bettendorf has the best individual player in the group in 2019 point guard DJ Carton (23.6). The junior guard absolutely exploded on the grassroots circuit over last summer and is a top-75 player in the junior class nationally. He’s an explosive scorer who is capable of taking over a game, and while the Bulldogs are just 9-12, their methodical style will keep them in most games, and Senior, their semifinal opponent doesn’t play particularly fast either. If the ‘Dogs can keep that one close heading into the fourth quarter, anything can happen with Carton on the floor.
The other potentially dangerous team here is Davenport West, who enter postseason play at 15-6. The Falcons brought back all five starters from last year’s group and have improved tremendously as a result. Trey Sampson (14.8) and Brett Erwin (13.2) give them some great size at 6-7 and 6-8, respectively, and they’ve played semifinal opponent North Scott tough twice. This group is experienced, and if they’re able to pound the glass on both ends of the floor and take advantage of that size, they can do some damage.
Players to watch
2019 Noah Carter, Dubuque Senior
2018 Carter Stevens, Dubuque Senior
2019 Nick Timmerman, Dubuque Senior
2019 DJ Carton, Bettendorf
2018 Kenny Clay, Davenport West
2018 Trey Sampson, Davenport West
2018 Brett Erwin, Davenport West
2018 Nathan Tyson, Davenport Central
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Dubuque Senior vs. North Scott (game location yet to be determined)
There will be times during this game where it will be some of the ugliest basketball you’ve seen. There will be other times where it’s beautiful. Both of these teams are capable of locking each other up, and it wouldn’t surprise us one bit to see this one played in the high 40s or low 50s. Senior is our top ranked team for a reason, and the star duo of Carter and Stevens makes just enough plays to hold off a really good North Scott team and punch their State ticket.