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Posted On: 02/19/18 12:30 PM
The favorite: Hoover enters postseason play with an 18-2 record, but coming off a 60-40 loss to Johnston in which they didn’t look good at all. The Huskies have the third ranked scoring defense at just 43.3 points a game and they have the ability to really lock up teams on that end of the floor. They’re a better scoring team than previous Hoover teams, with three players averaging in double figures, led by Devonte Thedford (16.0). Hosea Treadwell (12.4) and Adam Jackson (11.8) provide additional scoring punch. The Huskies struggled to get things going against Johnston’s zone, but few teams will have the length or defensive skills to match the Dragons ability there. Look for Hoover to get things turned back around and get through this substate.
The biggest threat: Last year’s runner up, the Valley Tigers got off to a bit of a rough start this season, but enter the playoffs hot, winning eight straight. They’re allowing just 41.8 points a game during that stretch, and if they can keep playing defense like that, they’ll have a real chance at making a run to State. The Tigers have a balanced group of scorers, led by Trayvon Williams (10.5), an athletic, slashing wing who can take over games at times. Future Indiana State big man Blake Brinkmeyer can control the paint and protect the rim, and this is a group that can go really deep, with 10 or 11 players that’re comfortable playing on any given night. They swept Centennial, their likely semifinal opponent, but those wins came by three and two. They aren’t an explosive offensive team, but with the way they’re defending of late, they won’t need to score too much.
Others who could make some noise: There is one legitimate threat outside of Hoover and Valley in the rest of the substate, and a few teams that could make things interesting if things bounced the right way.
The legitimate threat is Ankeny Centennial. The Jaguars are 13-8 on the season and have the No. 7 scoring defense in 4A, allowing just 47.8 points a game. The Jags have proven they can beat quality teams with a win over Waukee, and they’re led by one of the better guards in the state in Hunter Strait (16.7). He’s capable of getting red hot and carrying this group to wins, and guys like Zach Kluver (9.1), Micah Johnson (7.7) and Jackson Brannan (6.0) have had great stretches of play as well.
Marshalltown has improved immensely this season from where they were last year, largely because of the play of Bobcats’ star Luke Appel (21.5). The 6-7 forward is a load on the block, shooting 72% from 2-point range on the season. They’re able to surround him with some capable shooters like Josh Melde (37.8 3P%), Jacob Smith (47.3) and Austin Shomo (41.1). They upset Des Moines North on the final night of the regular season, and if they’re able to get by Urbandale in the first round, Appel is the type of player that Hoover could struggle to defend.
Urbandale has a pair of double figure scorers in AJ Costello (14.7) and Henry Drake (13.1). Costello, at 6-7 and with the ability to score inside and out, can be a tough matchup, and Drake is a physical lead guard who can get into the paint, defend on the perimeter and knock down 3s. They’d need to play a nearly flawless game to beat Hoover, but they have some pieces who can be tough to defend.
Players to watch
2018 Devonte Thedford, Des Moines Hoover
2019 Adam Jackson, Des Moines Hoover
2019 Hosea Treadwell, Des Moines Hoover
2019 Trayvon Williams, West Des Moines Valley
2018 Blake Brinkmeyer, West Des Moines Valley
2018 Hunter Strait, Ankeny Centennial
2018 Luke Appel, Marshalltown
2018 AJ Costello, Urbandale
2018 Henry Drake, Urbandale
2018 Will Feller, Des Moines Lincoln
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Des Moines Hoover vs. West Des Moines Valley (game played at a yet to be determined location)
In another CIML substate final game that could be low scoring, we take Hoover over a really hot Valley team. The Huskies have been one of the top teams in the state all season, and their guard play carries them to Wells Fargo.