Posted On: 02/12/18 9:23 AM
It’s the final week of regular season basketball for Classes 3A and 4A. Classes 1A and 2A have already started district play. Hard to believe the season’s almost over, isn’t it? We take a look at the best regular season games to watch in the season’s final week below.
MONDAY (Feb. 12)
Game of the night: Winterset at Newton
Newton’s standout guard Garrett Sturtz is making a push for the state’s scoring title, averaging 32.5 points a game for the Cardinals. Against a middle of the road Winterset defense, he’s got a great chance at increasing that scoring average on Monday night. This should be an entertaining, up-and-down affair as Winterset’s dynamic backcourt of Easton Darling (16.7) and Casey Kleemeier (14.1) isn’t afraid of pushing the tempo, and the Huskies won’t have an answer for Sturtz. Look for Sturtz to approach 40 as the Cardinals pull out a tight home win.
Our pick: Newton 67, Winterset 63
Others to monitor
Boone at Nevada
Dakota Valley (SD) at Spirit Lake
Linn-Mar at Waverly-Shell Rock
TUESDAY (Feb. 13)
Game of the night: 4A No. 5 Cedar Falls at 4A No. 10 Dubuque Hempstead
Cedar Falls has been arguably the best team in the state since the holiday break, winning 11 of 12 games, with the lone loss coming by a point to Waterloo West. AJ Green has been stellar, averaging 26.6 points and ranking second in the state in 3s made with 86 (shooting 48%). The Tigers are getting quality production out of their role players as well, as Logan Wolf, Jack Campbell, Ben Gerdes and Jackson Frericks are all playing solid basketball. They’ll have their hands full with the Lucas Duax (18.4) and Keith Johnson (15.2) combination. But at the end of the day, Green outduels Duax and the Tigers add another quality win to their resume.
Our pick: Cedar Falls 66, Dubuque Hempstead 59
Others to monitor
South Tama at Benton Community
Webster City at 3A No. 9 Clear Lake
Harlan at Creston
West Des Moines Dowling at 4A No. 2 Des Moines Hoover
Ankeny Centennial at 4A No. 6 Johnston
3A No. 6 Davenport Assumption at Muscatine
3A No. 2 Mount Pleasant at Pella
3A No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier at Dubuque Wahlert
Cedar Rapids Prairie at Waterloo West
THURSDAY (Feb. 15)
Game of the night: 4A No. 4 Iowa City West at 3A No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier
This matchup between defending state champions should be entertaining, but West’s size is going to be really tough for the Saints to match up with. The big advantage the Trojans will have here is that they have a pair of 6-8 players in Patrick McCaffery (21.0) and Seybian Sims (14.5) who not only score around the rim, but can also defend multiple positions on the perimeter. Look for McCaffery to get a shot at Matt Mims (22.1) throughout the night, and if Xavier is going to win, they’ll need a big shooting night from Jackson Joens (17.4). The Saints will likely get beaten on the glass on both ends of the floor, and that ends up being the deciding factor here. The Trojans’ backcourt of Evan Flitz (6.1, 40.4 3P%) and Dante Eldridge (11.4, 48.0%) make enough shots to take some pressure off of McCaffery and Sims, then West’s length suffocates Xavier.
Our pick: Iowa City West 64, Cedar Rapids Xavier 56
Others to monitor
4A No. 10 Dubuque Hempstead at Cedar Rapids Jefferson
3A No. 7 Carroll at Harlan
Dubuque Wahlert at Cedar Rapids Prairie
FRIDAY (Feb. 16)
Game of the night: 4A No. 2 Des Moines Hoover at 4A No. 6 Johnston
This is a matchup between a pair of strong defensive teams. Hoover is second in 4A, allowing just 42.4 points a game, while Johnston is sixth, allowing 47.2. The Huskies have won 13 straight games entering the week, and are riding that strong defense, and a much more explosive (and balanced) offense than they’ve had in recent years. Three players are averaging in double figures for Hoover, led by Devonte Thedford (16.7), who has been outstanding. Hosea Treadwell (12.4), Adam Jackson (12.4) and Kenny Quinn (4.4, 80 assists, 19 turnovers) join him in a four-guard lineup that really gets after teams on the defensive end. Nick Johnson (7.4) adds some size on the interior. The Huskies will have a lot of shooters to chase around on Friday night, as Johnston’s trio of sharpshooters is among the best in the state. Camden Vander Zwaag (14.7, 34.6 3P%), Boston Grimes (13.9, 45.0%) and Bo Sandquist (10.2, 40.5%) are all capable of getting red hot at any given time, and Peyton Williams (12.9, 28 blocks) gives them rim protection. It’ll come down to which guards out play the others, and we’ll give the edge to Hoover’s athletic guards getting the job done on both ends of the floor.
Our pick: Des Moines Hoover 54, Johnston 48
Others to monitor
West Des Moines Dowling at Ankeny
Davenport North at 3A No. 6 Davenport Assumption
Muscatine at 4A No. 7 Pleasant Valley
SATURDAY (Feb. 17)
Game of the night: Cretin-Derham Hall (MN) at 4A No. 4 Iowa City West
Iowa City West will have their hands full in the final game of the regular season. The Trojans went up to the Minneapolis area last season and got beat by the Raiders, 85-72, and that group returns just about everyone. They’re the top ranked team in Minnesota’s AAAA, and have a number of players the Trojans struggled to defend last year, and that’ll likely be the case again this season. CDH is led by Minnesota commit Daniel Oturu, a 6-9 athletic freak who runs the floor and protects the rim as well as just about anyone in the Midwest. Ryan Larson is a lightning quick point guard who can get into the paint at will, and Sy Chatman is a Division I caliber forward. West has size with Sims and McCaffery, but they don’t match up with the physicality of Oturu, and they’ll struggle again to contain Larson, who is one of the fastest guards I’ve ever seen going end-to-end. CDH has spent a large chunk of the season nationally ranked by various publications, and if West is going to pull the upset, they’ll need to find a way to get Oturu into foul trouble quickly and out of the picture.
Our pick: Cretin-Derham Hall 83, Iowa City West 65