STATE TOURNAMENT: Friday Preview

High School
Iowa

Posted On: 03/9/18 11:56 AM

Jake Hilmer

1A Championship: No. 1 North Linn (28-0) vs. No. 2 Grand View Christian (24-1), 2:00 p.m.

How they got here: North Linn rolled over Edgewood-Colesburg in the quarterfinal round, 80-34, then pulled away from Don Bosco 74-51 in the semifinals. Grand View Christian survived a scare from Council Bluffs, St. Albert, 78-68, in the quarterfinals, then had an eight-point fourth quarter comeback to beat Remsen, St. Mary’s, 59-53, in the semifinals.

Analysis: This is the matchup we’ve anticipated seeing all year in the 1A championship, and it has materialized.

North Linn has continued their dominant season in the first few rounds of the tournament, winning their pair of games by an average of 34.5 points a game, and they’re outscoring teams by an average of 91-36 this season. While we don’t anticipate that happening in this one, the pressure that they put on opposing ball handlers should be effective against a GVC backcourt that has at times looked vulnerable to pressure in their games against St. Albert and St. Mary’s. Jake Hilmer is averaging 24.5 points and seven assists this week, while Ryan Miller is averaging 24 points a game. Their constant up-and-down style could potentially wear down the Thunder in this one. This group has been building for this moment all year, conditioning themselves to run all night, and they’ll be looking to push GVC and make them uncomfortable and tired.

Grand View Christian’s biggest story has been 6-7 junior big man Issa Samake, who has been dominant when he’s been on the floor. But that’s the issue – he’s fouled out of both games this week. Look for the North Linn guards to attack him and get him into early foul trouble. He’ll need to stay disciplined and not leave his feet for blocks in order to stay on the floor. Thunder point guard Grant DeMeulenaere has had a rough shooting week, going just a combined 8-38 in their two wins, but he’s been clutch down the stretch, making plenty of late free throws in both games. This Thunder group is largely in tact from last year’s title winning team, plus they’ve added Samake to the mix. If he can stay on the floor, he’s a major edge that the Lynx simply can’t match up with.

Players to watch
North Linn: Ryan Miller (2018), Jake Hilmer (2019), David Seber (2019)
Grand View Christian: Grant DeMeulenaere (2018), Arturo Montes (2019), Mach Nyaw (2019), Sam Glenn (2019), Bryce Crabb (2019), Issa Samake (2019)

Our pick: North Linn 74, Grand View Christian 66 (This Lynx team has been building for this moment all year, and we believe that they’ll be able to get Samake into foul trouble again, negating that edge for GVC. North Linn creates a lot of turnovers and takes home the first title in school history.

 

Haris Hoffman is averaging 20 points on 13-22 shooting this week

2A Championship: No. 1 Treynor (26-0) vs. No. 6 Cascade (25-1), 3:45 p.m.

How they got here: Treynor survived Wapello, 59-53, in the quarterfinals, then escaped a comeback scare from Aplington-Parkersburg, 75-66, to advance to the championship. Cascade has rolled over both Van Meter (60-47) and Sheldon (65-43) en route to the title game.

Analysis: These teams have without a doubt been the two most impressive teams in 2A all week, so it’s certainly fitting that they meet here.

Treynor has some outstanding guard play in Dillon Faubel, Luke Clausen and Jack Stogdill, and the Cardinals have been on fire from the 3-point line this week, including a 12-25 performance in the semifinal win over A-P. This is a group that struggled a bit against A-P’s pressure in the semifinals, and while Cascade doesn’t have a 6-6 player to put at the top of their press like Alec Oberhauser, they do possess plenty of length and quickness across the board. While the Cougars aren’t traditionally much of a pressing team, they’ve shown some of it this week, and look for that to continue before dropping back into their 2-3 zone.

Cascade has been out of their minds from behind the arc this week, going 23-45 as a team. This is a group that shot only 33.9% from the arc on the season, but they’ve been letting it fly this week and look like the most confident group in the state. It’s a team that has been playing together for a long time, and the beauty of the Cougars is that anybody can lead the team in scoring on any given night. They have a starting five of nearly identical players, all between about 6-1 and 6-4, with length and shooting ability. They’re extremely active in their zone and will force Treynor to keep lighting it up from the arc if they want to take home another state title (2015).

Players to watch
Treynor: Dillon Faubel (2018), Luke Clausen (2018), Jon Schwarte (2020)
Cascade: Johnny Supple (2018), Gannon O’Brien (2018), Brock Simon (2018), Haris Hoffman (2019)

Our pick: Cascade 66, Treynor 63 (With the way this team is rolling right now, it’s tough to pick against them. They almost look like a “team of destiny” this week, and we think the hot shooting continues, as Cascade takes home their first state title.)

 

Nate Mohr’s 92% shooting from the FT line will play a major part in the 3A Championship

3A Championship: No. 4 Glenwood (24-2) vs. No. 3 Oskaloosa (23-3), 6:30 p.m.

How they got here: Glenwood had a 20-point comeback against Norwalk in the quarterfinals to win 67-58, then unseated two-time defending champion Xavier, 69-63, in the semifinals. Oskaloosa used a huge second half spurt to knock off Sergeant Bluff-Luton, 63-47, then survived a scare from Waverly-Shell Rock, 48-45, to advance to the championship.

Analysis: Glenwood put together one of the best halves you’ll see of basketball in the quarterfinal round, when they overcame an 18-point halftime deficit to beat Norwalk. Since then, the Rams have been rolling. Their “Big Three” of Nate Mohr, Andrew Blum and Christian Stanislav looks like they’re on a mission, and they’ve gotten really solid production out of the rest of the roster this week as well. Their guard play should give them an edge here, and they’re playing with a tremendous amount of confidence. They’re not going to be intimidated one bit by the size of Oskaloosa.

Oskaloosa’s second half against Sergeant Bluff-Luton was also highly impressive, but they struggled to dispatch Waverly-Shell Rock in the semifinals, in large part because of a 9-24 performance from the free throw line. The Indians possess some incredible size with 6-11 Xavier Foster, 6-9 Cole Henry and 6-5 Jarad Kruse in the starting lineup, and each is highly skilled. The Indians will need to use that size edge to control the paint on both ends of the floor, and they’ll need to stay out of foul trouble as well, which has been a bit of an issue at times during the week. It’ll be interesting to see how the incredibly young Indians play under the bright lights. This is a team that is maybe a year ahead of schedule. Will they rise to the occasion?

Players to watch
Glenwood: Nate Mohr (2018), Andrew Blum (2018), Christian Stanislav (2019), Ryan Blum (2021)
Oskaloosa: Xavier Foster (2020), Jarad Kruse (2018), Cole Henry (2019)

Our pick: Glenwood 68, Oskaloosa 60 (This is a game that could very well be decided at the free throw line, and that’s where Glenwood has a huge edge. If the Rams are able to build a lead, Nate Mohr is a 92% free throw shooter. That will play a factor here late, and the Rams take home their first ever state title. Sensing a trend here?)

 

AJ Green is averaging 26.5 points a game this week, and looks to lead Cedar Falls to their first state title

4A Championship: No. 1 Iowa City West (21-4) vs. No. 3 Cedar Falls (20-5), 8:15 p.m.

How they got here: Iowa City West overcame Joe Wieskamp and Muscatine, 62-50, in the quarterfinals, then used a second half run to get by Waukee, 58-50. Cedar Falls rolled over Sioux City East, 75-47, then won a back-and-forth affair with West Des Moines Valley, 67-58.

Analysis: This is a rematch of a regular season meeting, won by Cedar Falls, 55-54, back on January 16. AJ Green did AJ Green things in that game, scoring 36 of the Tigers’ 55 points, shooting 13-24 from the floor, en route to the win.

West is looking for their fifth state title in the last seven years, and they’ll have the size edge inside with Patrick McCaffery and Seybian Sims. In the regular season meeting, that duo combined for 34 points on 15-23 shooting, but the Trojans didn’t get much help from the rest of the roster, as the Tigers length on the perimeter did a nice job of swallowing up the smaller West guards. They’ll need to get more production out of Dante Eldridge and Evan Flitz if they want to take home another title. Hakeem Odunsi is the ultimate X-factor here. He’s an incredibly talented, 6-6 playmaking wing who took over the Trojans’ semifinal win, finishing with 18 points. If he plays like that again, West is going to be tough to beat.

Cedar Falls has been the most impressive team in the 4A tournament, as the role players have stepped up and contributed in a big way. AJ Green still leads the tournament in scoring, by a large margin, averaging 26.5 points a game, but many of those points are coming in 3-4 point spurts in each game. As a result, Logan Wolf has been outstanding, and the Ben Gerdes, Jackson Frericks, Jack Campbell trio has been reliable. The Tigers have been really good on both ends of the floor, and they’ve looked like the team to beat since the tournament started.

Players to watch
Iowa City West: Patrick McCaffery (2019), Seybian Sims (2018), Evan Flitz (2018), Dante Eldridge (2019), Hakeem Odunsi (2018)
Cedar Falls: AJ Green (2018), Logan Wolf (2019)

Our pick: Cedar Falls 62, Iowa City West 60 (This one should be a great game. It’s tough to beat West twice in the same season, but if anyone is going to do it, it’s an AJ Green-led team. The Tigers were my state title pick at the start of the tournament, and I can’t pick against them now. They complete the “first in school history” sweep and take a title back to Cedar Falls.)