Posted On: 03/16/18 11:30 AM
The future Northern Iowa star not only led his team to their first ever boys basketball state championship, but he led the entire tournament in scoring throughout the week, while making 14 of 30 shots from behind the arc, each seemingly deeper and more difficult than the previous. He’s the best shooter we’ve seen in our time as a company, and his game was on full display as the Tigers cruised through the 4A field. He also pulled down 7.7 rebounds a game during their three-game run, nearly two more than he averaged during the season.
It’s clear that Samake still has a long ways to go in terms of his skill set development, but the mere presence of the 6-7 athletic freak with a 7-4 wingspan completely altered the 1A championship game. He battled foul trouble all week (fouling out of the Thunder’s first two games), but he changed the way North Linn’s high powered offense operated in the title game. He was dominant when he was on the floor, both on the floor and with his rim protection, and his highlight reel dunks changed momentum to GVC’s favor many times throughout the week.
The captain of the 3A all-tournament team, Blum is one of only three players to average a double-double on the week (Samake, Joe Wieskamp’s one game), and he was consistently great in helping lead the Rams to their first ever state title. He was at his best in their semifinal and championship wins, when he averaged 20.5 points and 11.5 rebounds (on 60% shooting). He showcased his all-around offensive skill set during the week, knocking down five 3s in addition to his domination around the rim. He’ll play football at Northwest Missouri State next year, but a fantastic career on the hardwood culminated in a state title.
The best player on the state champion Cougars was Hoffman, and he was great throughout the week, leading an incredibly balanced team in scoring and steals. He was at his best in their semifinal drubbing of Sheldon, when he scored 23 points (9-13 shooting) to go with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. He’s a high-level shooter from the arc and the free throw line who just knows how to score and play the game the right way.
Hilmer didn’t post the eye-popping numbers that he did during the regular season, but he was still the best player on the floor at the 1A State Tournament, leading the tournament in scoring, assists and steals while leading the Lynx to a runner-up finish. His 20-6-9-8 stat line in their opening win over Edgewood-Colesburg showcased to the state exactly what he’s capable of on a nightly basis.