Posted On: 10/31/18 2:30 PM

The Teams
Aplington-Parkersburg (25-2, 20-0): The Falcons were dominant last season, winning every league game by double figures en route to a third place finish at State. They have a huge hole to fill in the form of 6-6 point guard Alec Oberhauser, who averaged 16.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 3.1 steals and 2.2 blocks. So, yeah, a major loss. But 2A’s highest scoring offense returns it’s leading scorer in Carter Cuvelier (19.1), a highly efficient forward who thrives around the rim and can stretch out to the arc and knock down shots. He’s a matchup nightmare with his ball handling and size at this level. Junior Bodden (7.8) gives the Falcons a high-level perimeter defender and slasher, while Aaron Price (6.0) will be called upon to be the team’s top shooting threat. Sam Bachman (1.6) is the only other returnee with significant playing experience. A-P is always filled with athletes, and this year should be no exception, so while they have a bundle of production to replace, don’t be surprised to see them battling it out with Dike-New Hartford for conference supremacy again this year. 

Denver (12-11, 9-10): The top four scorers have graduated for the Cyclones, so they’ll have a number of new faces stepping into bigger roles this winter. Bryce Phelps (8.6) is the leading returnee. He led the ‘Clones with 37 made 3s last year, while also leading the team in steals and dishing out 73 assists. Devin Baas (4.2) is the only other major role player from last year’s group returning. This should be a middle-of-the-road team in the NICL East.

Dike-New Hartford (15-8, 14-7): Three of the Wolverines’ losses last year came to Aplington-Parkersburg, who as we’ve already covered, lost quite a bit of production. The exact opposite is the case for D-NH, who returns every single player from last year’s roster. They’ll be headlined by big man Colton Harberts (16.5), a big, efficient forward who will be dominant on both ends of the floor. And they’ll be able to put a number of shooters around him at all times, with a guard heavy lineup that includes Cade Fuller (15.7), Tim Koop (8.9), Isaac Jorgensen (7.0), Ryan Moore (5.6) and Dane Fuller (4.5). Owen Goos (3.9) will spell Harberts in the paint when he needs a breather. The Wolverines are loaded with depth, talent, experience and versatility. This group has a lot of similarities to the 2015-16 D-NH team that started the year 25-0 and made it to State. Expect big things in Dike this winter.

Hudson (15-9, 12-8): Jacob Murray (6.2) is the only returnee among last year’s top seven for the Pirates, the only one who scored more than 23 points. He led the team in rebounding and blocked 24 shots last year. The 6-4 senior will be the focal point of the offense, which should be much more interior based than last year’s group, which had three players who attempted a minimum of 133 3s a piece. 

Jesup (12-10, 11-8): The J-Hawks lose a pair of double figure scorers, but bring back a big man in Landon Borrett (9.3) who could be dominant this winter. He showed how great he can be with a 21-point, 15-rebound performance against Don Bosco last year, and expect to see that on a regular basis this year. He’s an athletic forward who runs the floor and finishes at a high level. Cade Nolan (7.3) also returns after leading the team in assists (by more than double), while Josh Johnson (4.2) and Cooper Fuelling (2.9) each saw quite a bit of playing time last season. This team doesn’t have much shooting returning, but with a potentially dominant big man and a quality lead guard in tow, they’ll win their share of games. 

Sumner-Fredericksburg (3-19, 1-17): The Cougars were rarely competitive last season, losing games by an average of 67-49, but they bring back their top five, and six of their top seven, from last year’s team, so there is some reason for optimism. James Stimson (15.5) is one of the better scorers in the conference, a skilled lefty guard who looks primed for a big junior year. Blayze Quigley (9.4), Spencer Schmitz (8.1), Jordon Jacobson (5.8) and Kelby Olson (5.7) likely round out the starting five. This group struggled with their efficiency (37-29-68 shooting splits) and turnovers (385 turnovers to 229 assists). If they can clean up those areas, they could double (or more) their win total from last year. 

Union, LaPorte City (5-17, 4-13): The Knights bring back leading scorer Silver Schmitz (10.5), a 6-6 senior wing who does a majority of his damage around the rim. Carter Asmussan (5.4) and Dawson Edwards (6.2) give them some shooting, but this group may struggle to replace Koby Alpers, who was the only player on the roster with more assists than turnovers last season. 

Wapsie Valley (17-8, 11-5): Paul Rundquist (21.1), one of the most explosive scorers in the state, returns to lead the Warriors. The senior guard has an extremely green light and can both shoot Wapsie to wins and shoot them out of games, making this group a volatile team to try and predict. Kobe Risse (7.1) and Blayde Bellis (1.4) return after productive freshmen seasons, giving the Warriors two more solid guards alongside Rundquist, while Kiks Rosengarten (2.7), a 6-5 forward, will be the go-to player in the paint. Depending on how Rundquist is playing, this team can beat anyone in the league, or lose to just about anyone in the league. But he’s an awful lot of fun to watch. 

Waterloo Columbus (2-20, 2-16): Players were in and out of the lineup all year for the Sailors, who lost 18 straight games to close out last season. Alex Zike (11.3) will be this year’s go-to scorer for a team that only lost four points from last year’s roster. There is constant turnover on this roster, and until they show that they’re capable of competing even with the mid-tier teams in the league, it’s hard to expect much from them.


Projected Order of Finish
1. Dike-New Hartford
2. Aplington-Parkersburg
3. Wapsie Valley
4. Jesup
5. Denver
6. Hudson
7. Sumner-Fredericksburg
8. Union
9. Waterloo Columbus

Analysis: This is a two-horse race, and while we certainly presume the Dike-New Hartford team that returns everyone to be the favorite, would it shock us to see Aplington-Parkersburg back at the top? Absolutely not. 


Preseason Player of the Year

2019 Carter Cuvelier, Aplington-Parkersburg: 19.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.3 steals, 60.0 FG%

A remarkably efficient forward who does a majority of his damage around the rim, don’t be surprised to see Cuvelier average a double-double for a Falcons team that will be right at the top of the league again. 


Biggest Sleeper

2019 Junior Bodden, Aplington-Parkersburg: The senior guard is a great athlete who competes on both ends of the floor. He’ll be asked to step into a bigger role this year, while also being asked to be the team’s primary perimeter defender. He should have a big senior season for the Falcons on both ends of the floor. 


Players to Watch
2019 Carter Cuvelier, Aplington-Parkersburg
2019 Junior Bodden, Aplington-Parkersburg
2019 Aaron Price, Aplington-Parkersburg
2019 Paul Rundquist, Wapsie Valley
2021 Kobe Risse, Wapsie Valley
2019 Colton Harberts, Dike-New Hartford
2019 Tim Koop, Dike-New Hartford
2019 Cade Fuller, Dike-New Hartford
2019 Isaac Jorgensen, Dike-New Hartford
2019 Ryan Moore, Dike-New Hartford
2021 Dane Fuller, Dike-New Hartford
2020 Landon Borrett, Jesup
2019 Cade Nolan, Jesup
2019 Silver Schmitz, Union, LaPorte City
2020 James Stimson, Sumner-Fredericksburg
2019 Blayze Quigley, Sumner-Fredericksburg
2021 Bryce Phelps, Denver
2019 Alex Zike, Waterloo Columbus
2020 Cannon Butler, Waterloo Columbus
2019 Jacob Murray, Hudson