Posted On: 11/9/18 4:00 PM
Burlington, Notre Dame (17-7)
After a solid season last winter, it appears that the Nikes could see themselves back near the top of the conference in 2019. Leading scorer Ryle Koenig is a sure-fire preseason first-team all-conference selection and we think fellow senior Gavin Kies will have a breakout season.
Cardinal, Eldon (1-19)
It could be another season at the bottom of the division for the Comets. They won just one game last season, and the best three scorers from that team graduated. It certainly doesn’t help that they play in an extremely tough conference. Look for a core group of juniors to try and bring the Comets out of the gutter the next two seasons.
Central Lee, Donnellson (18-6)
After posting an impressive 18 wins last season, the Hawks are going to have a mostly new-look squad this season. The top four scorers from last winter have graduated, leaving the door open for guys like Sam Hirmir and Tyler Hopp to come in and take the reins.
Last season was a down year for a Danville squad that had been routinely one of the most winning teams in the conference. Is this the year they return to supremacy? If experience is any indicator of success, than absolutely it is. Max Wilcox returns for his senior season, he can light it up. And the top 11 scorers from last season return.
Holy Trinity Catholic (5-18)
Last season was tough for the Crusaders, but things are certainly looking up. Three juniors are back that led the team in scoring last season, and we think that experience will pay dividends this season and certainly next year, too. Look for Reed Fehseke, Matt Hellige and Quentin Schneider to get this team back into contention this season.
New London (19-5)
Not only do the Tigers have a division title and conference title on their minds, but they have a state title on the brain. And rightfully so. We have them ranked No. 5 in the Way Too Early 1A Rankings, here’s why: Mason Porter returns for his senior season, he’s the preseason player of the year, and the top four scorers from last season’s 19-win team return.
Van Buren (11-11)
Jaeden Gerig led the team in scoring last year, he’s gone now. But that’s no reason to feel less-than-optimistic in Keosaqua right now. The next four top scorers are back, all seniors, and will provide ample experience and skill to make this Warriors team a threat to get into the top half of the division.
Yet another team that has plenty to look forward to this winter, the Warriors are going to return a lot of talent from last season’s 10-win squad. The only thing going against them is that nearly every other team in this division is in a similar boat. Can Nick Coble, Drew Kissell and Co. get this team into the upper half of the division?
West Burlington (14-7)
Tanner Snodgrass and Jonah Marlow are going to be at the helm this season for the Falcons, and after winning 17 games last season, they could match or surpass that success season. It’ll be tough to win 17 games again in this conference, but we think West Burlington could be up to the task.
Projected Order of Finish
1 New London
2 Notre Dame, Burlington
4 West Burlington
6 Van Buren
7 Holy Trinity Catholic
8 Central Lee, Donnellson
9 Cardinal, Eldon
New London is the clear favorite here, they won more games than any other team in the division last season, and return the four best scorers from that team. They’ll be gunning for a conference title and a state title thereafter. But it won’t be easy, there’s seven very solid teams in this division, and nearly each night out, the Tigers can expect a battle.
Mason Porter, New London — 2019
Other returning guys had better stats than him last season, but there’s a reason for that: Porter only played the last nine games of the season after making a recovery from a severe hand injury. He spent his spring and summer getting back into form with Iowa Pump N Run 17U, and we expect him to be back in dominant form this season for the Tigers; much like he was as a sophomore.
Gavin Kies, Notre Dame — 2019
Last season he was a key player for the Nikes, and he spent this offseason very noticeably improving his confidence and his game with Iowa Pump N Run 17U. Now, we think he’s ready to take the reins, along with teammate Ryle Koenig, and become a top-tier player in this conference, who could average north up 15 points per game.
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