Posted On: 11/20/18 9:00 AM
There’s going to be a new-look starting five for AHSTW this season. RJ Harris, Jake Martin and Jack Paulson accounted for 40.7 points per game last season, they’re gone. It’ll be seniors Blake Oshbahr and Jason Juhl that will need to take the reins this season.
Tate Killeen has been the man for the Wheelers for a couple seasons now, and he brings a wealth of skill plus experience back. Lane Lawson is another senior who made a big impact last season. And there’s a slew of other guys who are chomping at the bit to see their roles increase.
After winning zero games two seasons ago, Griswold was able to muster two wins last winter. Josh Brownlee is the leading returning scorer, he averaged 5.9 points per game last season.
The Wolves have a habit of winning 15 or more games, they’ve done so every year since 2014 when we starting covering hoops in the state. They’ll look to keep that streak going this season with senior Alex Lingle leading the charge.
Jesup Lake is a first-team all-conference preseason pick, he averaged 13.9 points per game last season. Other seniors Matt Soetmelk, Joel Richardson and Mason Rosengren will see their roles increase for a Panthers squad that should win a lot of games this winter.
Missouri Valley (4-17)
For two straight seasons now the Big Reds have won only four games. Things might not get much better this season. The top three scorers from last season are now gone. Steven Murray is back, he averaged 3.7 points per game last winter. Nick Tennis will have to carry much of the load as well.
The Bulldogs have just 13 wins in the last five years. Last season’s four-win squad was tied for the most wins in that time-frame. Some good news, though, the Bulldogs did not graduate one player from last year’s team. Damian Fouch and AJ Dillon will lead the charge again this season.
An elite small-school program in Iowa, Treynor has been a mainstay at the state tourney of late, and was painstakingly close to bringing home a 2A crown last March. They don’t rebuild, they reload, and it’ll be Jon Schwarte and Jack Stogdill that could lead this edition of the Cardinals to state.
Plenty of seniors graduated from last season’s 17-win squad. That leaves the door open for now-seniors Brady Huebner, Jackson Roane and Wyatt Anderson to step in and try and keep the momentum rolling for the Trojans.
Thomas Conn and and Jacob Privia are now graduated, but there’s still plenty to be optimistic about in Underwood this season. Senior Jalen Humphrey is poised to make the leap to go-to guys this season, and the the next seven best scorers after Conn and Privia return from last season’s moderately successful 15-win squad.
Projected Order of Finish
9 Missouri Valley
Treynor checks in at No. 10 in our now-not-so-early Way Too Early 2A Rankings, and is a program that’s not only been a mainstay at the state tourney of late, but returns plenty of talent from last season’s runner-up. IKM-Manning has had a couple “down” seasons after they strung several 20+ win seasons together earlier in the decade, but they should again be formidable. Logan-Magnolia, Underwood and Audubon will all pose a great challenge each night out.
Preseason Player of the Year
Jon Schwarte, Treynor — 2020
As a sophomore with Treynor, Schwarte was a dominant inside force that helped lead the Cardinals to a state title game last season. Plenty of guys graduated from that team, but Schwarte is a returning starter who will not only see his offensive numbers balloon this season, but will remain one of the more dominant defensive forces in the state.
Blake Hall, Underwood — 2021
Hall was a freshman last season and got his feet wet while averaging 7.4 points per game for a 15-win Eagles team. The two best scorers from that unit graduated, and with Hall’s experience and skill, the 6-foot guard could be in a position to score 15 points per game this season, or more.