Posted On: 01/11/19 9:19 AM
The second annual Wells Fargo Advisors Shootout tips off this coming Saturday, January 12th, in downtown Cedar Rapids, with seven games on the slate. We get started with Bellevue vs. Durant at 10:15 am, and conclude with Linn-Mar vs. Cedar Rapids Kennedy, with tip scheduled for 7:15 pm, and plenty of quality basketball in between. Below, we preview each of the first session’s games, including some players to keep an eye on and make our picks for each of the seven games.
The Shootout has partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation this season, raising money for the charity which serves to help children with critical illnesses fulfill a wish that they might have. To learn more about Make-A-Wish, or to donate, please visit https://www.wfashootout.com/sponsors-1.
We’ll ease into the action on Saturday morning with a game featuring a pair of teams who have struggled so far this season. Bellevue has really struggled on the offensive end of the floor, ranking 90th (out of 96 teams) in 2A in scoring, averaging just 42.8 points a game. They could struggle to score here, with the very different shooting backdrop than what they’re used to. Durant shoots more 3s as a team (nearly 36% of their shot attempts are from the arc), but they also have a few big men that they should be able to dump the ball into should the offense struggle to get going in Joe Lilenthal and Bryce Lafrenz, who should be able to score inside against a smaller Comets lineup.
Our pick: Durant 54, Bellevue 46
Players to watch
Bellevue: Paxton Felderman (10.7 points), Trey Daugherty (9.8 points)
Durant: Easton Botkins (15.9 points, 4.0 assists, 2.6 steals), Mason Compton (10.0 points), Joe Lilenthal (9.5 points), Bryce Lafrenz (9.4 points)
11:45 am: 2A No. 1 North Linn (10-0) vs. Aplington-Parkersburg (9-2)
Two of the highest scoring teams in Class 2A meet in this one, with top ranked North Linn pacing the class (and state) at 90.8 points a game, while the Falcons rank 13th at 67.4 a game. The Lynx’s attack is headlined by lead guard Jake Hilmer, who is averaging 24 points a game and is the state’s all-time leader in steals and assists. Five other players average between 7.8 and 14.8 points a game for the Lynx, who routinely look to push the tempo and use their full court press to create havoc. A-P’s leading ball handler is Carter Cuvelier, a 6-4 forward, who averages 17.3 points a game and leads the team in assists. He may struggle against the pressure that the Lynx will apply, and if North Linn is able to force turnovers and get out and running, they could roll. The Falcons will need to get solid production out of role players like Aaron Bartels, Aaron Price and Junior Bodden, particularly on the defensive end, if they want to hang around.
Our pick: North Linn 82, Aplington-Parkersburg 68
Players to watch
North Linn: Jake Hilmer (24.2 points, 11.4 assists, 5.4 steals), Trevor Boge (14.8 points, 69.2 FG%), David Seber (14.2 points)
Aplington-Parkersburg: Carter Cuvelier (17.3 points, 5.8 rebounds), Junior Bodden (9.7 points, 6.7 rebounds), Aaron Price (10.3 points, 48.1 3P%)
1:15 pm: Mount Pleasant (5-5) vs. 2A No. 2 Camanche (11-0)
It’s been an interesting season so far for Mount Pleasant, as the Panthers had to replace their entire starting lineup and their coach after the graduation of one of the most productive senior classes in school history. They’ll have their hands full against a Camanche team that is among the best in Class 2A on both ends of the floor, ranking 12th in both scoring offense (68.1) and defense (46.1). The Indians have a number of talented scoring threats, headlined by Cameron Soenksen (18.2 points per game), while Caleb Delzell (15.6) and Carson Seeser (11.2) are also capable of filling it up. Mount Pleasant has really struggled on the offensive end this season (38.1 FG%, 21.1 3P%), and playing in an unfamiliar venue likely won’t help that. Camanche should get a comfortable win against the bigger school in this one.
Our pick: Camanche 68, Mount Pleasant 55
Players to watch
Mount Pleasant: Sam Beatty (14.8 points), Keegan Kohorst (10.0 points)
Camanche: Cameron Soenksen (18.6 points), Caleb Delzell (15.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists), Carson Seeser (9.9 points, 50.0 3P%)
2:45 pm: Marion (6-4) vs. Independence (2-7)
After riding a superb defense to a surprise state tournament berth last season, Marion has put together one of 3A’s top offenses this year, averaging 65.6 points a game, good for 12th in the class. The Indians got off to a strong 6-1 start before dropping three straight by a combined 12 points. They’ve been led by Will Henricksen, a talented junior scoring guard who leads them with 19.4 points a game. A transfer from Xavier, he’s sparked what had in previous years been a slower paced attack. Conference foe Independence has had a rough start to the season, entering their Friday matchup against Benton with a 2-8 record. They’ve been at the opposite end of the spectrum offensively, averaging just 51 points a game, which ranks 57th (out of 64) in 3A. Marion should be able to get back on track here with a dominant win behind a good afternoon from Henricksen.
Our pick: Marion 71, Independence 51
Players to watch
Marion: Will Henricksen (19.4 points, 44.9 3P%), Trevor Paulsen (11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds)
Independence: Sean Geertsema (10.4 points), Logan Schmitt (8.8 points, 5.4 rebounds)
This is another conference game, with these teams heading in opposite directions. West enters with a 6-3 record, including quality wins over Cedar Falls and Linn-Mar, while City has lost seven straight games after a 2-0 start. The Wahawks are led by junior wing Caleb Haag (16.6 points per game), who has been one of the biggest breakout performers in 4A this season. An athletic, slashing wing, he’s capable of scoring at all three levels but is at his best when he’s attacking. Isaiah Johnson (15.2) gives them another athletic wing scorer who can shoot it, and Jaden Keller has been really strong all around this season as the team’s primary ball handler. City is headlined by 5-9 senior guard Antonio Turner (14.3), with a balanced attack alongside him. Turner is a quick guard capable of getting to the rim, but the West guards and wings should be able to contain him and make others beat them. City has been competitive, with five of those seven losses coming by single digits, but West’s athleticism isn’t a good matchup for them, and the Wahawks should add another ‘W’ to their column.
Our pick: Waterloo West 65, City High 58
Players to watch
Waterloo West: Caleb Haag (16.4 points), Isaiah Johnson (16.1 points)
Iowa City High: Antonio Turner (14.8 points), Carter Westlake (10.0 points)
5:45 pm: Cedar Rapids Jefferson (4-5) vs. 3A No. 7 Oskaloosa (8-2)
This is the headlining game of the day in terms of highly thought of prospects, as Oskaloosa brings a pair of big-time (and really big) players into town in the form of 6-10 senior Cole Henry (20.8) and 7-0 junior Xavier Foster (15.3). Henry has signed to play at Northern Iowa, while Foster is a nationally ranked four-star prospect who will have plenty of options to choose from. This is a fascinating matchup for the Indians, loaded with size, as Jefferson is one of the smallest big school teams in the state, with their tallest player listed at 6-4, and their tallest regular rotation piece at 6-2. Henry and Rian Yates (9.9), Oskaloosa’s top two ball handlers, will have their hands full with the speed that Jefferson’s smaller lineup will throw at them. And if they struggle with turnovers, the J-Hawks will take advantage and turn those into points. Jefferson has some quality shooters in their three guard attack with Willie Guy (14.7), Ozzie Meiborg (12.4) and Blaze Bouzek (8.8), and they’ll need to knock down some shots to avoid Foster in the paint, who is blocking north of six shots a game. This game should be fairly simple – if Oskaloosa turns it over a bunch against the quickness of Jefferson, the J-Hawks will stick around and can win. If Oskaloosa takes care of the ball, they should be able to rely on their size to wear down the J-Hawks. We expect the J-Hawks to hang around, and wouldn’t be surprised at all if they win it. This should be the game of the day.
Our pick: Oskaloosa 66, Cedar Rapids Jefferson 64
Players to watch
Cedar Rapids Jefferson: Willie Guy (14.1 points), Ozzie Meiborg (12.8 points)
Oskaloosa: Cole Henry (20.8 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.8 assists), Xavier Foster (15.3 points, 12.5 rebounds, 6.6 blocks), Rian Yates (9.9 points, 6.1 assists)
7:15 pm: Linn-Mar (4-4) vs. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (5-3)
The final game of the day features a pair of Metro rivals who can put quite a bit of firepower on the floor. Linn-Mar has four players averaging in double figures, and the trio of Trey Hutcheson (18.6), Greg Hall (10.9) and Jaren Nelson (10.0) are all capable of getting red hot from the arc, while Hayden Passmore (10.3) has been fantastic on the glass, particularly on the offensive end, pulling down over four offensive boards a game. Kennedy will need to keep him off the glass if they want to win this one. The Cougars are headlined by a pair of big-time junior wing scorers in Jack Wetzel (20.8) and Tyler Andrews (15.9), who is actually a Linn-Mar transfer. Expect to see Passmore draw the Wetzel assignment, as he’s proven to be the Lions top perimeter defender, while Nelson, Hutcheson and Hall will all likely get shots at Andrews. Kennedy will need to get quality production out of their role players – Trey Sheets, Zach Drahos, Caleb Schlaak – if they want to get this key conference win. This one should be heated and a highly entertaining way to end the night.
Our pick: Linn-Mar 69, Cedar Rapids Kennedy 64
Players to watch
Linn-Mar: Trey Hutcheson (19.4 points, 8.0 rebounds), Greg Hall (12.0 points), Hayden Passmore (9.7 points, 8.0 rebounds), Jaren Nelson (9.4 points), John Steffen (8.3 points)
Cedar Rapids Kennedy: Jack Wetzel (20.1 points, 8.0 rebounds), Tyler Andrews (16.0 points, 5.5 rebounds), Trey Sheets (9.0 points)