Posted On: 03/8/19 3:45 PM

Issa Samake

Championship: #1 Grand View Christian 43, #7 Alburnett 24

Coming into this one, Alburnett knew they were a major underdog, and they employed the strategy they felt would best help them stay within striking distance, holding the ball and being extremely deliberate on the offensive end. It worked for a while, but at the end of the day, there was just too much talent, too much size, and too much athleticism on the other side of the court, as Grand View Christian won their third straight Class 1A state title, 43-24, on Friday afternoon.

Despite not making a field goal in the first quarter, Alburnett trailed just 7-4 after the first quarter. And despite just one made field goal in the first half, they trailed just 14-6 at the break. In the second half, the much more talented Thunder decided to use some halfcourt traps to try and speed the game up, and that helped them blow this one wide open. They led by as much as 24 late in the fourth quarter before some points from Pirates reserves chopped into that deficit.

Alburnett’s 24 points were the lowest in a championship game since 1947, when Sioux City Central scored 23 in a loss to Davenport. Nonetheless, the Pirates (20-6) had a fantastic, memorable season, finishing runner-up in their first ever state tournament, and providing that community with a number of highlights and memories that they can look back on years from now. The Pirates were led by Hunter Caves, who had 8 points and 8 rebounds. Shane Neighbor added 7 in the loss. Three starters (Caves, Neighbor and Austin Huber) return next season, so the Pirates could be formidable again.

Grand View Christian (26-1) finishes a magical three-year run with another state title. Their lone loss this season came to 4A powerhouse Iowa City West, by 10. The Thunder were led by Harouna Sissoko, who had 10 points. Issa Samake added 9 points and 11 rebounds. Bryce Crabb chipped in 8 points, and Arturo Montes had 7.

The all-tournament team, as voted on by the media, was Trey Shearer (Montezuma), Izic Mackey (Alburnett), Hunter Caves (Alburnett), Arturo Montes (Grand View Christian) and captain Issa Samake (Grand View Christian).

 

Team 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q F
Alburnett 4 2 7 11 24
Grand View Christian 7 7 12 17 43

 

Individual scoring
Alburnett: Hunter Caves 8, Shane Neighbor 7, Austin Huber 4, Grant Soukup 2, Sam Fulk 2, Reed Stallman 1
Grand View Christian: Harouna Sissoko 10, Issa Samake 9, Bryce Crabb 8, Arturo Montes 7, Kong Neyail 3, Andrew Long 3, Gage Fry 3

 

MVP: Issa Samake (Grand View Christian, 2019) — 9 points (4-10 FG, 1-3 3P), 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 4 steals

The captain of the all-tournament team, Samake didn’t have an eye-popping stat line in this one, but it was his shear presence in the paint that changed everything that Alburnett had been successful with throughout this tournament. His size, athleticism and rim protection completely altered the way the Pirates generally play.

 

Izic Mackey

Semifinal #2: #7 Alburnett 39, #6 St. Mary’s 37

There’s something special happening in Alburnett, apparently. The Pirates used back-to-back overtime wins to advance to the state tournament, including a 18-point comeback in the district final. They won their quarterfinal game here in the closing seconds on a Hunter Caves jumper. Add another game-winner to the list, as the Pirates advanced to Friday afternoon’s 1A championship game on an Izic Mackey game-winner, escaping St. Mary’s of Remsen, 39-37.

Alburnett used an 11-2 second quarter to seemingly take control of this semifinal, taking a 23-15 lead into the break. They extended that lead out to as much as 10 in the third quarter before St. Mary’s started their charge back. The Hawks held the Pirates to just five third quarter points, trimming the Alburnett lead down to four entering the final period. The Hawks scoring the first five points of the quarter to take the lead, 29-28, with 4:58 to play. The teams exchanged buckets, and the Hawks held a 31-30 lead at the media timeout, 3:12 to play. Alburnett scored the next five points on a bucket from Izic Mackey and three free throws from Hunter Caves, taking a 35-31 lead with 54 seconds to play.

Enter Blaine Harpenau. The St. Mary’s sophomore only made 11 3s all season, but he drilled a big one in the corner right in front of his bench to cut the deficit to 35-34 with 36 seconds left. After a pair of Mackey free throws, Harpenau made another 3, this one with 22 seconds left, to tie it up at 37. 

Alburnett held for the last shot, with Caves driving down the right side of the lane. His runner missed, but Mackey was there to grab the offensive rebound over a defender and lay it back in. Ball game. Alburnett to the championship.

Alburnett (20-5) was led by Mackey, who had 19 points. Hunter Caves added 11 in the win. The Pirates scored 22 points in the paint. The Pirates will face two-time defending champion Grand View Christian on Friday afternoon, with tip-off set for 2:00 pm. They’ll be a heavy underdog there, but they’re living a charmed life. Maybe it can continue for one more game? 

For the third straight season, St. Mary’s falls in the semifinals. They’ll play in the consolation game on Thursday morning against Montezuma. The Hawks were led by Blaine Harpenau with 13 points. Brayden Ricke added 11. The Hawks return every player from this year’s roster, and should be considered one of the favorites to take home the 1A title next year.

 

 

Team 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q F
St. Mary’s 13 2 9 13 37
Alburnett 12 11 5 11 39

 

Individual scoring
St. Mary’s: Blaine Harpenau 13, Brayden Ricke 11, Spencer Schorg 8, Skyler Waldschmitt 5
Alburnett: Izic Mackey 19, Hunter Caves 11, Jared Graubard 4, Austin Huber 3, Reed Stallman 2

 

MVP: Izic Mackey (Alburnett, 2019) — 19 points (8-10 FG, 3-5 FT), 5 rebounds, 2 blocks

The 6-5 Pirates big man established himself early, scoring 10 points in the first quarter before starting to battle some foul trouble. He was 3-4 inches taller than anyone that St. Mary’s could throw at him, and he took advantage of it, carving out position, keeping the ball high and finishing. Oh, and he grabbed the biggest rebound of the game and delivered the game-winner.

 

 

Semifinal #1: #1 Grand View Christian 59, #4 Montezuma 36

It was the ultimate tale of two halves on Wednesday afternoon, as two-time defending champion Grand View Christian blitzed fourth-seeded Montezuma in the second half en route to a 59-36 win, advancing to Friday night’s championship game.

Montezuma wasn’t intimidated early, coming out and continuing their hot 3-point shooting from their quarterfinal win over Bishop Garrigan, knocking down five 3s in the first quarter, holding a 15-12 lead after one. They took a 22-16 lead into the locker rooms. Then, the proverbial switch was flipped.

Grand View Christian took advantage of their size (after settling for 3s in the first half), constantly attacking the rim, both in transition and in the halfcourt, winning the final 16 minutes 43-14. The Thunder shot 61.5% in the second half after shooting just 30.4% in the first half, including 0-8 from 3. They also won the rebounding battle 22-7 in the final 16 minutes. A team with athleticism that is unrivaled by most teams in the state, regardless of class, the Thunder finally employed it in the second half, locking in on the defensive end and taking complete control of the game, cruising into the championship game for the third straight year.

Grand View Christian (25-1) will play either Alburnett or Remsen, St. Mary’s in Friday afternoon’s championship game, where they’ll again be heavy favorites. The Thunder were led by Issa Samake, who had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 9 blocks in the win. Arturo Montes added 14 points and Harouna Sissoko had 13 for the Thunder.

Montezuma (22-2) will face the loser of the Alburnett-St. Mary’s game in the consolation game on Thursday morning. The Braves were led by Trey Shearer, who had 13 points, but really struggled to get anything going in the contest, going 5-22 from the floor in the loss. Cole Watts chipped in 12 on 4-8 3P shooting. With Shearer, Watts, Brayden Arendt and Eddie Burgess returning, the Braves should be very good again next season.

 

Team 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q F
Montezuma 15 7 2 12 36
Grand View Christian 12 4 20 23 59

 

Individual scoring
Montezuma: Trey Shearer 13, Cole Watts 12, Hunter Ray 8, Adam Cheney 3
Grand View Christian: Issa Samake 19, Arturo Montes 14, Harouna Sissoko 13, Andrew Long 5, Bryce Crabb 4, Kong Neyail 2, Jonny Gotto 2

 

MVP: Issa Samake (Grand View Christian, 2019) — 19 points (9-15 FG, 1-5 3P), 11 rebounds, 9 blocks

The Drake signee settled too much in the first half, shooting just 2-8, including 0-4 from the arc, but he was dominant in the second half, going 7-7 from the floor, taking full advantage of his edge in size and athleticism to help the Thunder take control of the game. His rim protection completely alters the way teams look to attack GVC, and his six first half blocks set the tone that scoring inside wasn’t going to happen today for Montezuma. 

Kong Neyail also deserves some mention here, as he was outstanding on the defensive end against Montezuma star Trey Shearer, who was the story of the 1A quarterfinals with his 25-point outburst. Neyail was the primary defender on him throughout the afternoon, and he held him to 13 points on 5-22 shooting. 

 

 

Quarterfinal #4: #7 Alburnett 55, #2 Sioux Central 54

The first big upset of the 2019 state tournament came on Monday afternoon, with seventh seeded Alburnett knocking off second seed Sioux Central 55-54 on a late jumper from sophomore guard Hunter Caves. 

A sleepy first half from both teams saw Alburnett take a 25-18 lead into the locker rooms. Sioux Central came out hot in the third quarter, grabbing their first lead of the game and taking just over five minutes to match their scoring output from the entire first half. They took a 40-39 lead into the final frame. 

The fourth quarter saw six lead changes, as neither team gained a lead of more than a possession. The teams exchanged the lead four times in the final 2:14, with the ultimate dagger coming on the jumper from Caves with 14 seconds to play (video from TJ Rushing below). 

Alburnett (19-5) moves into Wednesday’s semifinals, where they’ll face St. Mary’s of Remsen. The Pirates have only lost twice this year with their full roster, and one of those losses came to 2A undefeated North Linn, so this team looks for real. The Pirates were led by Hunter Caves, who had a game-high 19 points and 8 rebounds. Austin Huber added 17 points (on 5-7 3P) and Izic Mackey chipped in 12 points and 8 rebounds in the win. 

Sioux Central’s season ends at 22-3 and with their first ever state tournament appearance. The Rebels were led by Hunter Decker and Logan Grote, who each had 15 points in the loss. Prestan Samson added 10.

 

Team 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q F
Alburnett 12 13 14 16 55
Sioux Central 8 10 22 14 54

 

Individual scoring
Alburnett: Hunter Caves 19, Austin Huber 17, Izic Mackey 12, Shane Neighbor 3, Jared Graubard 2, Reed Stallman 2
Sioux Central: Hunter Decker 15, Logan Grote 15, Prestan Samson 10, Ben Hargens 6, Blake Cavanaugh 4, Jake Hanson 4

 

MVP: Hunter Caves (Alburnett, 2021) — 19 points (5-15 FG, 9-10 FT), 8 rebounds, 2 assists

The sophomore guard didn’t have his best shooting night, but it was his relentless attacking of the rim that kept the Pirates offense afloat in the fourth quarter. He also chipped in 8 rebounds, helping the Pirates grab a 28-23 edge on the glass. Oh, and he hit the game-winner. No big deal. 

 

 

Spencer Schorg

Quarterfinal #3: #6 Remsen, St. Mary’s 58, #3 Prince of Peace 55

For the third straight year, St. Mary’s is into the semifinals of the 1A State Tournament, this time knocking off third seed Prince of Peace (Clinton), 58-55, on Monday afternoon. 

A back-and-forth game for much of the first half, St. Mary’s took control over the final three minutes of the half, taking a 32-25 lead into the break. They pushed that lead out to as much as 10 in the third quarter before Prince of Peace started to battle back.

With 4:03 left in the game, Prince of Peace guard Patrick Mulholland was fouled on a 3, and made all 3 free throws, cutting the St. Mary’s lead down to 3. After forcing a turnover, Kaidion Larson was fouled and made a pair at the line to get the lead down to 1 with 3:37 left. Spencer Schorg answered with a pair for St. Mary’s before a Larson jumper, then a pair of Larson free throws gave Prince of Peace a 55-54 lead with 1:09 to play. 

Schorg was fouled turning the corner on a screen and went 2-2 at the line, giving St. Mary’s a 56-55 lead with 45 seconds left. Prince of Peace turned it over on the ensuing possession, and free throws by Brayden Ricke provided the final margin.

St. Mary’s (20-6) moves into the semifinals for the third consecutive season. This year, however, they won’t have to face Grand View Christian. Instead, they’ll draw the winner of the Sioux Central-Alburnett game. The Hawks were led by Spencer Schorg, who had a game-high 19 points, 13 coming in the second half. Skyler Waldschmitt added 14 in the win, all coming in the first half.

Prince of Peace’s season ends with a 20-4 record, and the school’s first ever state tournament trip. The Irish were led by Kaidion Larson, who had 16 points. Nathan Moeller added 12, and Patrick Mulholland and Michael Matthew each chipped in 11.

 

Team 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q F
St. Mary’s 18 14 11 15 58
Prince of Peace 16 9 13 17 55

 

Individual scoring
St. Mary’s: Spencer Schorg 19, Skyler Waldschmitt 14, Blaine Harpenau 9, Brady Homan 7, Brayden Ricke 5, Austin Jensen 4
Prince of Peace: Kaidion Larson 16, Nathan Moeller 12, Patrick Mulholland 11, Michael Matthew 11, Payton Schnier 5

 

MVP: Spencer Schorg (St. Mary’s, 2020) — 19 points (6-12 FG, 3-6 3P, 4-4 FT), 4 rebounds, 2 steals

The Hawks leading scorer saved his best for the final 16 minutes in this one, scoring 13 of his game-high 19 points in the second half. The 6-0 scoring guard made three big 3s in the third quarter to help keep the lead comfortable, then made some big free throws in the fourth quarter to help ice the game away. He played all 32 minutes for St. Mary’s in the win.

 

 

Trey Shearer

Quarterfinal #2: #4 Montezuma 78, #5 Bishop Garrigan 65

Red hot shooting from a team that normally doesn’t shoot it particularly well helped carry fourth seeded Montezuma into Wednesday’s semifinals, with a 78-65 win over Bishop Garrigan on Monday afternoon.

Montezuma, a team that shot 31.6% from behind the arc heading into the tournament, went 9-12 from deep in the first half en route to a 47-29 lead, and they never looked back. 

It was the quickness of Montezuma that overcame the huge size edge that Bishop Garrigan had, with star guard Trey Shearer putting on a show with 16 first half points (6-9 shooting, 4-4 3P) as the Braves cruised to an impressive win.

Montezuma (22-1) was led by Trey Shearer, who had a game-high 25 points and 6 assists for the Braves, who shot 55% from the floor as a team. Hunter Ray added 15 points and 9 rebounds, and Cole Watts had 13 points off the bench. Five different Braves made 3s in the game, and they were 11-20 from behind the arc as a team.

Bishop Garrigan’s season ends with a 19-7 record. The Golden Bears were led by TJ Schnurr, who had 19 points. Angelo Winkel added 18 and John Joyce had 10. Winkel and Joyce return next season.

 

Team 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q F
Bishop Garrigan 13 16 17 19 65
Montezuma 19 28 16 15 78

 

Individual scoring
Bishop Garrigan: TJ Schnurr 19, Angelo Winkel 18, John Joyce 10, Cade Winkel 7, Tristan Ferguson 4, Brad Capesius 3, Kyle Schaaf 2, Marcus Plathe 2
Montezuma: Trey Shearer 25, Hunter Ray 15, Cole Watts 13, Eddie Burgess 9, Brayden Arendt 7, Nolan Havran 7, Nolan Reynolds 2

 

MVP: Trey Shearer (Montezuma, 2021) — 25 points (8-14 FG, 5-5 3P, 4-5 FT), 6 assists, 2 steals, 2 rebounds

We mentioned in the 1A Stars to Watch article previewing the tournament that if anyone in the 1A field was capable of a Joe Smoldt-esque run, it was Shearer, and he didn’t disappoint in his state tournament debut. A quick twitch lead guard with fantastic ball handling and shot making abilities, he was perfect from the arc, displaying a silky smooth stroke and a high-level command of the offense. 

 

Bryce Crabb

Quarterfinal #1: #1 Grand View Christian 58, #8 St. Albert 51

Two-time defending champion Grand View Christian’s quest for a 3-peat got off to a bit shakier start than they would’ve liked, but the Thunder survived Monday morning, holding on for a 58-51 win over upset minded Council Bluffs, St. Albert.

It was St. Albert who got a few early blows in, jumping out to a quick 9-3 lead behind a trio of 3-pointers from Ryan Hughes (2) and Reed Miller. But Grand View Christian bounced back and closed the quarter on a 15-6 run to take a 18-15 lead after one. They took a 38-30 lead into the locker rooms, despite battling foul trouble with star big men Issa Samake and Harouna Sissoko.

A Reed Miller 3 to open the fourth quarter trimmed the Grand View lead down to 3, the closest the game had been since the first quarter, but the Thunder quickly pushed that back out to a 9 point lead before Issa Samake and Harouna Sissoko both ultimately fouled out. With the Thunder’s top two players on the bench, it was the role players who stepped up big down the stretch, with Bryce Crabb going 10-11 from the free throw line (4-5 in the fourth quarter). Andrew Gatto made a pair of big free throws and the Thunder were able to force just enough misses to keep St. Albert at bay, and move on to Wednesday’s semifinals, where they’ll face either Bishop Garrigan or Montezuma.

Grand View Christian (24-1) was led by Bryce Crabb, who had a game-high 17 points. Harouna Sissoko added 14 points and Arturo Montes had 12 for the Thunder. Issa Samake battled foul trouble all morning and never really got it going, but finished with 5 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks.

St. Albert (12-14) was led by Reed Miller, who had 13 points. Sam Rallis added 12 and Jared Gast had 11. Only Gast and Miller graduate from this group, so don’t be surprised to see the Falcons back in Des Moines next season.

 

Team 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q F
St. Albert 15 15 9 12 51
Grand View Christian 18 20 7 13 58

 

Individual scoring
St. Albert: Reed Miller 13, Sam Rallis 12, Jared Gast 11, Ryan Hughes 6, Lance Wright 5, Aiden Antisdel 3, Cy Patterson 1
Grand View Christian: Bryce Crabb 17, Harouna Sissoko 14, Arturo Montes 12, Kong Neyail 8, Issa Samake 5, Andrew Gatto 2

 

MVP: Bryce Crabb (Grand View Christian, 2019) — 17 points (3-9 FG, 10-11 FT), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals

With Arturo Montes largely limited after the first 10 minutes, and Issa Samake and Harouna Sissoko battling foul trouble, it was Crabb who stepped up for GVC, carrying them into the semifinals. The senior guard made big plays down the stretch on both ends of the floor, and his free throw shooting helped ice the game for the Thunder.