Posted On: 03/6/19 7:30 AM

Dylan Jones

4A Quarterfinal: #1 Waukee (20-2) vs. #8 West Des Moines Dowling (13-10), 10:30 am

Analysis: Waukee rolled to a 15-0 start and a #1 ranking this season before suffering a few late season losses to Linn-Mar and Des Moines North. They beat Dowling earlier this season by 25, 72-47.

The Warriors have the best scoring margin in 4A, beating teams by an average score of 64.1-44.8, and they’ve been rock solid all year, even after the loss of star point guard Noah Hart. They’re led by senior big man Dylan Jones (14.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 75.9 FG%, 68 blocks) is a versatile defender and the anchor of their dominant defense, while also being an efficient scoring option. Tucker DeVries (10.5), son of Drake coach Darian, has been a big addition to the roster. The sophomore guard has made 60 3s (42.9%), and Andrew Curran (5.8, 80 assists, 18 turnovers), an Ottumwa transfer, has been great in the lead guard spot following the loss of Noah Hart (ACL). This is a group that really gets after it on the defensive end and protects the ball offensively, running their sets and getting good looks each time down the floor.

Dowling has come on strong late, winning eight of their last 10 games. They took advantage of Southeast Polk upsetting Valley to get here, beating the Rams in the substate final, 44-40. The Maroons are led by Matt Stilwill (13.2) and Ryan Riggs (12.5), with the 6-8 sophomore Riggs being the major player Waukee will need to pay attention to here. Dowling is always big and physical, and this year is no exception. They’ll need to turn this into a grinder if they want to pull off the major upset. 

Players to watch
Waukee: Dylan Jones (14.5 points, 75.9 FG%, 8.0 rebounds, 68 blocks), Tucker DeVries (10.5 points, 60 3PM), Michael Vicente (8.4 points, 43.1 3P%), Payton Sandfort (6.3 points, 41.5 3P%), Andrew Curran (5.8 points, 80 assists, 18 turnovers)
Dowling: Matt Stilwill (13.2 points), Ryan Riggs (12.5 points, 58.2 FG%)

Our pick: Waukee 62, Dowling Catholic 44


Noah Carter

4A Quarterfinal: #4 Iowa City West (17-4) vs. #5 Dubuque Senior (17-3), 12:15 pm

Analysis: The final 4A quarterfinal is an all-MVC affair between a pair of powers. West is the annual powerhouse, tying a state record with their ninth straight state tournament appearance, while Senior was our preseason #1 team in 4A this year. These teams met early in the year in Dubuque, with West winning 53-51, but both teams have changed a lot since that game.

The Trojans are headlined by future Iowa wing Patrick McCaffery (25.6), perhaps the front runner for Mr. Basketball. McCaffery, a 6-9 forward, has put together a massive senior year and is the leading scorer in the 4A field. He has been highly efficient, shooting 58.6% from the floor. They’ve gotten strong play down the stretch from Regina transfer Even Brauns (11.1, 66.9 FG%), a 6-8 power forward who has been dominant at times (and much more aggressive) during the last month of the season. When he’s looking to attack, it helps open things up for McCaffery and the trio of guards the Trojans have that are dangerous shooters, namely Nick Pepin (7.9, 57.6 3P%) and Marcus Morgan (7.5, 40.7%). Brayden Adcock (3.2, 111 assists) is also a capable shooter, but doesn’t look to shoot much. This year’s version of West doesn’t have nearly as much depth as they usually have, so foul trouble could create a major issue for them.

Senior stumbled a bit out of the gates this year, losing two of their first three games without returning starter Sam Link in the lineup. They ran off 13 straight wins following that 1-2 start, but lost starter Marshaun Carroll in the process. He’s not expected to return during the tournament. The Rams beat #1 Bettendorf in the substate final, 64-55, behind a huge game from star forward Noah Carter (22.6, 56.7 FG%), a versatile scoring forward who can stretch the floor or score on the block. He’s one of the best shooters in the state, regardless of class or position, and if he gets hot early, like he did against Bettendorf, watch out. Nick Timmerman (10.3), Landon Hermsen (9.0), Sam Link (8.7) and Cooper Medinger (6.8) round out the starting five, giving the Rams a veteran group that plays really well together and takes great care of the ball (381 assists, 163 turnovers). 

These two teams are very familiar with each other, and it’s going to come down to who can execute at a higher level. This should be tight throughout, as West-Senior games generally are, but we’ll give the slight edge to the team that we pegged #1 in the preseason.

Players to watch
Iowa City West: Patrick McCaffery (25.6 points, 58.6 FG%, 7.6 rebounds), Even Brauns (11.1 points, 66.9 FG%), Nick Pepin (7.9 points, 57.6 3P%), Marcus Morgan (7.5 points, 40.7 3P%), Brayden Adcock (3.2 points, 111 assists, 37 turnovers)
Dubuque Senior: Noah Carter (22.6 points, 9.0 rebounds, 56.7 FG%), Nick Timmerman (10.3 points), Landon Hermsen (9.0 points), Cooper Medinger (6.8 points, 107 assists, 30 turnovers), Sam Link (8.7 points, 46.5 3P%)

Our pick: Dubuque Senior 62, Iowa City West 60


Bryce Crabb

1A Semifinal: #1 Grand View Christian (24-1) vs. #4 Montezuma (22-1), 2:00 pm

How they got here: #1 Grand View Christian got more than they wanted from Council Bluffs, St. Albert, winning 58-51. #4 Montezuma used a huge first half to shoot their way past Bishop Garrigan, 78-65.

Analysis: Two-time defending champion Grand View Christian got all they wanted and more from St. Albert in the quarterfinals, battling foul trouble from star big men Issa Samake (15.0, 94 blocks) and Harouna Sissoko (15.5) all afternoon. Guard Bryce Crabb (9.3) stepped up in a big way to help the Thunder advance. If they want to keep things rolling, they’ll need to keep Samake and Sissoko on the court, and that duo will need to play smarter, avoiding the silly fouls on rebounds where they’re much bigger and more athletic than anyone else on the floor. Arturo Montes (16.2) has been great this year, and his ability to stretch the floor will be big for the Thunder against the Montezuma 2-3 zone.

Montezuma put together one of the best halves you’ll see this week in the first half against Bishop Garrigan, as they raced out to a 47-29 lead and didn’t look back, shooting 9-12 from behind the arc in that half (11-20 for the game). Sophomore guard Trey Shearer was great in that one, scoring 25 with 6 assists. The Braves got 3s from five different players, and they’l need to shoot it really well again, as they are significantly smaller than GVC. Look for Shearer to try to attack the Thunder bigs early, attempting to get them back into foul trouble, as if Samake and Sissoko are off the floor, Montezuma’s guards can thrive.

At the end of the day, however, GVC just has too much size and athleticism. We believe the St. Albert game put a scare into them, and they’ll come out more focused in the semifinals.

Players to watch
Grand View Christian: Arturo Montes (16.2 points), Issa Samake (15.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 94 blocks), Harouna Sissoko (15.5 points), Bryce Crabb (9.3 points, 98 assists, 38 turnovers), Kong Neyail (7.3 points)
Montezuma: Trey Shearer (23.0 points, 63 3PM), Hunter Ray (15.3 points, 62 blocks), Cole Watts (11.5 points)

Our pick: Grand View Christian 69, Montezuma 59


Hunter Caves

1A Semifinal: #6 St. Mary’s (20-6) vs. #7 Alburnett (19-5), 3:45 pm

How they got here: #6 St. Mary’s outlasted Prince of Peace, 58-55. #7 Alburnett upset Sioux Central, 55-54.

Analysis: A pair of “upset” winners in the quarterfinals, these two teams should still be playing free and loose in the semifinals. St. Mary’s built a 7-point halftime lead in their quarterfinal win, then hung on late to advance, getting just enough stops, and some big buckets from Spencer Schorg (19 points) down the stretch. The Hawks are playing in their third straight semifinal, and while Schorg is the only one on the roster with experience in those games, the coaching staff has experience, and that could make a difference here. 

Alburnett impressed in the quarterfinals, getting double figure scoring from Hunter Caves (19), Austin Huber (17) and Izic Mackey (12) in their win over second seed Sioux Central. The Pirates have five losses on the year, but three of those came before Mackey was in the lineup (injury), and one was to 2A undefeated North Linn, so they’ve been really tough to beat when the full roster is playing. Mackey is the type of athletic, active big man who could give St. Mary’s issues, and if Huber is able to get loose a few times to stretch the defense, sophomore guard Hunter Caves will have lanes to drive. 

These are two really evenly matched teams, but Alburnett has a bit more offensive firepower. We also just have a feeling around the Pirates.

Players to watch
St. Mary’s: Spencer Schorg (16.0 points, 89 assists), Skyler Waldschmitt (10.7 points), Brayden Ricke (9.1 points)
Alburnett: Izic Mackey (17.6 points, 8.7 rebounds), Hunter Caves (13.9 points, 99 assists), Austin Huber (10.9 points, 69 3PM, 43.4 3P%)

Our pick: Alburnett 58, St. Mary’s 52


Conner Hill

2A Semifinal: #3 Boyden-Hull (23-2) vs. #2 South Hamilton (21-1), 6:30 pm

How they got here: #3 Boyden-Hull frustrated Regina, then held on, 61-56. #2 South Hamilton won a barnburner against Rock Valley, 73-61.

Analysis: Boyden-Hull reminded some of the press members of last year’s 2A champion, Cascade, in their opening round win over Regina. The Comets have a number of very similarly sized, similarly skilled players who share the ball, are all capable of scoring, and they’re long, athletic and will defend. They got 25 points out of Beau De Jongh in the win over Regina, and shot 58.8% from the floor. An efficient team, they are really patient, running their offense until they get a layup most of the time. 

The Comets will have their hands full on the defensive end with South Hamilton, who put on an offensive clinic in their quarterfinal win over Rock Valley, shooting 52% from the floor at 47.1% from 3. Conner Hill scored 22 and was impossible to keep out of the paint. Boyden-Hull may have better luck defending him, as they have a bunch of switchable athletes. The best way to defend the Hawks is probably to go zone, so we’ll see if the Comets throw any of that into the game plan as well. Logan Peters (16 points in the quarters) and Cole Berg (17) are also capable of getting their own looks.

These were arguably the two most impressive teams in the 2A quarterfinals, and this one should be a lot of fun. The best player on the floor is going to be Conner Hill, and in what we expect to be a tight game, we give the edge to the team with the best player.

Players to watch
Boyden-Hull: Beau De Jongh (14.5 points), Keyton Moser (12.2 points), Spencer Te Slaa (10.2 points), Tanner Te Slaa (9.7 points)
South Hamilton: Conner Hill (17.0 points), Logan Peters (14.5 points), Cole Berg (12.4 points), Cade Balvanz (11.2 points)

Our pick: South Hamilton 68, Boyden-Hull 64


Jake Hilmer

2A Semifinal: #4 Van Meter (22-2) vs. #1 North Linn (24-0), 8:15 pm

How they got here: #4 Van Meter grinded out a low scoring win over Dike-New Hartford, 43-32. #1 North Linn raced past Des Moines Christian, 68-45.

Analysis: Top ranked and undefeated North Linn got 34 points from Jake Hilmer in the Lynx’s quarterfinal win over Des Moines Christian, forcing 23 turnovers in the process. The Lynx have the state’s highest scoring offense, but during postseason play, they’ve also shown that they’re capable of winning games that are played in the halfcourt. Against Van Meter, that’s exactly what they’ll have to do.

Van Meter allows just 38.9 points a game, and the Bulldogs have a major edge in size with 6-9 big man Ryan Schmitt (14.9 points, 9.7 rebounds). If Van Meter can avoid turning the ball over and work the ball inside to Schmitt, they can hang around. The issue with that game plan will be taking care of the ball against the constant pressure that North Linn applies. Whether they’re picking up full court or using their halfcourt trap, the Lynx are constantly flying around and putting pressure on opposing ball handlers. 

Look to see Van Meter hang around for a while, but the pressure that North Linn puts on ball handlers eventually becomes too much, and the Lynx get enough transition opportunities to outpace a Van Meter team that can struggle to score at times.

Players to watch
Van Meter: Ryan Schmitt (14.9 points, 9.7 rebounds), Anthony Potthoff (14.5 points), Spencer Lamb (12.2 points)
North Linn: Jake Hilmer (26.1 points, 10.7 assists, 4.8 steals, 58.0 FG%), David Seber (14.1 points, 59 3PM), Trevor Boge (11.9 points), Austin Miller (11.4 points), Austin Hilmer (10.7 points)

Our pick: North Linn 66, Van Meter 50