Posted On: 12/18/20 8:19 AM
Expect plenty of points here, as Carroll ranks 3rd in 3A in scoring (76.0) and Ballard ranks 4th (71.3). Ballard swept the season series last year, 68-42 and 72-59, and both teams return a large majority of their rosters from those games.
Ballard combo forward Connor DrewConnorDrew6'6" | PFBallard | 2021StateIA (17.8, 11.3 rebounds) is off to a great start to his senior year, scoring efficiently and controlling the glass. He was dominant in the two wins against Carroll last year, averaging 23 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks on 64% shooting, and the Tigers don’t really have an answer for him. The Bombers have also gotten excellent production out of senior guard Mason MurphyMasonMurphy5'9" | PGBallard | 2021StateIA (15.3, 5.0 assists) and junior wing Ashton HermannAshtonHermann6'3" | SGBallard | 2022StateIA (19.5, 5.0 steals), giving them one of the best trios in the state. Junior big man Kale KroghKaleKrogh6'5" | CBallard | 2022StateIA (6.0, 2.8 blocks) gives them a big body, rim protector in the paint. The Tigers will have their hands full trying to defend this outstanding trio of scorers, especially Drew.
Carroll is lighting the scoreboards up from behind the arc, with the quartet of Kaleb BoothKalebBooth5'11" | SGCarroll | 2022StateIA (19.4), Nick MackeNickMacke5'10" | SGCarroll | 2022StateIA (14.8), Colby ChristensenColbyChristensen6'1" | SGCarroll | 2021StateIA (9.4), and Treyton Goins (8.2) combining to shoot 43% from the arc so far this season. They’ll look to spread the Bombers out and hope the hot shooting continues. In the two losses last year, they shot just 11-44 (25%) from behind the arc as a team. They’ll need to be much better if they want to hang with the #1 team in the state.
2A #3 Aplington-Parkersburg (6-0) at 2A #8 Dike-New Hartford (4-1)
Aplington-Parkersburg’s big week continues with a showdown against rival Dike-New Hartford. The Falcons beat 1A #2 Wapsie Valley by 23 on Tuesday, and will look to keep their momentum going against the Wolverines, and get some revenge after being swept in the season series last year. An extremely balanced and explosive team, they’ve got seven players averaging at least 8.5 points a game, which makes them very difficult to defend. Everyone is a threat to have a big night. They’ve been one of the best offensive teams in the state, and their star, Jayden MackieJaydenMackie6'0" | PGAplington-Parkersburg | 2022StateIA, hasn’t been playing particularly well yet. Once he gets it going, watch out. Garrett Hempen (13.8, 42.4 3P%) and Owen ThomasOwenThomas6'4" | SFAplington-Parkersburg | 2021StateIA (13.0) have been the leaders early on, but this group is filled with offensive weapons.
Like the Falcons, Dike-New Hartford is filled with offensive weapons, with three guards averaging in double figures – Dane FullerDaneFuller5'10" | CGDike-New Hartford | 2021StateIA (20.8), AJ WegenerAJWegener5'10" | PGDike-New Hartford | 2021StateIA (16.6) and Landen SullivanLandenSullivan5'10" | SGDike-New Hartford | 2021StateIA (11.2). Two more are just outside in Nathan Moore (9.0) and Zak WautersZakWauters5'11" | SGDike-New Hartford | 2021StateIA (9.8). Furthmore, each of them (other than Sullivan, who is 0-1) are shooting at least 37.5% from behind the arc. This is a matchup between two of the most explosive offensive teams in 2A, but many of their meetings end up slowing down and being played in the 60s. Whoever turns the ball over less, particularly live-ball turnovers that lead to quick points, should have the upper hand in a tight game.
3A #9 Wahlert Catholic (2-0) at 4A #9 Hempstead (1-1)
A largely new-look Golden Eagles squad is off to a 2-0 start, by a combined five points, including a win over crosstown rival Senior, 57-54. We expect the Rams to be a top-10 team in 4A, so that was an impressive season-opening win for Wahlert. Senior guard Nathan Donovan (15.0) leads the team in scoring, while TJ FowlerTJFowler5'9" | PGWahlert Catholic | 2021StateIA (14.0) is the other explosive option they have in the backcourt. Fowler is the only key returnee the Eagles brought back from last year’s team, and will be asked to be a leader for this group. Sophomore big man Duke Faley (12.0, 10.0 rebounds) is off to a strong start as well. This team has found ways to win early on.
Hempstead opened the season with an impressive win over a good Assumption team before dropping a 65-45 decision to Western Dubuque. It should be noted that star wing Michael DuaxMichaelDuax6'5" | SFHempstead | 2021StateIA (27.0) didn’t play in the loss to WD, and it’s unclear if he will play in this game. Jamari SmithJamariSmith6'4" | SFHempstead | 2021StateIA (19.0) is a talented scoring wing who will really need to step up his game if Duax is unable to go. Junior big Cameron FensCameronFens6'10" | CHempstead | 2022StateIA (5.0, 6.0 rebounds) is a solid defender who will give Faley all he can handle in the paint.
4A #7 Southeast Polk (0-0) at Dowling Catholic (2-0)
These teams met in the regular-season finale last year, with Southeast Polk winning 63-51. The Rams went 9-18 from behind the arc in that win, and they bring back every piece from that group.
Dowling has a few games under their belt, posting a 36-point win over Mason City and an 11-point victory over Marshalltown. The Maroons have been led early by junior wing Matthew Riedl (17.5), a slashing wing who thrives on getting to the rim and getting others involved in addition to his scoring. Big man Ryan RiggsRyanRiggs6'9" | PFDowling Catholic | 2021StateIA (14.5) has gotten off to a strong start as well, and the Maroons can go huge if they want, with 6-9 stretch-four Jack GroetekeJackGroeteke6'9" | CDowling Catholic | 2021StateIA (7.0) and 6-8 Xavier transfer Jaylon MosesJaylonMoses6'8" | PFXavier | 2021StateIA (2.5) coming off the bench alongside Riggs. That trio is versatile enough that they could play together, but they may not see much action at the same time against a smaller Rams team that they’ll need to defend the arc against.
The Rams went 12-10 last year and return all five starters from that team. James GlennJamesGlenn6'1" | PGSoutheast Polk | 2021StateIA (12.6), Chase BartlettChaseBartlett6'2" | SGSoutheast Polk | 2021StateIA (10.0) and Boone BainBooneBain6'3" | SFSoutheast Polk | 2021StateIA (9.8) combined to shoot 43% from behind the arc and will form probably the most dangerous shooting trio in 4A. Malichai WilliamsMalichaiWilliams6'6" | PFSoutheast Polk | 2021StateIA (7.9), Wil JonesWilJones6'2" | PFSoutheast Polk | 2021StateIA (8.3), Dominic CaggianoDominicCaggiano6'4" | SFSoutheast Polk | 2021StateIA (6.2) and Tate Goodman (3.3) are solid role players. The Rams should be deep and talented, and with the continuity they have, they shouldn’t struggle early on as much as other teams in their situation.
Garner-Hayfield-Ventura (5-0) at 1A #7 Lake Mills (6-0)
Given their recent run of success, last year’s 12-11 was a bit of a down year for GHV, but they’ve bounced back nicely this season, running off five straight to open the year. The Cardinals have gotten pretty balanced production, with Kevin Meyers (12.6) and Hayden HutchesonHaydenHutcheson6'5" | SFGarner-Hayfield-Ventura | 2021StateIA (12.6) leading the way, while four others are averaging at least 5.2 points a game. They’ve been strong on the defensive end, allowing just 46.6 points a night.
Lake Mills lost a good amount of firepower from last year’s team that entered the 1A state tournament as the #1 seed, but the cupboard was left far from bare. Dashawn LinnenDashawnLinnen6'3" | SGLake Mills | 2021StateIA (21.8) has picked up right where he left off last year, leading the team in scoring and doing so in a highly efficient manner, shooting 59% from the floor and 52% from 3. Wyatt Helming (13.7) has stepped into a secondary scoring role, while senior big man Caleb BaconCalebBacon6'4" | PFLake Mills | 2021StateIA (10.3, 8.7 rebounds) is a force in the middle. The ’Dogs are averaging 72.7 points a game, and if they’re able to dictate the tempo, we could see a repeat of last year when they swept the season series by a combined 60 points.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton (1-3) at Sioux City East (5-1)
Don’t let that 1-3 mark fool you, because Sergeant Bluff-Luton has lost those three games by a combined 14 points, the latest a 46-39 defeat at the hands of a very good Council Bluffs Lincoln team. The Warriors lost a lot from last year’s team, but brought back two key pieces in Majok MajoukMajokMajouk6'7" | SFSergeant Bluff-Luton | 2021StateIA (11.3) and Jake LaymanJakeLayman6'7" | SFSergeant Bluff-Luton | 2021StateIA (9.3), who have handled the primary scoring responsibilities so far. Both are committed to play at D2 Southwest Minnesota State. They’ve been good defensively, allowing 45.5 points a game, and they’ll need to rely on their defensive effort against a high-powered, up-tempo East attack.
East swept the season series last year, 59-52 in overtime, and 70-63. The Black Raiders lost most of their production from last year’s team, but have bounced back well from a season-opening loss to Spencer, entering this contest on a five-game winning streak and averaging 79.6 points a game during that stretch. They’ve gotten major production out of newcomer DaVares WhitakerDaVaresWhitaker6'0" | PGSioux City East | 2022StateIA (24.7), a junior guard who moved to Sioux City from Arkansas. He currently holds an offer from Cleveland State, and is averaging 7.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.5 steals in addition to his nearly 25 points a game. Dom Drent (13.8) and Bie Ruei (10.8) are each shooting north of 40% from behind the arc to give the Raiders some shooting alongside Whitaker, who thrives on using his quickness and athleticism to get to the rim.
Alburnett (3-1) at 1A #3 Springville (6-0)
These Tri-Rivers East rivals split their season series last year, each winning on their home court. This should be an interesting contrast in styles, as Springville likes to get up-and-down, using their vast array of offensive weapons to put up points in a hurry. Alburnett prefers a half-court game, using their physicality to pound the glass on both ends of the floor. Springville ranks 5th in 1A in scoring (74.8 points a game), while Alburnett is giving up 36.5 points a game, which ranks 10th.
The return of senior guard Hunter CavesHunterCaves6'0" | PGAlburnett | 2021StateIA (13.0) has given the Pirates a quality lead ball-handler, something they lacked at times last year. Caves, who missed his junior year following an ACL injury, is averaging 7.5 assists and 5.5 steals in addition to his scoring prowess. The forward combo of Reed StallmanReedStallman6'3" | PFAlburnett | 2021StateIA (14.0) and Shane NeighborShaneNeighbor6'2" | PFAlburnett | 2021StateIA (13.5) were fantastic on the glass last year and are highly efficient scorers, while Gavin Soukup and Andrew Ossman have given them some perimeter shooting. They’ll need to knock down shots if they want to keep pace with the Orioles high-powered attack.
The experienced Orioles haven’t played a competitive game yet this season, winning their first six contests by an average of 35 points a game. Senior guard Alex KoppesAlexKoppes5'10" | PGSpringville | 2021StateIA (25.7) is the standout, averaging 4.3 assists and 3.8 steals, while junior wing Rhendan Wagaman (14.4, 4.2 assists, 2.8 steals) and junior guard Luke MensterLukeMenster5'10" | PGSpringville | 2022StateIA (15.5, 5.0 assists, 3.7 steals) are high-quality secondary scoring threats. This is a group that is going to apply constant pressure, and look to turn their defense into quick offense. Alburnett will need to protect the ball and grind this game to a halt and get the Orioles out of their comfort zone.