Posted On: 12/19/20 9:42 AM
St. Albert (1-3) at AHSTW (7-0)
Don’t look at the record next to St. Albert, because the Falcons played their first three games without star forward Sam RallisSamRallis6'1" | PFSt. Albert | 2021StateIA. He came back for their win against 4A Lewis Central and put up 16 points and 11 rebounds. In his absence, the Falcons have gotten solid production out of junior guard Carter White (16.5) and senior wing Jeff Miller (12.5, 47.1 3P%). With Rallis back in the mix, this is an entirely different team on both ends of the floor.
AHSTW had a huge win on Tuesday night, beating #4 Treynor, a win that likely gets them ranked heading into the holiday break. The Vikings have gotten exceptional play from their “Big Three” of Raydden GrobeRayddenGrobe6'2" | SFAHSTW | 2022StateIA (22.3), Brayden Lund (18.0) and Kyle Sternberg (17.2). Teams that can really fill it up sometimes lag on the defensive end of the floor, but that hasn’t been the case for the Vikings, ranking 16th in 2A, allowing just 46.8 points a game.
Ankeny Christian Academy (5-1) at Alburnett (3-2)
These teams met last year as well, a game won by Ankeny Christian, 44-42. They’re returning the favor with a trip across the state to Alburnett today. The Eagles have won five straight following a season-opening loss to Madrid behind the strong play of senior wing Cale LeeverCaleLeever5'9" | SGAnkeny Christian Academy | 2021StateIA (17.3), who leads the team in scoring and rebounding. Ben McDermott (11.0, 44.4 3P%) and Matthew VollMatthewVoll6'3" | PFAnkeny Christian Academy | 2021StateIA (8.5, 46.2 3P%) give the Eagles some perimeter shooting, while junior point guard Malachi JohnsonMalachiJohnson5'9" | PGAnkeny Christian Academy | 2022StateIA (7.3, 5.0 assists) is one of the better pure point guards in the class.
Alburnett is coming off a rough loss last night to a very good Springville team, and they’ll have to re-group in a hurry. The Pirates have been led by standout senior guard Hunter CavesHunterCaves6'0" | PGAlburnett | 2021StateIA (14.4), who can stuff the stat sheet and make an impact on both ends of the floor. He didn’t play in last year’s meeting following an ACL injury suffered during the football season. They’ll need to rely on Caves, Reed StallmanReedStallman6'3" | PFAlburnett | 2021StateIA (10.4) and Shane NeighborShaneNeighbor6'2" | PFAlburnett | 2021StateIA (11.8) to control the glass and use their physicality to control this game.
Bishop Garrigan (4-3) at Algona (4-2)
Despite the fact that Bishop Garrigan is a 1A school, and Algona is 3A, this has been a fun, competitive series between these two Algona schools. They’ve split the last four meetings, with Garrigan winning in 2017 and 2018, and Algona taking the last two contests.
Last year’s runner-up in 1A, Bishop Garrigan has been breaking in a lot of new pieces around standout forward Angelo WinkelAngeloWinkel6'9" | CBishop Garrigan | 2021StateIA (22.2, 14.0 rebounds, 3.2 blocks), who has been his usual outstanding self on both ends of the floor. Kyle Schaaf (19.0) has stepped up as the secondary scorer, while Kellen Murphy (7.0) and Joseph Meis (7.0) have given the Golden Bears solid production as well. The common theme in their three losses has been struggles on the defensive end, as they’re giving up nearly 68 points a game in those games. They’ll need to lock down a good Bulldogs offense.
The Bulldogs have four players averaging in double figures – Noah NelsonNoahNelson5'8" | PGAlgona | 2021StateIA (12.6), Kyle Simpson (12.2), Garrett Goche (11.2) and Tyler Manske (10.2) – giving them a balanced group with a number of different options who can beat you. In what should be a close game given their recent history, this game could come down to the free-throw line, which would give Algona the edge (71.9 FT% to Garrigan’s 50%).
1A #2 Wapsie Valley (4-1) vs. Decorah (2-2)
This game will be played at Upper Iowa as part of the Upper Iowa Shootout. Decorah has blown out two opponents, and been handled fairly easily by two others so far this year. The Vikings are breaking in a lot of new pieces, but have three players averaging in double figures in Charles RobinsonCharlesRobinson6'2" | SFDecorah | 2021StateIA (13.5), Jacob Pipho (12.3) and Joseph Bockman (10.0). They haven’t shot the ball well from the arc (24.2%) or the free throw line (47.1%), numbers that will need to improve greatly.
The defending 1A champion Warriors are looking to get a bad taste out of the mouths following Tuesday’s ugly 71-48 loss to Aplington-Parkersburg. Three players are averaging in double figures, led by sophomore big Mason HarterMasonHarter6'5" | PFSigourney | 2023StateIA (13.2, 11.8 rebounds), a Sigourney transfer who has been very good so far this year. The senior backcourt of Blayde BellisBlaydeBellis5'9" | PGWapsie Valley | 2021StateIA (12.6) and Kobe RisseKobeRisse6'0" | PGWapsie Valley | 2021StateIA (12.3) are experienced as they come and do a great job limiting turnovers. Their experience will be key against a 3A opponent this evening.
2A #5 Camanche (5-0) at Solon (4-1)
This is an intriguing non-conference tilt that should be a very competitive game throughout. Camanche lost a lot of firepower from last year’s 2A semifinalist team, then suffered another loss when one of their key returnees, Zach ErwinZachErwin6'4" | SFCamanche | 2022StateIA, broke his wrist in the second game of the season. He was averaging 16 points a game and has the ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor. Senior guard Jordan LawrenceJordanLawrence5'10" | PGCamanche | 2021StateIA (15.5) is one of the best defensive guards in the state, and has really stepped up his offense this year. Zayne FellerZayneFeller6'3" | PFCamanche | 2021StateIA (10.8) gives them an efficient scoring presence in the paint, and junior wing Adam Dunlap (8.8) has given them a hyper-athletic wing who can impact the game on both ends of the floor. The Indians are shooting 55% from the floor as a team.
Solon has strung together four straight wins following a season-opening loss to Central DeWitt, including wins over Clear Creek-Amana and Marion, a pair of very solid teams. New coach Jared Galpin has gotten good production out of senior wing David BluderDavidBluder6'4" | SFSolon | 2021StateIA (14.0) and junior forward Kinnick Pusteoska (11.2), while four other players are averaging at least 6.6 points a night. The Spartans are turning the ball over a little too much, giving it away 13.6 times a game, and they’ll need to focus on protecting the ball against an athletic Camanche squad that can turn turnovers into points in a hurry.