Posted On: 12/22/20 10:20 AM
Centennial (3-0) at 4A #3 Ames (4-0)
Centennial lost three starters from last year’s team, but brought back a pair of impact players in Jaron Crews (15.3) and Colin McAleerColinMcAleer6'3" | SGAnkeny Centennial | 2021StateIA (15.0), who are pacing four players averaging in double figures. They’ve gotten strong production early from junior wings Caden Kelling (10.0) and Jackson Snyder (10.0), and the Jaguars have done an excellent job protecting the ball early, committing just six turnovers a game so far. They’ll have their hands full against an Ames team that is filled with good perimeter defenders.
Ames star guard Tamin LipseyTaminLipsey6'1" | PGAmes | 2022State#75NationIA (19.3) hasn’t missed a beat after losing his entire sophomore season to an ACL injury. He’s just as dominant on both ends of the floor as he’s ever been, and now he has a lot of weapons around him. Keyshaun BrooksKeyshaunBrooks6'1" | CGAmes | 2021StateIA (14.3) was a go-to scorer last year in Lipsey’s absence, and he’s a knockdown shooter with length and athleticism on the wing. Junior big man Corey PhillipsCoreyPhillips6'5" | PFAmes | 2022StateIA (10.3) is versatile on both ends, and senior guard Casey MummCaseyMumm5'11" | PGAmes | 2021StateIA (6.0) is a very good defender. This group is still waiting to break in transfers Jonathan BeverlyJonathanBeverly6'2" | SFDes Moines Hoover | 2022StateIA (Hoover) and Trevion LabeauxTrevionLabeaux6'3" | SFAmes | 2022StateIA (Waterloo East), as well. The Little Cyclones play excellent, disciplined defense, and they’ll really make Centennial work for their buckets tonight.
West Branch (6-0) at Camanche (5-1)
West Branch is off to a strong 6-0 start, with only one of their wins coming by single digits. The Bears have been strong on the defensive end, giving up 36 or fewer points in four of their six games. They’ve got three double-figure scorers in Simon PalmerSimonPalmer6'5" | PFWest Branch | 2021StateIA (18.7), Jeff BowieJeffBowie6'5" | PFWest Branch | 2021StateIA (15.7), and Thomas Gould (11.0), and the Palmer/Bowie tandem is great on the glass. This group hasn’t been terribly efficient yet (43-23-66 shooting splits), but their work on the defensive end and on the offensive glass (10.5 a game) has helped offset that.
Camanche enters off a blowout loss to a good 3A Solon team, and they’ve been dealing with injuries early this year. Senior guard Jordan LawrenceJordanLawrence5'10" | PGCamanche | 2021StateIA (15.4) is one of the best defensive players in the state, and he’s become a go-to scorer for them. They’ve gotten good production from senior forward Zayne FellerZayneFeller6'3" | PFCamanche | 2021StateIA (12.8) and junior wing Adam Dunlap (8.6) as well.
Senior (1-2) at 4A #2 Cedar Falls (4-0)
Senior has been a bit underwhelming to open the year, escaping West Delaware with a one-point, buzzer-beating win, then dropping games to Wahlert Catholic and Western Dubuque. We had fairly high expectations for the Rams this year, ranking them in the top-10 in 4A to open the season, but they haven’t played to expectations so far. There is a lot of talent on this roster, however, and they’ll be dangerous on a nightly basis moving forward. They’ve been led by senior big man Jim BonifasJimBonifas6'5" | PFSenior | 2021StateIA (15.7, 8.7 rebounds), who has been dominant in the paint. Senior guard Cain McWilliamsCainMcWilliams5'10" | CGSenior | 2021StateIA (9.7) and wing Tyler SchusterTylerSchuster6'2" | SFSenior | 2021StateIA (8.7) have been solid scoring options as well, and this is a group that is going to be really deep. They like to apply pressure and use their athleticism and length to create chaos, but they’ll have difficulty doing that against a veteran Tigers backcourt.
If Waukee didn’t exist, Cedar Falls would have far and away the most talented roster in the state. The Tigers are led by senior wing Landon WolfLandonWolf6'5" | CGCedar Falls | 2021StateIA (18.5) and big man Chase CourbatChaseCourbat6'9" | CCedar Falls | 2021StateIA (12.8), who will both play at Northern Iowa. Wolf is one of the most efficient scorers in the state, a big wing armed with a lethal jumper. Junior lead guard Trey CampbellTreyCampbell6'4" | PGCedar Falls | 2022StateIA (12.0) is lightning quick and puts constant pressure on his opponent on both ends of the floor. Talented, playmaking wing Carter JanssenCarterJanssen6'5" | SFCedar Falls | 2021StateIA (9.3, 5.8 assists) has taken a major leap this year, giving them another gifted passer, and sophomore wing Dallas BearDallasBear6'8" | SFCedar Falls | 2023StateIA (5.8, 43.8 3P%) already holds a Division I offer. All of that talent, and we haven’t even mentioned senior big man Joe KnutsonJoeKnutson6'8" | PFCedar Falls | 2021StateIA (5.3), yet. He’ll play college ball at D2 Truman State, and gives them a big, physical presence in the paint. This group is deep and talented.
3A #7 Assumption (3-1) at 4A #10 North Scott (4-0)
Assumption has run off three straight double-digit wings following a season-opening loss to a ranked 4A Hempstead team. Senior wing Emarion EllisEmarionEllis6'4" | SFAssumption | 2021State#141NationIA (16.8) is leading the team in scoring, but isn’t doing so at a very efficient clip yet. The Texas signee is a highly gifted scorer who impacts the game on both ends of the floor, and when he gets it rolling, 3A needs to watch out. They’ve gotten really strong production out of junior wing Noah MackNoahMack6'0" | SGAssumption | 2022StateIA (13.5) and senior guard Dayne HodgeDayneHodge5'11" | PGAssumption | 2021StateIA (12.5), who are a combined 13-30 from 3 (43.3%) so far this season.
Surprise, surprise, North Scott is winning games and taking souls on the defensive end. The Lancers have established themselves as one of the best programs in 4A under Shamus Budde, and it doesn’t matter what they return – they just play defense and grind out win after win. They’re led by senior wing Landon EilandLandonEiland6'4" | SFNorth Scott | 2021StateIA (13.3), who will play college ball at Truman State. Eiland is an athletic, slashing wing who can also really shoot the ball, and he’s thriving with more opportunities this year. Junior guard Oliver Hughes (13.3) has also gotten off to a really strong start, starting the year 9-21 (42.9%) from behind the arc. If there is an area for this group to improve, they need to protect the ball better, as they’re giving the ball away nearly 16 times a game.
St. Mary’s, Remsen (5-0) at 1A #10 Gehlen Catholic (7-1)
Like North Scott in 4A, St. Mary’s has established themselves as an elite defensive program, and they’re doing it again this year, off to a 5-0 start and holding teams to just 37.2 points a game. The Hawks have four players averaging in double figures, led by sophomore Jaxon Bunkers (13.4), a versatile scorer who is also dishing out 4.2 assists a game. Senior guard Blaine HarpenauBlaineHarpenau6'0" | SGSt. Mary's, Remsen | 2021StateIA (12.4) is experienced, and has made a major impact on both ends, with 4.8 assists and 3.8 steals a game. The other name to look out for here is junior forward Austin JensenAustinJensen6'2" | PFSt. Mary's, Remsen | 2022StateIA (10.0, 6.4 rebounds), a physical presence in the paint who controls the glass on both ends.
A young Gehlen Catholic team is coming off a blowout loss to Unity Christian last night, 73-48. They had beaten that Knights team 62-54 earlier this season. They’ve been led by the high-scoring tandem of sophomore Keaten BondersonKeatenBonderson6'0" | PGGehlen Catholic | 2023StateIA (20.3) and junior Carter DeRocherCarterDeRocher6'1" | SFGehlen Catholic | 2022StateIA (18.7). Anticipate seeing St. Mary’s trying to take one of them out of the game, so the other will have to step up in a big way against a very talented defensive team.
2A #10 Treynor (5-1) at Underwood (4-0)
Treynor has dominated this series of late, winning the last seven meetings by an average score of 70.6-47.4. Expect this meeting to be more competitive. The Cardinals have three players averaging in double figures in Tim Zimmerman (16.3), Noah James (14.3) and Sid SchaafSidSchaaf5'11" | CGTreynor | 2021StateIA (15.8), but they aren’t shooting it well from the arc so far this season (just 26% as a team). They’ve made up for it by forcing turnovers on defense and crashing the offensive glass, getting more possessions for themselves.
The Eagles are off to a solid start, led by senior guard Timothy Conn (16.8). They’re shooting 42% from the arc as a team and only turning the ball over 10 times a game, which will be key against a Cardinals team that flies all over the court. In addition to Conn, four others are averaging between 6.5 and 9.5 points a game.