Posted On: 12/15/20 2:40 PM
1A #2 Wapsie Valley (4-0) at 2A #3 Aplington-Parkersburg (5-0)
This is the game of the night around the state, with a pair of top-3 teams clashing in Parkersburg. Aplington-Parkersburg swept the season series last year, 61-45 and 65-55. A balanced Falcons attack has been led by senior Owen ThomasOwenThomas6'4" | SFAplington-Parkersburg | 2021StateIA (14.8), but two others players average in double figures – Garrett Hempen (13.6) and Josh HaanJoshHaan6'6" | PFAplington-Parkersburg | 2021StateIA (12.8) – while four others average at least 8 points a contest. This is an explosive offensive team that can beat teams in a number of ways. Four players are shooting 40% or better from 3, so the Warriors will have to focus on running them off the 3-point line.
The defending 1A champion Warriors have also featured a balanced attack with three players averaging in double figures, led by sophomore big man Mason HarterMasonHarter6'5" | PFSigourney | 2023StateIA (14.0). The Sigourney transfer is also pulling down 12.3 rebounds a night, and could be an advantage in the paint for Wapsie. Senior guards Blayde BellisBlaydeBellis5'9" | PGWapsie Valley | 2021StateIA (13.3) and Kobe RisseKobeRisse6'0" | PGWapsie Valley | 2021StateIA (12.3) are the others averaging in double figures, while they’ve gotten solid production out of Andrew Westpfahl (9.3) as well. Junior wing Gunner MeyerGunnerMeyer6'4" | SFWapsie Valley | 2022StateIA, last year’s breakout star at State, has gotten off to a quiet start to the year, but is a threat to get it going at any time.
Ankeny (1-0) at 3A #6 Pella (4-0)
This game was added to the schedule last week after Pella lost an opponent to COVID concerns. Ankeny just got their season started last week, a 66-62 win over Mason City, and the defending 4A champions are breaking in a lot of new pieces. Braden Simonsen (14.0) led the Hawks in their opener with 14 points and 7 rebounds, while sophomore wing Brayden Drea added 13 points and sophomore forward JJ Kohl chipped in 10 points and 7 rebounds. This will be a good opportunity for a Hawks squad that is largely new to get some run against a solid Pella team.
The Dutch have been led this season by senior forward Grant NelsonGrantNelson6'1" | SFPella | 2021StateIA (16.3) and junior wing Karl MillerKarlMiller6'4" | CGPella | 2022StateIA (13.8), while fellow junior wing Parker ElderParkerElder6'3" | SFPella | 2022StateIA (10.3) has had a few great games this season as well. The Dutch love to shoot the 3-ball, averaging 25 attempts a game so far this season, and if they get hot, they can put up a ton of points in a hurry. They like to apply pressure on the defensive end, often throwing a variety of different zone and man full-court looks at teams, and they could create some issues for a young Ankeny team.
4A #6 Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln (4-1) at Sergeant Bluff-Luton (1-2)
CBAL swept the season series last year, 48-43 in overtime and 52-40. The Lynx are led by standout junior wing Josh DixJoshDix6'3" | SGCouncil Bluffs Lincoln | 2022State#250NationIA (17.2), an efficient scoring threat who can take over a game at any given moment. They’ve gotten strong production out of senior forward Noah Sandbothe (11.8, 7.2 rebounds) and guard Jamison GruberJamisonGruber6'1" | PGCouncil Bluffs Lincoln | 2022StateIA (10.4, 4.6 assists) as well. The Sandbothe/Christian TidianeChristianTidiane6'4" | PFCouncil Bluffs Lincoln | 2021StateIA tandem in the paint is a highly athletic pairing that can protect the rim and control the glass.
The Warriors finished runner-up in 3A last year, and lost a good chunk of production from that team, so it’s no surprise that they got off to a bit of a slow start, dropping games to Le Mars and Sioux City West by a combined seven points before blasting Sioux City North, 73-31. The senior tandem of Majok MajoukMajokMajouk6'7" | SFSergeant Bluff-Luton | 2021StateIA (12.3, 9.7 rebounds) and Jake LaymanJakeLayman6'7" | SFSergeant Bluff-Luton | 2021StateIA (10.3) are the headliners for Sergeant Bluff-Luton; both will play college ball at D2 Southwest Minnesota State. This is a team that has really struggled with turnovers early this year, giving the ball away 17.7 times a game. That can’t happen against the efficient attack that CBAL brings to the table.
AHSTW (5-0) at 2A #4 Treynor (4-0)
The Vikings are off to a strong 5-0 start behind the stellar play of Raydden GrobeRayddenGrobe6'2" | SFAHSTW | 2022StateIA (19.4), Brayden Lund (18.4) and Kyle Sternberg (17.4). Each of them are threats to torch an opponent from behind the arc or get to the bucket, and they’ve been outstanding to open the year. In addition to the strong play of that trio, the team has been strong defensively, ranking 6th in 2A, allowing just 41.6 points a game. They’ll have a much taller task tonight against a potent Treynor attack.
This Cardinals team is significantly smaller than they’ve been in the last several years, but they have an attack filled with players who can spread out the defense and put the ball on the floor to get to the rim. Senior guards Tim Zimmerman (17.3), Sid SchaafSidSchaaf5'11" | CGTreynor | 2021StateIA (14.8) and Noah James (12.0) have been the leaders. Treynor isn’t shooting the ball well from 3 yet (24.8% as a team) and they’re still putting up 68.5 points a night. Once their shooting starts to correct itself, watch out.
1A #6 New London (3-0) at West Burlington (4-1)
New London swept the season series last year, 80-50 and 78-59. The Tigers have won their first three games of the season by an average of 31 points behind the sterling play of sophomore guard Blaise PorterBlaisePorter5'11" | PGNew London | 2023StateIA (20.7), sophomore forward Kade BenjaminKadeBenjamin6'5" | PFNew London | 2023StateIA (19.7) and junior forward Devin Swanson (19.3). Porter holds a Division I offer from Bryant and has the ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor with his skill and speed, while Benjamin is a versatile stretch-four who can protect the rim and score from anywhere. The Tigers have a lot of talent, and they’re just going to keep getting better.
West Burlington has rebounded well from a season-opening loss to Danville, winning four straight games, including a nice 68-60 win over 3A Mount Pleasant. The Falcons are experienced and athletic, with all five starters back from last year’s team, led by forward Marvion JacksonMarvionJackson6'5" | PFWest Burlington | 2021StateIA (16.0) and guard Darian JohnsonDarianJohnson5'10" | PGWest Burlington | 2021StateIA (13.0). They’ll have their hands full with Porter and will need to find a way to control the glass, particularly by crashing the offensive glass, if they want to remain competitive with the Tigers.