Posted On: 01/4/21 3:35 PM
3A #5 Waverly-Shell Rock (6-0) at Clear Lake (5-1)
The best game of the evening is this interesting non-conference tilt between a pair of strong 3A programs. Waverly-Shell Rock is bouncing back from a down year with a strong 6-0 start, boosted by senior forward Caleb BurksCalebBurks6'6" | CWaverly-Shell Rock | 2021StateIA (12.8), who is blocking 6.5 shots a game and serving as an ultimate rim-protector. Keaton FarmerKeatonFarmer6'1" | CGWaverly-Shell Rock | 2022StateIA (16.0) has led a much more efficient offensive attack, as the Go-Hawks are shooting over 41% from behind the arc on the season. They’ve been dominant on the defensive end, allowing just 38.8 points a game.
Clear Lake is led by one of the best tandems in 3A basketball in junior guard Carson ToebeCarsonToebe6'3" | PGClear Lake | 2022StateIA (16.4) and senior forward Andrew FormanekAndrewFormanek6'6" | PFClear Lake | 2021StateIA (15.8, 11.8 rebounds). That duo has been strong again to start this year, and they’re getting solid production out of role players like Joe Faber (7.0) and Eric Ritter (7.3). The Lions will need to protect the ball better (15.0 turnovers a game) against a strong defensive team if they want to pull out a nice home win.
4A #1 Waukee (1-0) at Dowling Catholic (2-1)
Waukee dominated their opener against 4A defending champion Ankeny, 65-28, with four players scoring in double figures – Omaha BiliewOmahaBiliew6'9" | SFWaukee | 2023State#6NationIA (15), Tucker DeVriesTuckerDeVries6'7" | SFWaukee | 2021State#123NationIA (14), Payton SandfortPaytonSandfort6'7" | SFWaukee | 2021State#138NationIA (14), and Wyatt HestonWyattHeston6'7" | SFWaukee | 2021StateIA (10). The Warriors have the most talented roster we’ve seen in the state since the Ames team that had Harrison Barnes and Doug McDermott, among others.
Dowling has a massive roster that will be able to throw some real size at the Warriors with 6-10 Jack GroetekeJackGroeteke6'9" | CDowling Catholic | 2021StateIA (10.3) and 6-9 Ryan RiggsRyanRiggs6'9" | PFDowling Catholic | 2021StateIA (13.3). They’ve also gotten really strong production out of 6-3 wing Matthew Riedl (17.3, 4.3 assists), but the Maroons are shooting just 29% from behind the arc as a team. They’ll need to knock down plenty of shots to hang with an explosive and talented Warriors squad.
Van Meter (4-1) at Norwalk (4-2)
This should be a good test for Van Meter, stepping up in competition against a strong Norwalk team. The Bulldogs lost their last game before the break, 61-49, against a strong Des Moines Christian bunch, and are anxious to get back on the floor. They’ve been led by junior guard Chris SchreckChrisSchreck5'9" | PGVan Meter | 2022StateIA (16.8), a quick lead guard who makes a major impact on both ends of the floor. Casey Trudo (11.4) and Carter Durflinger (11.0) are also averaging in double-figures for this young Bulldogs team that starts three juniors and a sophomore alongside senior Taylor Birks.
Defending 3A champion Norwalk is off to a 4-2 start, which is impressive given the gigantic hole that Bowen BornBowenBorn5'11" | PGNorwalk | 2020State#401NationIA left. Senior forward Cole Tunender (12.3) leads the team in scoring, and the Warriors have gotten strong, balanced production, with seven players averaging at least 3.8 points a game.
Osage (4-1) at 1A #4 West Fork (3-0)
These teams split their season series last year, with West Fork winning 54-47, and Osage winning 74-72 in overtime. These two programs are traditionally strong, and this is a key game in the Top of Iowa East.
Osage has a trio of double-figure scorers in Eric Bobinet (14.8), Tyler Oberfoell (12.4), and Nathan HavelNathanHavel6'2" | PFOsage | 2022StateIA (11.6). The Green Devils do a great job pounding the offensive glass, pulling down 16 offensive rebounds a game, which helps lead to a lot of second-chance points.
West Fork hasn’t played since December 11 following COVID exposure from another team, but they were dominant in their first three wins, winning by an average of 81-38. The Warhawks are led by the dynamic inside-out tandem of Jakob WashingtonJakobWashington6'2" | SFWest Fork | 2021StateIA (13.3) and Kayden AmesKaydenAmes6'1" | SGWest Fork | 2021StateIA (23.0). Ames is a flamethrower from behind the arc, knocking down 62.5% of his 3-point attempts so far on the young season. They’re also getting good production out of seniors Cail WeaverCailWeaver6'0" | SGWest Fork | 2021StateIA (10.7), Joe Ingham (9.0), and Colin Martinek (8.0). The key here will be to keep the Green Devils off of the offensive glass.