Posted On: 01/19/21 4:04 PM
4A #4 Centennial (6-1) at 4A #7 Hoover (3-0)
Some drop-off was expected at Centennial this year, following the graduation of a number of key pieces from last year’s team. That hasn’t happened, as the Jaguars are off to a strong 6-1 start, with the lone loss coming to a really good Valley team. They’ve got three players averaging in double-figures in Jaron Crews (15.6), Colin McAleerColinMcAleer6'3" | SGAnkeny Centennial | 2021StateIA (12.1) and freshman Lio Aguirre (10.1). Three others average between 8.7 and 9.4 points a game, giving the Jags a number of offensive options. They’ve been very efficient this year, shooting nearly 52% from the floor and turning the ball over just seven times a game.
Hoover didn’t get started until after the break, but they’ve won all three of their games so far by double-digits. The Huskies have a trio of high-scorers on the perimeter for teams to contend with in Manny AustinMannyAustin6'3" | SGDes Moines Hoover | 2021StateIA (26.0), Chase HendersonChaseHenderson5'9" | PGHoover | 2023StateIA (20.0) and Elijah VosElijahVos6'5" | SFHoover | 2023StateIA (14.3). Austin is back at Hoover after a year at North and has been fantastic, among the leaders in 4A in scoring. Henderson and Vos form one of the best sophomore tandems in the state.
North Mahaska (8-2) at 1A #10 Montezuma (11-2)
North Mahaska handed Montezuma an upset loss in the season-opener, beating the Braves 68-66. Expect to see the Braves come out fired up tonight as a result of that game. Montezuma played the pre-break portion of their schedule without Eddie BurgessEddieBurgess6'4" | PFMontezuma | 2022StateIA (13.0, 9.3 rebounds), who suffered an injury in the 8-man football championship game, and they’ve been rolling since he re-joined the rotation, winning four straight by an average of 35.5 points a game. Burgess doesn’t lead the team in scoring, but he provides some size, passing and is the anchor of their 2-3 zone. They’re led by the dynamic senior backcourt of Trey ShearerTreyShearer5'10" | PGMontezuma | 2021StateIA (30.2) and Cole WattsColeWatts5'10" | SGMontezuma | 2021StateIA (20.8). Truman State-bound Shearer leads the state in scoring, while Watts is a perfect sidekick alongside him – a knockdown shooter who thrives on the open looks he’s able to get from Shearer’s penetration.
The Warhawks are young, led by a pair of sophomores in Braden Steel (13.7) and Nash Smith (12.0), but very talented. They do a good job crashing the offensive glass, pulling down over 11 offensive boards a game, and they do a great job sharing the basketball, assisting on over 71% of their made field goals.
West Burlington (9-3) at Notre Dame (8-3)
Not only is this an intercity rivalry, but it’s also a key game in the SEISC South Division, as both teams have two league losses (as does New London), and sit atop the division. West Burlington is led by their senior trio – Marvion JacksonMarvionJackson6'5" | PFWest Burlington | 2021StateIA (17.1), Darian JohnsonDarianJohnson5'10" | PGWest Burlington | 2021StateIA (13.9), and Colten SherwoodColtenSherwood5'10" | SGWest Burlington | 2021StateIA (11.1). The Falcons are athletic, and Jackson in particular will be a difficult matchup for the Nikes.
The Nikes shot just 26.7% from behind the arc in their 71-56 loss to West Burlington earlier this year, and that mark will need to improve if they want to take the rematch. Senior forward Josh Smith (19.3) is the headliner, while Matt Johnson (15.5, 46.2 3P%) has been a really good shooter for them this season. He’ll need to knock down shots and help stretch the floor tonight.
2A #3 Des Moines Christian (10-1) at 3A #2 Pella (10-0)
There is a big difference in the preferred style of play in this game, as Des Moines Christian likes to slow the game down and rely on their defense and physicality to wear teams down, while Pella likes to use their depth, athleticism, and quickness to get games sped up. The Lions rank 5th in 2A, allowing just 42.5 points a game, while Pella is averaging just under 70 points a game. DMC is led by Adam WittyAdamWitty6'1" | SFDes Moines Christian | 2022StateIA (13.9), Ben LoverudeBenLoverude6'6" | PFDes Moines Christian | 2021StateIA (13.4), and Grant VeenstraGrantVeenstra6'2" | SFDes Moines Christian | 2021StateIA (10.7), and they’ll need to take supreme care of the basketball to prevent this one from getting away from them.
Pella is led by a trio of double-figure scorers in Karl MillerKarlMiller6'4" | CGPella | 2022StateIA (17.8), Grant NelsonGrantNelson6'1" | SFPella | 2021StateIA (16.8), and Noah AllenNoahAllen5'10" | PGPella | 2022StateIA (12.0), while Parker ElderParkerElder6'4" | SFPella | 2022StateIA (7.9), Ryan Mace (5.8), and Josh Warner (5.9) are also key pieces for this group. Miller has been excellent this year, leading the team in scoring and shooting nearly 50% from behind the arc. He’s always been a really skilled player but battled injuries as a sophomore, so it’s good to see him producing at a high level.
3A #10 Clear Lake (10-1) at Algona (7-3)
This is a big game in the North Central Conference, as Clear Lake enters with a 5-1 league mark and Algona is 5-0. The Lions are led by the dynamic inside-out tandem of senior Andrew FormanekAndrewFormanek6'6" | PFClear Lake | 2021StateIA (16.2) and junior Carson ToebeCarsonToebe6'3" | PGClear Lake | 2022StateIA (18.2). They’ve done a great job on the offensive glass, pulling down 11.4 offensive boards a game, leading to a lot of second-chance opportunities.
Algona has been solid since an 0-2 start, going 7-1 in their last eight games, with the lone loss coming to crosstown rival Bishop Garrigan. The Bulldogs have a balanced attack, with four players averaging in double-figures in Tyler Manske (12.2), Noah NelsonNoahNelson5'8" | PGAlgona | 2021StateIA (11.5), Garrett Goche (11.4), and Kyle Simpson (10.5), which makes them difficult to defend.