Posted On: 02/16/21 9:50 AM
Liberty (5-3) at 4A #9 Kennedy (13-6)
Few teams in 4A are hotter than the Kennedy Cougars, who have won nine straight games to elevate themselves into the latest top-10 rankings. They’ve been paced by senior forward Caleb Schlaak Caleb Schlaak 6'7" | SF Kennedy | 2021 State IA (19.0, 9.8 rebounds), a long and skilled combo forward who can score inside and out, and he’s been dominant defensively, averaging 6.1 stocks (2.5 steals, 3.6 blocks). Senior wing Cole Hrubes (9.5) and sophomore guards Kenzie Reed Kenzie Reed 5'10" | PG Kennedy | 2023 State IA (9.4, 5.7 assists) and Colby Dolphin (8.2, 37.8 3P%) have given the Cougars other solid scoring options alongside Schlaak, and they’ve been good defensively during the winning streak, allowing just 53.4 points a game.
After a strong 5-0 start, Liberty has lost three straight games. The Lightning haven’t really been able to get into a rhythm this season due to multiple COVID pauses, and it’s been noticeable in their play of late. They have a trio of double-figure scorers in senior Kelby Telander Kelby Telander 6'5" | SF Iowa City Liberty | 2021 State IA (15.4, 7.6 rebounds), Ethan O’Donnell Ethan O’Donnell 6'4" | SF Liberty | 2021 State IA (11.8), and Ira Hazeltine Ira Hazeltine 5'11" | SG Liberty | 2021 State IA (12.8, 42.6 3P%). A veteran team that starts five seniors, Liberty will be looking to get back on track in the final week of the regular season.
Decorah (14-5) at Crestwood (12-5)
This is a huge game in the Northeast Iowa Conference race, as Decorah enters with a 9-2 league mark, followed by Waukon at 9-3 and Crestwood at 8-3. Crestwood won the first meeting between these teams, 69-51, back on January 21, and they split with Waukon, so a win tonight would put them and the Indians at the top of the conference. Crestwood is led in scoring by senior guard Reid Wiley Reid Wiley 5'10" | CG Crestwood | 2021 State IA (17.3), but it’s lead guard Carter Henry Carter Henry 6'2" | PG Crestwood | 2021 State IA (8.4, 8.3 rebounds, 7.1 assists) who is the real headliner here. The stat-sheet stuffer is the key piece for the Cadets attack.
Decorah has won four of their last five games, with the lone loss coming to 4A Cedar Rapids Washington. The Vikings are led by senior Charles Robinson Charles Robinson 6'2" | SF Decorah | 2021 State IA (14.2, 7.1 rebounds) and junior Joseph Bockman (13.5), but they have a lot of options and like to go deep into their bench. Freshman guard Treyton McCain (6.5) can be a difference-maker off the bench with his speed and athleticism.
4A #1 Cedar Falls (15-0) at 4A #4 Hempstead (14-3)
There’s no question that this is the game of the night around the state, a top-5 battle in Dubuque with a load of talent on the floor. Cedar Falls is averaging a 4A-high 78.0 points a game, paced by senior wing Landon Wolf Landon Wolf 6'5" | CG Cedar Falls | 2021 State IA (16.7, 48.6 3P%) and junior guard Trey Campbell Trey Campbell 6'4" | PG Cedar Falls | 2022 State IA (15.1, 43.6 3P%). As a team, the Tigers are shooting 43.4% from behind the arc, an eye-popping number. Wolf and senior big man Chase Courbat Chase Courbat 6'9" | C Cedar Falls | 2021 State IA (11.3, 8.9 rebounds) are both signed to play at Northern Iowa, and Campbell recently picked up an offer from the Panthers. Senior wing Carter Janssen Carter Janssen 6'5" | SF Cedar Falls | 2021 State IA (10.1, 4.5 assists) will play at Upper Iowa, and senior big Joe Knutson Joe Knutson 6'8" | PF Cedar Falls | 2021 State IA (7.6, 5.1 rebounds) is headed to Truman State. Oh, and the Tigers also have a 6-8 sophomore coming off the bench in Dallas Bear Dallas Bear 6'8" | SF Cedar Falls | 2023 State IA (6.1, 43.1 3P%), a knockdown shooter who holds a D1 offer from Bryant.
Hempstead has won 12 of their last 13 games, with the lone loss coming to a hot Kennedy team on a last-second shot. The Mustangs are led by senior wing Michael Duax Michael Duax 6'5" | SF Hempstead | 2021 State IA (22.9. 61.7 FG%), who will join Wolf and Courbat at Northern Iowa. Senior wing Jamari Smith Jamari Smith 6'4" | SF Hempstead | 2021 State IA (14.8) is a streaky shooter who is capable of getting scorching hot, and junior 6-10 big Cameron Fens Cameron Fens 6'10" | C Hempstead | 2022 State IA (9.9, 64.0 FG%) has given them a solid option in the paint as well. The ’Stangs will have their hands full with all of the firepower that Cedar Falls possesses, but Hempstead can fill it up as well.
Hoover (10-4) at 4A #6 Johnston (8-3)
Hoover has rebounded from a very odd 66-38 loss to Ankeny by winning their last two games against Urbandale and Lincoln. The Huskies have a dangerous trio of scoring threats in senior wing Manny Austin Manny Austin 6'3" | SG Des Moines Hoover | 2021 State IA (19.1, 53.9 FG%) and sophomores, guard Chase Henderson Chase Henderson 6'0" | PG Hoover | 2023 State IA (16.8) and wing Elijah Vos Elijah Vos 6'4" | SF Hoover | 2023 State IA (13.3). That trio is among the best trios in the state, and each is capable of taking over a given game. The key for the Huskies on any given night is whether or not they’ll get production out of their role players.
Johnston is coming off a loss to Dowling Catholic and will be looking to get back on track in the final week of the regular season. The Dragons are led by a very talented trio of guards in senior Reid Grant Reid Grant 6'1" | PG Johnston | 2021 State IA (13.2, 48.7 3P%) and juniors Trey Lewis Trey Lewis 5'10" | PG Johnston | 2022 State IA (12.3, 39.7 3P%) and Steven Kramer Steven Kramer 6'5" | SG Johnston | 2022 State IA (12.1). Grant has signed to play college ball at North Dakota, and Lewis and Kramer are both legitimate college prospects as well. The edge that Johnston may have in this game, however, lies in big man Max Roquet Max Roquet 6'6" | C Johnston | 2021 State IA (7.6, 9.5 rebounds), a player with size, athleticism, and physicality that Hoover could struggle to match up with.
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