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 SchlaakCalebSchlaak6'7" | SFKennedy | 2021StateIA (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 ReedKenzieReed5'9" | PGKennedy | 2023StateIA (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 TelanderKelbyTelander6'5" | SFIowa City Liberty | 2021StateIA (15.4, 7.6 rebounds), Ethan O’DonnellEthanO’Donnell6'4" | SFLiberty | 2021StateIA (11.8), and Ira HazeltineIraHazeltine5'11" | SGLiberty | 2021StateIA (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 WileyReidWiley5'10" | CGCrestwood | 2021StateIA (17.3), but it’s lead guard Carter HenryCarterHenry6'2" | PGCrestwood | 2021StateIA (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 RobinsonCharlesRobinson6'2" | SFDecorah | 2021StateIA (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 WolfLandonWolf6'5" | CGCedar Falls | 2021StateIA (16.7, 48.6 3P%) and junior guard Trey CampbellTreyCampbell6'4" | PGCedar Falls | 2022StateIA (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 CourbatChaseCourbat6'9" | CCedar Falls | 2021StateIA (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 JanssenCarterJanssen6'5" | SFCedar Falls | 2021StateIA (10.1, 4.5 assists) will play at Upper Iowa, and senior big Joe KnutsonJoeKnutson6'8" | PFCedar Falls | 2021StateIA (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 BearDallasBear6'8" | SFCedar Falls | 2023StateIA (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 DuaxMichaelDuax6'5" | SFHempstead | 2021StateIA (22.9. 61.7 FG%), who will join Wolf and Courbat at Northern Iowa. Senior wing Jamari SmithJamariSmith6'4" | SFHempstead | 2021StateIA (14.8) is a streaky shooter who is capable of getting scorching hot, and junior 6-10 big Cameron FensCameronFens6'10" | CHempstead | 2022StateIA (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 AustinMannyAustin6'3" | SGDes Moines Hoover | 2021StateIA (19.1, 53.9 FG%) and sophomores, guard Chase HendersonChaseHenderson5'9" | PGHoover | 2023StateIA (16.8) and wing Elijah VosElijahVos6'5" | SFHoover | 2023StateIA (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 GrantReidGrant6'1" | PGJohnston | 2021StateIA (13.2, 48.7 3P%) and juniors Trey LewisTreyLewis5'8" | PGJohnston | 2022StateIA (12.3, 39.7 3P%) and Steven KramerStevenKramer6'4" | SGJohnston | 2022StateIA (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 RoquetMaxRoquet6'6" | CJohnston | 2021StateIA (7.6, 9.5 rebounds), a player with size, athleticism, and physicality that Hoover could struggle to match up with.