Posted On: 03/10/21 9:44 PM
2A Semifinal: #1 Boyden-Hull (25-0) vs. #4 Aplington-Parkersburg (22-3), 10:00 am
How they got here: Both teams dominated their quarterfinal matchups, with Boyden-Hull rolling to a 74-49 win over South Central Calhoun, and Aplington-Parkersburg pounding Van Meter, 68-41, behind 34 points from Jayden Mackie Jayden Mackie 6'2" | PG Aplington-Parkersburg | 2022 State IA .
Analysis: Expect some firepowers in this early morning semifinal, as these are the two highest scoring teams left in Class 2A. Both of these teams were very impressive in their opening round game, as Boyden-Hull got 46 points from the dynamic tandem of Marcus Kelderman Marcus Kelderman 6'1" | SG Boyden-Hull | 2021 State IA (27) and Tanner Te Slaa Tanner Te Slaa 6'5" | SF Boyden-Hull | 2022 State IA (19). Aplington-Parkersburg has a slew of solid athletes that they can throw at that tandem, but slowing them down is easier said than done. Look for the Comets to send a player back rather than crashing the offensive glass to try and limit the Falcons transition opportunities.
Normally a balanced offensive attack, the Falcons got the performance of the tournament so far from Jayden Mackie Jayden Mackie 6'2" | PG Aplington-Parkersburg | 2022 State IA , who had 34 points on 13-14 shooting (including 4-4 from 3) in their blowout win over Van Meter. While Mackie is certainly extremely talented, they’ll need to get more balanced production, like they usually do, if they want to beat a balanced and disciplined team like Boyden-Hull. This one should be fun, but the edge goes to a Boyden-Hull team that has been dominant on both ends of the floor this year.
Players to watch
Boyden-Hull: Tanner Te Slaa Tanner Te Slaa 6'5" | SF Boyden-Hull | 2022 State IA (21.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 54.3 FG%), Marcus Kelderman Marcus Kelderman 6'1" | SG Boyden-Hull | 2021 State IA (17.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 56.0 FG%), Dayton Brunsting (9.1 points, 4.8 rebounds)
Aplington-Parkersburg: Jayden Mackie Jayden Mackie 6'2" | PG Aplington-Parkersburg | 2022 State IA (14.1 points, 50.2 FG%), Garrett Hempen (12.4 points, 3.1 assists), Owen Thomas Owen Thomas 6'4" | SF Aplington-Parkersburg | 2021 State IA (11.6 points)
Our pick: Boyden-Hull 72, Aplington-Parkersburg 66
2A Semifinal: #3 Des Moines Christian (22-2) vs. #2 Western Christian (20-5), 12:00 pm
How they got here: Des Moines Christian used a dominant defensive effort to roll through Beckman Catholic, 58-38, while Western Christian’s offense paced their win over Camanche, 71-55.
Analysis: Des Moines Christian is the best defensive team in the 2A field, but they’re going to have their hands full with a balanced, explosive and efficient Wolfpack attack. Junior guard Wyatt Gulker led the Wolfpack with 26 points in the quarterfinal win over Camanche, and the Wolfpack shot 52% from the floor in that win. Expect to see the Lions try to slow this one down, as they don’t want to get into a shootout with Western Christian.
Des Moines Christian dominated their opening round game against Beckman Catholic in large part because of a defensive game plan that focused on taking away Beckman’s leading scorer Padraig Gallagher Padraig Gallagher 6'4" | SF Beckman Catholic | 2023 State IA . He was the focal point of the Blazers attack, but Western Christian doesn’t have one player to key in on, which makes them more difficult to plan for. Gulker can fill it up, as can Ty Van Essen Ty Van Essen 6'4" | PF Western Christian | 2022 State IA and Eli Van Essen. Look for the Lions to try and not only slow this down, but use their physicality to wear down the Pack. Adam Witty Adam Witty 6'2" | SF Des Moines Christian | 2022 State IA , Grant Veenstra Grant Veenstra 6'2" | SF Des Moines Christian | 2021 State IA and Ben Loverude Ben Loverude 6'6" | PF Des Moines Christian | 2021 State IA thrive on getting to the bucket, and they’ll need to attack, attack, attack on that end of the floor. At the end of the day, we’re not sure DMC has enough offensively to keep pace with the potent Western Christian attack.
Players to watch
Des Moines Christian: Adam Witty Adam Witty 6'2" | SF Des Moines Christian | 2022 State IA (14.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 60.9 FG%), Ben Loverude Ben Loverude 6'6" | PF Des Moines Christian | 2021 State IA (13.8 points), Grant Veenstra Grant Veenstra 6'2" | SF Des Moines Christian | 2021 State IA (12.5 points, 6.2 rebounds)
Western Christian: Ty Van Essen Ty Van Essen 6'4" | PF Western Christian | 2022 State IA (16.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 60.1 FG%), Wyatt Gulker (12.3 points, 41.9 3P%), Eli Van Essen (10.0 points)
Our pick: Western Christian 64, Des Moines Christian 52
3A Semifinal: #5 Assumption (19-6) vs. #1 Ballard (24-1), 2:00 pm
How they got here: Assumption got a huge game from Emarion Ellis Emarion Ellis 6'4" | SF Assumption | 2021 State #141 Nation IA to pull away from #4 Dallas Center-Grimes, 56-42. Ballard dominated their quarterfinal meeting against Clear Lake, 68-45.
Analysis: These are two heavy-weight teams meeting up for a right to play for the 3A title. Assumption will have the best player on the floor in Texas signee Emarion Ellis Emarion Ellis 6'4" | SF Assumption | 2021 State #141 Nation IA , who played arguably the best game of his high school career in the Knights’ quarterfinal win over DC-G. He was in complete control on both ends of the floor, and he’ll need to play a really strong game again if the Knights are going to beat the top-ranked team in the state. Ballard was dominant on both ends of the floor against Clear Lake, and their transition game was impressive. They like to send someone as soon as the opposition releases a shot, and it leads to a lot of easy buckets, so that is something that Assumption will have to account for.
When Assumption has the ball, don’t be surprised to see Ballard throw some different zone looks at them. The Bombers don’t really have a player who can slow down Ellis, but they have good length when they play a zone and they’re a disciplined defensive team. They’ll certainly play some man as well, and expect to see them throw a few junk defenses at Ellis to take Assumption out of their rhythm. When Ballard has the ball, look for them to try and work it inside to 6-6 forward Connor Drew Connor Drew 6'6" | PF Ballard | 2021 State IA , who is headed to D2 Winona State. With Drew’s ability to score inside and out, Assumption doesn’t really have a great matchup for him. Assumption’s defense was excellent in their substate final win against Mount Vernon, and even better in the second half of their win over Dallas Center-Grimes, but this Bombers team has way more weapons. The point guard battle between Assumption’s Dayne Hodge Dayne Hodge 5'11" | PG Assumption | 2021 State IA , a dynamic defender, and Ballard’s Mason Murphy Mason Murphy 5'9" | PG Ballard | 2021 State IA , one of the best pure lead guards in the class, will be fun. The difference-maker in this game is junior guard Ashton Hermann Ashton Hermann 6'4" | SG Ballard | 2022 State IA of Ballard. The 6-3 junior is lightning-quick and will turn any Assumption mistakes into offense in a hurry.
Players to watch
Assumption: Emarion Ellis Emarion Ellis 6'4" | SF Assumption | 2021 State #141 Nation IA (17.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists), Noah Mack Noah Mack 6'0" | SG Assumption | 2022 State IA (11.4 points, 38.8 3P%), Dayne Hodge Dayne Hodge 5'11" | PG Assumption | 2021 State IA (8.8 points, 2.6 assists)
Ballard: Connor Drew Connor Drew 6'6" | PF Ballard | 2021 State IA (15.4 points, 9.0 rebounds), Ashton Hermann Ashton Hermann 6'4" | SG Ballard | 2022 State IA (15.8 points, 3.4 steals), Mason Murphy Mason Murphy 5'9" | PG Ballard | 2021 State IA (12.0 points, 5.0 assists)
Our pick: Ballard 58, Assumption 55
3A Semifinal: #6 Sergeant Bluff-Luton (17-7) vs. #2 Pella (23-2), 4:00 pm
How they got here: Sergeant-Bluff Luton scratched out a low-scoring, overtime win over #3 Western Dubuque, 39-37. Pella built a big lead against Monticello, survived a Panther rally and pulled away for a 59-46 win.
Analysis: Talk about a contrast in styles here. Sergeant Bluff-Luton is coming off an overtime game in which they scored just 39 points in a win, and they get a Pella team that loves to get up-and-down. The Warriors have been a monster in Des Moines in previous years, with their physicality and length causing all sorts of issues, and they’ll be hoping for that again against the high-powered Pella attack that features a number of talented shooters.
Pella didn’t shoot it well from 3 in their quarterfinal win (just 4-14), but this is a team that loves to bomb away from the arc, averaging 10.5 made 3-pointers a game. Grant Nelson Grant Nelson 6'1" | SF Pella | 2021 State IA , Karl Miller Karl Miller 6'4" | SF Pella | 2022 State IA and Noah Allen Noah Allen 5'10" | PG Pella | 2022 State IA each shoot well over 40% from behind the arc, and the Warriors will need to find a way to slow them down. With the length and athleticism that 6-8 Jake Layman Jake Layman 6'7" | SF Sergeant Bluff-Luton | 2021 State IA and 6-10 Majok Majouk Majok Majouk 6'7" | SF Sergeant Bluff-Luton | 2021 State IA bring, they’ll be able to contest and alter Pella’s looks, but look for the Dutch to try and get this game sped up using their variety of zone presses, trying to take advantage of a SB-L team that lacks a true lead guard.
Players to watch
Sergeant Bluff-Luton: Jake Layman Jake Layman 6'7" | SF Sergeant Bluff-Luton | 2021 State IA (11.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists), Majok Majouk Majok Majouk 6'7" | SF Sergeant Bluff-Luton | 2021 State IA (10.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.9 blocks)
Pella: Grant Nelson Grant Nelson 6'1" | SF Pella | 2021 State IA (17.6 points, 45.5 3P%), Karl Miller Karl Miller 6'4" | SF Pella | 2022 State IA (15.9 points, 42.3 3P%), Noah Allen Noah Allen 5'10" | PG Pella | 2022 State IA (12.1 points, 43.9 3P%)
Our pick: Pella 59, Sergeant Bluff-Luton 52
4A Semifinal: #4 Johnston (11-4) vs. #1 Cedar Falls (20-0), 6:00 pm
How they got here: Johnston led wire-to-wire in their quarterfinal win over Dowling Catholic, 49-33. Top-ranked Cedar Falls survived an icy shooting start, using a 22-0 run to prevail over #8 Senior.
Analysis: Johnston was impressive in their quarterfinal win over Dowling Catholic, leading wire-to-wire and using a dominant defensive effort to hold the Maroons to just 33 points. The guard-heavy lineup spread out the bigger Dowling squad and used their quickness to get into the paint routinely. That will be tougher to accomplish against a long, athletic and very good defensive Cedar Falls team. Steven Kramer Steven Kramer 6'5" | SG Johnston | 2022 State IA , a 6-5 wing, who had 16 points in the Dowling win, will need to be big in this one if the Dragons want to pull the upset.
Cedar Falls was ice cold to start the game against MVC rival Senior in the quarters, but they showed how good they can be with a 22-0 run that put that game away. The Tigers start five future scholarship-level college players, and bring another off the bench, giving them a boat load of talent and weapons. Landon Wolf Landon Wolf 6'5" | CG Cedar Falls | 2021 State IA , their leading scorer, was held in check in the quarterfinal win, but junior guard Trey Campbell Trey Campbell 6'4" | PG Cedar Falls | 2022 State IA and senior big Chase Courbat Chase Courbat 6'9" | C Cedar Falls | 2021 State IA stepped up while he struggled. Expect to see Coach Ryan Schultz find a way to get Wolf going early in this one.
Players to watch
Johnston: Reid Grant Reid Grant 6'1" | PG Johnston | 2021 State IA (14.0 points, 3.9 assists), Trey Lewis Trey Lewis 5'10" | PG Johnston | 2022 State IA (12.9 points, 38.9 3P%), Steven Kramer Steven Kramer 6'5" | SG Johnston | 2022 State IA (11.9 points. 4.5 rebounds)
Cedar Falls: Landon Wolf Landon Wolf 6'5" | CG Cedar Falls | 2021 State IA (17.5 points, 47.4 3P%), Trey Campbell Trey Campbell 6'4" | PG Cedar Falls | 2022 State IA (14.4 points, 5.3 assists), Carter Janssen Carter Janssen 6'5" | SF Cedar Falls | 2021 State IA (10.2 points, 46.9 3P%), Chase Courbat Chase Courbat 6'9" | C Cedar Falls | 2021 State IA (11.1 points, 8.3 rebounds)
Our pick: Cedar Falls 65, Johnston 55
4A Semifinal: #3 Ames (18-3) vs. #2 Waukee (14-2), 8:00 pm
How they got here: Ames put the clamps down on Council Bluffs Lincoln, holding the Lynx 30 points below their season average in a 54-37 win. Waukee set the tone early, jumping out to a 22-3 lead, en route to a 65-43 win over Pleasant Valley
Analysis: The Little Cyclones were dominant defensively in their quarterfinal win over CBAL, holding the Lynx to 30 points below their season average. I don’t expect that to happen against Waukee, who showed the state why they were so hyped coming into the year, scoring 33 of the first 38 points in their win over Pleasant Valley. The lengthy and skilled Warriors have a number of bodies to throw at star Ames guard Tamin Lipsey Tamin Lipsey 6'1" | PG Ames | 2022 State #75 Nation IA , and have a major rim protector at the back end of their defense in Omaha Biliew Omaha Biliew 6'8" | SF Waukee | 2023 State #6 Nation IA if Lipsey does break down the D and get to the bucket.
Look for Ames to try and slow this one down, as they don’t want to get into a track meet with the high-powered, explosive Warriors. Easier said than done. Too much Tucker DeVries Tucker DeVries 6'7" | SF Waukee | 2021 State #123 Nation IA , too much Payton Sandfort Payton Sandfort 6'7" | SF Waukee | 2021 State #138 Nation IA , too much shooting, too much size. Waukee wins and sets up the championship we all want to see.
Players to watch
Ames: Tamin Lipsey Tamin Lipsey 6'1" | PG Ames | 2022 State #75 Nation IA (16.9 points, 4.9 assists), Keyshaun Brooks Keyshaun Brooks 6'1" | CG Ames | 2021 State IA (10.9 points, 44.9 3P%), Corey Phillips Corey Phillips 6'5" | PF Ames | 2022 State IA (8.3 points)
Waukee: Tucker DeVries Tucker DeVries 6'7" | SF Waukee | 2021 State #123 Nation IA (18.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 3.2 steals, 46.3 3P%), Payton Sandfort Payton Sandfort 6'7" | SF Waukee | 2021 State #138 Nation IA (17.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 48.6 3P%), Omaha Biliew Omaha Biliew 6'8" | SF Waukee | 2023 State #6 Nation IA (10.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.3 blocks)
Our pick: Waukee 63, Ames 54
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