Posted On: 03/10/21 8:29 AM

4A Quarterfinal: #4 Johnston (10-4) vs. #5 Dowling Catholic (12-8), 10:00 am

Analysis: Like many of the suburban Des Moines schools, Johnston got a late start to the year, not playing their first game until after the holiday break. They shook off a shaky end to the regular-season in which they lost three of their last four games (albeit all to teams in this field – Waukee, Dowling and Ames) by blasting Linn-Mar in the semifinals and escaping with an overtime win over Kennedy in the substate final. North Dakota-bound senior guard Reid Grant Reid Grant 6'1" | PG Johnston | 2021 State IA (14.0) leads a guard-heavy lineup and he has really taken his offensive game up a level this year, shooting 50.8% from the arc. Junior guard Trey Lewis Trey Lewis 5'10" | PG Johnston | 2022 State IA (12.9) is a talented shooter who pairs well with Grant in the backcourt, and 6-5 junior wing Steven Kramer Steven Kramer 6'5" | SG Johnston | 2022 State IA (11.9) has carried the momentum from a huge summer with Kingdom Hoops into the high school season. His length and versatility on both ends is invaluable for the Dragons. Senior big Max Roquet Max Roquet 6'6" | C Johnston | 2021 State IA (8.1, 10.3 rebounds) is an animal on the glass, pulling down 4.9 offensive rebounds a game, and he’ll need to be key against a big, physical Dowling team.

No team in the state put together as many impressive wins as the Maroons did this year, as they were big-game hunters notching wins over Ames, Valley (twice), Centennial, Johnston and Council Bluffs Lincoln. A big, physical team, the Maroons are led by senior big Ryan Riggs Ryan Riggs 6'9" | PF Dowling Catholic | 2021 State IA (15.3, 65.3 FG%), a mobile forward who can control the game on both ends of the floor. Junior wing Matt Riedl Matt Riedl 6'2" | SF Dowling Catholic | 2021 State IA (12.6, 5.2 assists) has taken a major step up this season, emerging as a solid scorer and playmaker, and 6-10 stretch-five Jack Groeteke Jack Groeteke 6'9" | C Dowling Catholic | 2021 State IA (9.8, 42.7 3P%) is a big-time shooter with excellent size and length. In the Maroons win over Johnston a few weeks ago, they held the Dragons to just 29.6% from the floor, but gave up 14 offensive rebounds.

Players to watch
Johnston: Reid Grant Reid Grant 6'1" | PG Johnston | 2021 State IA (14.0 points, 3.9 assists, 51.4 FG%), 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, 54.5 FG%), Max Roquet Max Roquet 6'6" | C Johnston | 2021 State IA (8.1 points, 10.3 rebounds)
Dowling Catholic: Ryan Riggs Ryan Riggs 6'9" | PF Dowling Catholic | 2021 State IA (15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds), Matt Riedl Matt Riedl 6'2" | SF Dowling Catholic | 2021 State IA (12.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists), Jack Groeteke Jack Groeteke 6'9" | C Dowling Catholic | 2021 State IA (9.7 points, 42.7 3P%)

Our pick: Dowling Catholic 52, Johnston 48

 

Wolf

4A Quarterfinal: #1 Cedar Falls (19-0) vs. #8 Senior (12-8), 12:00 pm

Analysis: Cedar Falls has been the most dominant team in the state this year, beating teams by an average of 28 points a game and leading the state in scoring at 76.0 a night. A roster that is absolutely loaded with talent is headlined by future Northern Iowa teammates Landon Wolf Landon Wolf 6'5" | CG Cedar Falls | 2021 State IA (17.5, 47.4 3P%) and Chase Courbat Chase Courbat 6'9" | C Cedar Falls | 2021 State IA (11.1, 8.3 rebounds). Wolf is an elite shooter with the explosiveness to get by defenders and finish at the rim as well, and Courbat is the anchor of their fantastic defense. Junior lead guard Trey Campbell Trey Campbell 6'4" | PG Cedar Falls | 2022 State IA (14.4, 5.3 assists, 41.2 3P%) is enjoying a great junior season and recently picked up his own offer from Northern Iowa. That trio is joined in the starting lineup by a pair of Division II commits in Carter Janssen Carter Janssen 6'5" | SF Cedar Falls | 2021 State IA (10.2, 4.3 assists), headed to Upper Iowa; and Joe Knutson Joe Knutson 6'8" | PF Cedar Falls | 2021 State IA (7.1, 5.2 rebounds), who will go to Truman State. Throw in 6-8 sophomore wing Dallas Bear Dallas Bear 6'8" | SF Cedar Falls | 2023 State IA (5.5, 40.8 3P%), who picked up a D1 offer from Bryant before playing in a high school game, and junior Hunter Jacobson (4.7, 48.3 3P%), son of Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson, and the Tigers are absolutely loaded with talent. The Tigers won the regular-season meeting back on December 22, 61-48.

We had high expectations for Senior heading into the year, ranking them #7 in our preseason poll. They got off to a brutal 3-8 start before catching fire down the stretch and entering the tournament on a nine-game winning streak. The difference in their play has come on the defensive end, as they allowed 60.2 points a game during the 3-8 start, but that number has dropped to 48.2 during the streak. A deep and balanced team, four players average in double-figures, led by future Iowa State offensive lineman Jim Bonifas Jim Bonifas 6'5" | PF Senior | 2021 State IA (12.2). This group likes to throw a number of different defensive looks at opponents, and expect coach Wendell Eimers to come up with some sort of crazy game-plan to try and slow down Cedar Falls’ potent offense.

Players to watch
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, 4.3 assists, 46.9 3P%), Joe Knutson Joe Knutson 6'8" | PF Cedar Falls | 2021 State IA (7.1 points, 5.2 rebounds), Chase Courbat Chase Courbat 6'9" | C Cedar Falls | 2021 State IA (11.1 points, 8.3 rebounds), Dallas Bear Dallas Bear 6'8" | SF Cedar Falls | 2023 State IA (5.5 points, 40.8 3P%)
Senior: Jim Bonifas Jim Bonifas 6'5" | PF Senior | 2021 State IA (12.2 points, 6.5 rebounds), Cain McWilliams Cain McWilliams 5'10" | CG Senior | 2021 State IA (10.1 points), Max Link (10.0 points), Kendrick Watkins-Hogue Kendrick Watkins-Hogue 6'0" | SF Senior | 2021 State IA (10.1 points)

Our pick: Cedar Falls 66, Senior 54

 

Photo: Alex Conover Prep Hoops

4A Quarterfinal: #3 Ames (17-3) vs. #6 Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln (19-4), 2:00 pm

Analysis: Ames is an elite defensive team, allowing just 38.4 points a game, and they enter the tournament red-hot, winning 12 straight games. They’re led by 6-2 junior guard Tamin Lipsey Tamin Lipsey 6'1" | PG Ames | 2022 State #75 Nation IA (16.9, 4.9 assists), who established himself as one of the top 2022 prospects in the country as a freshman before losing his sophomore year with a torn ACL. A dynamic playmaker on both ends of the floor, Lipsey paces an offensive unit that likes to play at a slower pace and work to get good looks. Junior forward Trevion Labeaux Trevion Labeaux 6'3" | SF Ames | 2022 State IA (11.5) has given them a solid secondary scoring option, following his transfer from Waterloo East, while senior wing Keyshaun Brooks Keyshaun Brooks 6'1" | CG Ames | 2021 State IA (10.9, 44.9 3P%) is the team’s top perimeter shooting threat. 

The Lynx have lost just once to an Iowa team this year, a 66-62 loss to Dowling Catholic late in the regular season. Their other three losses came to out-of-state powers Blue Valley Northwest (KS) and the top two teams in Nebraska – Millard North and Bellevue West. Junior guard Josh Dix Josh Dix 6'5" | SG Council Bluffs Lincoln | 2022 State #250 Nation IA (19.4) is one of the most talented prospects in the state, a 6-5 guard who can completely dominate games on either end of the floor. He has an excellent feel for the game, letting the game come to him and knowing just the right time to take over. Fellow junior guard Jamison Gruber Jamison Gruber 6'1" | PG Council Bluffs Lincoln | 2022 State IA (11.9, 4.3 assists) is a solid lead guard, and frontcourt tandem of Christian Tidiane Christian Tidiane 6'4" | PF Council Bluffs Lincoln | 2021 State IA (7.6) and Noah Sandbothe (13.4) combine to pull down 14.7 rebounds and block 4 shots a game. The elite Ames defense will have their hands full in this one, and the Lipsey-Dix matchup will be well worth the price of admission.

Players to watch
Ames: Tamin Lipsey Tamin Lipsey 6'1" | PG Ames | 2022 State #75 Nation IA (16.9 points, 4.9 assists, 52.6 FG%), Trevion Labeaux Trevion Labeaux 6'3" | SF Ames | 2022 State IA (11.5 points), Keyshaun Brooks Keyshaun Brooks 6'1" | CG Ames | 2021 State IA (10.9 points, 44.9 3P%)
Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln: Josh Dix Josh Dix 6'5" | SG Council Bluffs Lincoln | 2022 State #250 Nation IA (19.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.4 steals), Noah Sandbothe (13.4 points, 6.8 rebounds), Jamison Gruber Jamison Gruber 6'1" | PG Council Bluffs Lincoln | 2022 State IA (11.9 points, 4.3 assists)

Our pick: Ames 52, Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln 50

 

DeVries

4A Quarterfinal: #2 Waukee (13-2) vs. #7 Pleasant Valley (19-3), 4:00 pm

Analysis: This is going to be the ultimate contrast in styles, as Waukee looks to use their size, length and talent to maximize possessions in a game, while Pleasant Valley loves to grind games to a halt. That will be easier said than done against this loaded Waukee roster. The Warriors came into the season as one of the most hyped teams in Iowa high school history, drawing comparisons to the Ames teams that featured Harrison Barnes and Doug McDermott. They suffered an upset loss against Johnston early in the year with Tucker DeVries Tucker DeVries 6'7" | SF Waukee | 2021 State #123 Nation IA sitting due to COVID contact tracing protocols. They’ve also lost to Nebraska power Bellevue West. DeVries (19.2, 46.8 3P%) leads a potent offensive attack that averages 67.8 points a game and shoots nearly 41% from the arc. The future Drake Bulldog has limitless range, and at 6-7 is nearly impossible to defend at this level. Iowa-bound Payton Sandfort Payton Sandfort 6'7" | SF Waukee | 2021 State #138 Nation IA (17.1, 47.1 3P%) is one of the smoothest players in the state, a strong all-around player who does everything well, while other regulars Pryce Sandfort Pryce Sandfort 6'4" | SF Waukee | 2023 State #140 Nation IA (7.7, 52.2 3P%) and Wyatt Heston Wyatt Heston 6'7" | SF Waukee | 2021 State IA (3.9, 43.8 3P%) are also fantastic shooters. This team is long and skilled, and they got bigger and more athletic with the addition of Dowling transfer Omaha Biliew Omaha Biliew 6'8" | SF Waukee | 2023 State #6 Nation IA (10.7, 3.3 blocks), who is one fo the top five prospects in the 2023 class nationally. Biliew’s ability to dominate games on the defensive end and protect the rim have been huge for the Warriors. 

Nobody in the state wants to play at a more deliberate pace than the Spartans, who are perfectly comfortable playing games that end in the 20s. In fact, their substate semifinal win over Bettendorf was a 21-19 win. Coach Steve Hillman does a great job getting his team to buy into this system, and the results speak for themselves, as they allow just 34 points a game and have held eight teams below 30 points this year. Senior wing Jacob Townsend Jacob Townsend 6'4" | SF Pleasant Valley | 2021 State IA (12.7) leads the team in scoring and is remarkably efficient, shooting 61.6% from the floor. Junior guard Ryan Dolphin Ryan Dolphin 5'8" | PG Pleasant Valley | 2022 State IA (10.9) is the other primary scoring threat. It’s hard to see them dictating the tempo in this one, as the length and talent of Waukee won’t allow it. 

Players to watch
Waukee: Tucker DeVries Tucker DeVries 6'7" | SF Waukee | 2021 State #123 Nation IA (19.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 46.8 3P%), Payton Sandfort Payton Sandfort 6'7" | SF Waukee | 2021 State #138 Nation IA (17.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 47.1 3P%), Omaha Biliew Omaha Biliew 6'8" | SF Waukee | 2023 State #6 Nation IA (10.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.3 blocks), Malik Allen Malik Allen 5'11" | PG Des Moines North | 2021 State IA (6.9 points), Pryce Sandfort Pryce Sandfort 6'4" | SF Waukee | 2023 State #140 Nation IA (7.7 points, 52.2 3P%)
Pleasant Valley: Jacob Townsend Jacob Townsend 6'4" | SF Pleasant Valley | 2021 State IA (12.7 points, 5.6 rebounds), Ryan Dolphin Ryan Dolphin 5'8" | PG Pleasant Valley | 2022 State IA (10.9 points, 3.1 assists)

Our pick: Waukee 64, Pleasant Valley 50

 

Hilmer

1A Semifinal: #1 North Linn (26-0) vs. #4 Martensdale-St. Marys (25-0), 6:00 pm

How they got here: Top-seeded North Linn had no issues in their quarterfinal meeting with South Winneshiek, routing the Warriors 77-53. Martensdale-St. Marys survived an overtime battle with Easton Valley, 51-45.

Analysis: Ball control will be key in this one for Martensdale-St. Marys, as North Linn likes to apply constant pressure and looks to create turnovers left and right to fuel their offense. The Blue Devils only turned it over 10 times in their overtime win over Easton Valley, but the Lynx speed and pressure is an entirely different animal. If they’re able to break the press, North Linn can be susceptible to giving up open looks from 3, an area that Martensdale-St. Marys can thrive in.

Austin Hilmer Austin Hilmer 5'11" | PG North Linn | 2022 State IA (17.8, 8.0 assists) paces a high-powered North Linn attack on both ends of the floor. The speedy junior guard is one of the best passers in the state, and his quickness will be tough for the Blue Devils guards to contend with. A lot will be asked of 6-4 sophomore big Tate Haughenbury (16.1, 6.3 rebounds) as well in this one, as he really needs to keep Trey Baker Trey Baker 6'4" | SF Martensdale-St. Mary's | 2021 State IA (13.5, 6.5 rebounds) off the glass. Baker pulled down 6 offensive rebounds in the Devils quarterfinal win, and that number can’t be repeated if the Lynx want to advance.

Players to watch
North Linn: Austin Hilmer Austin Hilmer 5'11" | PG North Linn | 2022 State IA (17.8 points, 8.0 assists, 3.8 steals), Tate Haughenbury (16.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 67.1 FG%), Dylan Kurt Dylan Kurt 6'3" | SF North Linn | 2022 State IA (14.3 points)
Martensdale-St. Marys: Trey Baker Trey Baker 6'4" | SF Martensdale-St. Mary's | 2021 State IA (13.5 points, 6.5 rebounds), Jack Franey Jack Franey 5'7" | PG Martensdale-St. Marys | 2021 State IA (11.0 points, 6.6 assists), Carson Elbert Carson Elbert 6'3" | SF Martensdale-St. Marys | 2021 State IA (12.0 points, 4.1 assists), Hogan Franey Hogan Franey 6'0" | CG Martensdale-St. Mary's | 2022 State IA (10.8 points, 39.5 3P%)

Our pick: North Linn 67, Martensdale-St. Marys 59

 

Shearer

1A Semifinal: #7 Montezuma (23-2) vs. #3 Grand View Christian (21-1), 8:00 pm

How they got here: Seventh-seeded Montezuma outlasted second-seed Lake Mills, 64-61, in overtime. Third-seed Grand View Christian overcame some dreadful free-throw shooting to escape with a 54-49 win over sixth-seeded Remsen, St. Mary’s.

Analysis: This is a good matchup for Montezuma, as the Braves can bomb away from behind the arc and stay away from Grand View Christian big man Daniel Tobiloba Daniel Tobiloba 7'0" | C Grand View Christian | 2023 State IA (10.3, 15.9 rebounds, 4.9 blocks), who impacts the game in a huge way in the paint with him rim protection. Senior guard Trey Shearer Trey Shearer 5'10" | PG Montezuma | 2021 State IA (25.4, 4.7 assists, 47.2 3P%) was great in the Braves quarterfinal win over Lake Mills, scoring 25 points and knocking down 5-8 from behind the arc. Running mate Cole Watts Cole Watts 5'10" | SG Montezuma | 2021 State IA (19.1, 49.7 3P%) is another knockdown shooter for Montezuma who will be a key factor in this matchup.

Grand View Christian really struggled from the free-throw line in the quarters, going just 10-29, and that will impact this game at some point. The Braves may struggle to contain junior guard Manny Hammonds Manny Hammonds 6'1" | SG Grand View Christian | 2022 State IA (20.1), a quick guard who thrives on getting to the rim. Montezuma’s 2-3 zone will need to try and contain his dribble penetration, and they may need to go a little deeper into their bench than they’re accustomed to and make the Thunder earn their points at the stripe.

Players to watch
Montezuma: Trey Shearer Trey Shearer 5'10" | PG Montezuma | 2021 State IA (25.4 points, 4.7 assists, 47.2 3P%), Cole Watts Cole Watts 5'10" | SG Montezuma | 2021 State IA (19.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 49.7 3P%), Eddie Burgess Eddie Burgess 6'4" | PF Montezuma | 2022 State IA (13.9 points, 12.7 rebounds)
Grand View Christian: Manny Hammonds Manny Hammonds 6'1" | SG Grand View Christian | 2022 State IA (20.1 points), Josh Baucum Josh Baucum 6'1" | PG Grand View Christian School | 2022 IA (15.4 points), Daniel Tobiloba Daniel Tobiloba 7'0" | C Grand View Christian | 2023 State IA (10.3 points, 15.9 rebounds, 4.9 blocks)

Our pick: Montezuma 62, Grand View Christian 56

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