Posted On: 08/16/21 8:00 AM

With July’s evaluation period now behind us, and plenty of time to kill between now and late November, it’s time to take a look at who we believe will be some of the teams to keep an eye on in each classification this winter. 

How well do these rankings predict what may happen over the course of the coming season? Well, of the 32 state tournament qualifying teams last year, we had 19 ranked in the top 10 in their respective classes, and another four written about in the “others to monitor” sections. The top-ranked teams in our preseason rankings all played for the state championship in their class, with 1A North Linn, 2A Boyden-Hull and 3A Ballard finishing runner-up, and 4A Waukee taking home the title. Our 1A #3 team, Montezuma, won the 1A championship, and our #2 team in 2A, Western Christian, also took home the crown. We were most successful in Class 4A, with our top four teams (Waukee, Cedar Falls, Ames, and Johnston) all making the semifinals, and six of the 10 ranked teams reaching the state tournament. So, while this isn’t the definitive list of how teams are going to perform this year, it’s certainly a good thing to find yourselves near the top of these initial rankings.

Below you’ll find our top 10 for Class 2A, along with some other teams that could make some noise, as well as a brief summary of why each team is in their respective spot. Enjoy.

 

Van Essen

1.) Western Christian (State champion, 22-5 last year, 82.3% of scoring returning)

The Wolfpack beat down-the-road rival Boyden-Hull to win the 2A championship last year, taking home a state record 10th state championship. The top three and five of the top six, scorers return, so this group has a very realistic chance to add another championship to that record haul. Senior forward Ty Van Essen Ty Van Essen 6'4" | PF Western Christian | 2022 State IA (16.9 points a game) is the headliner for this balanced group. He’s a 6-5 efficient scorer who posted 59-55-79 shooting splits last year and was dominant throughout the week at the state tournament. His versatility on the offensive end makes him a nearly impossible matchup at this level, and he’s far from alone. Fellow senior guards Wyatt Gulker Wyatt Gulker 6'3" | SG Western Christian | 2022 State IA (12.6) and Eli Van Essen Eli Van Essen 5'11" | SG Western Christian | 2022 State IA (9.8) provide additional shooting at 39.8% and 38.1%, respectively, while forward Brayden Van Meeteren (6.2) is a solid force in the paint. Junior guard Ashtin Van’t Hul Ashtin Van’t Hul 6'0" | PG Western Christian | 2023 State IA (5.6) was a bit of a breakout star at the state tournament, and fellow juniors Tate VanRegenmorter (2.7) and Chandler Pollema (2.0) each saw a decent amount of playing time last year. In Van Essen, this group has a star, and they have loads of depth, experience, talent, and shooting to put around him. Western Christian is the top program in 2A basketball, one of the best in the state, and they are without a doubt the team to beat this year in Class 2A.

 

Te Slaa

2.) Boyden-Hull (State runner-up, 26-1 last year, 52.7% of scoring returning)

Just 0.4 miles down the road from Western Christian lies Boyden-Hull High School. The Comets nearly went wire-to-wire as the top team in the state, before being knocked off by Western Christian in the championship game. Twenty-two of their 26 wins came by double digits, including an average margin of victory of 19.6 points in their five postseason games before the 2A title game. Led by senior wing Tanner Te Slaa Tanner Te Slaa 6'5" | SF Boyden-Hull | 2022 State #248 Nation IA (21.5), who recently committed to play his college ball at South Dakota State, Boyden-Hull will be the biggest threat to Western Christian’s reign at the top of this class. Te Slaa, a 6-5 wing, is the best player in the class, a versatile wing who can dominate games on both ends of the floor with efficiency. He’ll be tasked with taking on an even bigger scoring role this year following the graduation of Marcus Kelderman Marcus Kelderman 6'1" | SG Boyden-Hull | 2021 State IA , who averaged just under 18 points a game. Senior stretch-forward Bryan Zylstra Bryan Zylstra 6'2" | PF Boyden-Hull | 2022 State IA (7.6, 45.6 3P%) and senior guard Dylan Francis Dylan Francis 5'10" | SG Boyden-Hull | 2022 State IA (5.5, 54.5 3P%) provide a ton of shooting, but this group is going to need to replace a lot of production with some inexperienced faces. That said, Boyden-Hull is one of the best small-school programs in the state, and they don’t re-build, they re-load. In Te Slaa, they have the most dominant player in the class, and they have some experienced shooters around him.

 

Mackie

3.) Aplington-Parkersburg (State semifinalist, 22-4 last year, 73.1% of scoring returning)

No player had a bigger state tournament than Aplington-Parkersburg’s senior guard Jayden Mackie Jayden Mackie 6'2" | PG Aplington-Parkersburg | 2022 State IA (14.4), who erupted for 34 points on 13-14 shooting in their quarterfinal win over Van Meter, and finished with 21 on 9-17 in their semifinal loss to Boyden-Hull. The Upper Iowa commit is a gifted scorer and facilitator who has worked hard on his jumper, and it showed during his state tournament outburst. The Falcons bring back four of their top five scorers from that state semifinalist, and they’ll be a real threat to Western Christian with their firepower. Junior guard Garrett Hempen Garrett Hempen 6'1" | PG Aplington-Parkersburg | 2023 State IA (12.2) and sophomore Gavin Thomas Gavin Thomas 6'0" | SG Aplington-Parkersburg | 2024 State IA (9.4) give the Falcons a dynamic trio in the backcourt, filled with shooting and offensive firepower. Christian Haugstad Christian Haugstad 6'7" | C Aplington-Parkersburg | 2022 State IA (8.4, 7.3 rebounds) provides size and rebounding in the paint, while Elijah Switzer (4.8), Cooper Hoff (2.7), and Kael Schoneman (1.1) provide additional experience and shooting. Mackie is without a doubt the headliner, but Thomas and Hempen are both explosive scoring threats as well. As always, the Falcons are going to be deep and filled with scoring threats. The question for this group will be whether or not they can defend well enough to make it to Championship Friday.

 

4.) Rock Valley (17-6 last year, 80.4% of scoring returning)

Surprise, surprise, another powerful 2A team from northwest Iowa. The Rockets were really close to being one of the elite teams in 2A last year, with three of their six losses coming by a single point. They bring back all three of their double-figure scorers, Landyn Van Kekerix Landyn Van Kekerix 5'11" | SG Rock Valley | 2022 State IA (16.6), Bryson Van Grootheest Bryson Van Grootheest 6'0" | CG Rock Valley | 2022 State IA (16.5), and Sam Remmerde Sam Remmerde 6'3" | PF Rock Valley | 2022 State IA (10.7). This trio of seniors has been playing together for a long time and has built up a lot of trust and familiarity with each other. Van Kekerix and Van Grootheest are both big-time scorers who can fill it up from all three levels. Neither of them shot it as well as they’re capable of last year, so a little bit of regression to the mean could be in store. Remmerde is a versatile 6-3 forward who can defend multiple positions and score inside and out. Dawson Van Beek (8.0), Caleb Kats (5.2), Brycen Zomer (3.4), Ryan Strait (2.8), and Brayan Gonzalez (2.0) all gained plenty of experience last season and should be key role players this season. The Rockets have one of the best “Big Threes” in the class, and that trio is going to win a lot of games. There are a few things standing in their way – will they be placed with Boyden-Hull or Western Christian again in postseason play? And can they defend well enough to beat those teams if they are? 

 

Mulder

5.) Pella Christian (12-12 last year, 91.0% of scoring returning)

Playing in the 3A-dominant Little Hawkeye Conference, Pella Christian’s record is never going to be as sterling as the rest of their competition in 2A, but that doesn’t mean this team isn’t dangerous. All five starters return, and eight of their nine key rotation players are back. The headliner for this group is the rapidly developing big man, 6-9 senior Eric Mulder Eric Mulder 6'8" | PF Pella Christian | 2022 State IA (14.2, 9.5 rebounds). Mulder, a versatile and mobile big, had a huge summer with Kingdom Hoops, his first year playing grassroots ball, and it led to a Division I offer from IPFW. His development and improved confidence will go a long way towards making the Eagles one of the best teams in 2A. There aren’t many teams that can deal with his blend of size, athleticism, and skill. The Eagles will flank him with a number of talented perimeter options, led by lead guard Levi Schelhaas Levi Schelhaas 5'9" | PG Pella Christian | 2022 State IA (12.6). He led the team in assists last year, and if he and the rest of his cohorts can cut down on the turnovers a bit, this could be a potent offensive team. Niko Schirz (7.3), Jaedon Huisman (6.7), Lucas Hol (6.4), Bennett Spronk (4.2), Daniel Andringa (2.4), and Aiden Stoltz (2.0) are all returning with valuable experience. And look for senior forward EJ Fransman EJ Fransman 6'7" | PF Pella Christian | 2022 State IA (1.2), a 6-8 forward with plenty of length, to become a contributor this year as well. He played well at the Winterset Shootout in June, and looks primed to play a role. The Eagles don’t have much perimeter shooting (31.3% as a team from 3 last year), and that could be what holds them back, but they’re going to be deep, tested, and experienced.

 

Erwin

6.) Camanche (State qualifier, 18-7 last year, 49.1% of scoring returning)

Coach Josh Davis has built the newly named Storm into a bit of a powerhouse in northeast Iowa, averaging 20.2 wins a game over the last six seasons with three state tournament appearances. They’ll have a great chance at adding a fourth appearance to that resume this year, behind the strength of senior wing Zach Erwin Zach Erwin 6'4" | SF Camanche | 2022 State IA (15.0). Erwin, a do-it-all, 6-4 wing, stuffs the stat sheet and is one of the better defenders in the class. His ability to score from all three levels, get others involved, hit the glass, and defend the opposing team’s best players makes him invaluable. The Storm lose a pair of double-figure scorers in Jordan Lawrence Jordan Lawrence 5'10" | PG Camanche | 2021 State IA and Zayne Feller Zayne Feller 6'7" | PF Camanche | 2021 State IA , but bring back four other players who saw a lot of action last season in Mike Delzell Mike Delzell 6'0" | SF Camanche | 2022 State IA (7.3), Zane Witt Zane Witt 6'7" | PF Camanche | 2023 State IA (5.6), Adam Dunlap Adam Dunlap 6'2" | SF Camanche | 2022 State IA (5.4) and Tucker Dickherber Tucker Dickherber 5'10" | PG Camanche | 2022 State IA (3.8). If you’re looking for a player to make a major leap this year, look no further than Witt. The 6-8 junior big man had a great summer with the Iowa Mavericks on both ends of the floor and looks primed to have a huge year with more opportunity. He’s mobile, switchable, protects the rim, and has really developed his offensive game. Dunlap is an athletic wing who can be a terror on the break, Delzell does a bit of everything and is a physical presence on the perimeter, and Dickherber is a strong lead guard who protects the ball and makes an impact defensively. The Storm have a number of talented, athletic options, and Davis has done a nice job building up their youth programs as well, so there will certainly be some players we don’t even know about yet making an impact as well.

 

7.) Van Meter (State qualifier, 17-7 last year, 85.1% of scoring returning)

The Bulldogs qualified for their fourth state tournament in the last five years last season, and have turned into one of the best athletic programs in the small-school classes. Last year was their worst defensive season in a while, and they still allowed just 48.0 points a game. That’s where they win their games, by being excellent and disciplined on that end of the floor. They bring back their top three, and nine of their top 10 scorers, from last year’s roster, led by a trio of double-figure scoring seniors in guards Chris Schreck Chris Schreck 5'10" | PG Van Meter | 2022 State IA (13.0) and Casey Trudo Casey Trudo 6'2" | SF Van Meter | 2022 State IA (10.6), and big man Clark Fiala Clark Fiala 6'4" | C Van Meter | 2022 State IA (11.1). Schreck is the focal point of their attack on both ends of the floor, a quick lead guard who scores and facilitates, and is a pest on the ball defensively. Fiala is the eraser at the backend of the defense, blocking 2.5 shots a game, and Trudo is a versatile scoring threat. This trio of seniors is joined by a slew of talented juniors – Carter Durflinger (6.1), Skyler Yazzie Skyler Yazzie 6'4" | SF Van Meter | 2023 State IA (4.4), Ben Gilliland (2.7), Aydn Netten Aydn Netten 6'3" | SF Van Meter | 2023 State IA (2.3), Michael Banks (1.5), and Gus Rosener (1.2). Yazzie and Netten in particular were impressive during the summer, and look like they’re ready to step into bigger roles. With nine rotation players back, the ’Dogs are going to be loaded with experience and talent. They’ve struggled at times when they get to the state tournament to score, and this group should be the most prepared to overcome that obstacle this season. 

 

8.) Central Lyon (16-7 last year, 94.5% of scoring returning)

The youthful Lions really started to come together and play great ball late last season, going 12-4 after the holiday break, including a nine-game winning streak from January 22 to February 15. The top seven scorers from that group return, led by junior do-it-all guard Zach Lutmer Zach Lutmer 6'1" | PG Central Lyon | 2023 IA (20.4). Also a standout football player, Lutmer posted 58-45-69 shooting splits last season while leading the team in every major statistical category. In senior guards Mason Gerleman Mason Gerleman 6'0" | SG Central Lyon | 2022 State IA (13.1, 47.1 3P%) and Jace Schrick (5.2, 41.9%), they can put a ton of shooting alongside Lutmer, which makes this offensive deadly. With Lutmer’s ability to break down a defense and get to the rim, then kick out to open shooters, Central Lyon could be one of the most potent attacks in the state this season. Cooper Spiess (10.2) is an efficient scorer inside the arc, and Reece Vander Zee (5.7), Andrew Austin (3.1), and Cam Montag (2.5) each saw a lot of playing time last year. Lutmer is a star, and this is a well-built team with a lot of scoring threats and shooting. Playing in the loaded Siouxland Conference, they’ll be well-tested come postseason time, and they’ll have the weapons to potentially upset Western Christian, Rock Valley, or Boyden-Hull, at least one of which they will almost certainly be paired with.

 

Witty

9.) Des Moines Christian (State semifinalist, 22-3 last year, 32.6% of scoring returning)

Des Moines Christian has been the model of consistency over the last 15 years (the QuikStats/VarsityBound era), having never won fewer than 16 games during that stretch. They’ve posted a 314-46 record (87.2% winning percentage) during those 15 seasons. So, despite the fact that they lose four starters and only bring back two players of note, the Lions will be heard from yet again. It’s just what this program does. They’ve got a great piece to build around in senior wing Adam Witty Adam Witty 6'2" | SF Des Moines Christian | 2022 State IA (14.5). A big, physical wing, he does a majority of his damage inside the arc, using his strength to bully his way to the rim for tough finishes, but he’s capable of knocking down jumpers and getting others involved as well. His physicality on both ends of the floor will set the tone for the Lions this season. Sophomore guard Landon Craven Landon Craven 6'1" | SG Des Moines Christian | 2024 State IA (2.8) was a key role player last season, knocking down just under 36% of his 3-point attempts off the bench, and he should emerge as a primary perimeter scoring threat. Elliott Flynn (2.2), Josh Shank (1.9), and Micah Brandenburg (1.8) each saw some action last year, and look for junior wing Carsen Theis Carsen Theis 6'1" | SG Des Moines Christian | 2023 State IA (0.9) to step into a much larger role this year. He had a strong summer shooting the ball for the Lions, and could provide some much needed perimeter shooting. Like Western Christian and Treynor in this class, DMC is always going to be dangerous. They re-load, they don’t re-build. 

 

Gallagher

10.) Beckman Catholic (State qualifier, 16-8 last year, 50.5% of scoring returning)

When leading scorer Mason White Mason White 6'0" | SG Beckman Catholic | 2021 State IA went down shortly after the holiday break with what looked like a season-ending knee injury, the Blazers season, which at one point looked like it had a chance to be special, appeared to be in peril. Enter Padraig Gallagher Padraig Gallagher 6'4" | SF Beckman Catholic | 2023 State IA (13.6). The junior-to-be wing stepped up his scoring, taking over games for the Blazers, using his long 6-5 frame to score from all three levels at an efficient clip and keep the Blazers afloat. White came back during postseason play to give Beckman some shooting off the bench, but it was Gallagher and crew that took the Blazers to the state tournament. With another year of varsity experience, improved ball-handling, and increased confidence, Gallagher could emerge as one of the best pure scorers in 2A this year. Senior guards Logan Goedken Logan Goedken 6'0" | PG Beckman Catholic | 2022 State IA (8.5, 4.0 assists) and Logan Burchard (3.2) also return, giving Beckman a solid trio on the perimeter. They’ll need to find some size following the graduations of Jack Gehling Jack Gehling 6'4" | PF Beckman Catholic | 2021 State IA and Jacob Hermsen, but the perimeter trio will be really strong. Gallagher will be one of the best players in the class, and Beckman is going to be tested in their final year in the predominantly 3A WaMaC, so they’ll be ready when postseason play hits.

 

Ten more teams to watch

*Teams appear in alphabetical order*

 

ACGC (17-6 last year, 47.7% of scoring returning)

The Chargers posted their best season since 2012-13, when they won 20 games. Their 17 wins last season were more than the previous two seasons combined (16), and despite the fact that they graduated a pair of double-figure scorers, things are still looking pretty bright in the program. Senior guard Miles Kading Miles Kading 5'10" | PG ACGC | 2022 State IA (11.2) led the team in assists last season, and is coming off a big summer scoring the ball. He looks primed to step into the primary scoring role for the Chargers this year. Junior Ben Marsh (8.0) and senior Charlie Crawford (6.3) were key players last year and have plenty of experience. If they can get some quality production out of the new faces that will be joining the rotation, they’ll be formidable again.

 

Cardinal (11-10 last year, 79.7% of scoring returning)

Cardinal has been trending upward over the last few seasons, winning 10 games in the 2019-20 season, and 11 last year. With seven of their top eight scorers returning, this could be their major breakthrough year. They return four double-figure scorers in seniors Landon Becker Landon Becker 6'1" | SG Cardinal | 2022 State IA (16.7), Griffin Greiner Griffin Greiner 6'1" | CG Cardinal | 2022 State IA (12.7), Blaine Bryant Blaine Bryant 5'11" | SG Cardinal | 2022 State IA (11.1), and Dawson Lewis Dawson Lewis 6'4" | SF Cardinal | 2022 State IA (11.0), giving them a load of versatile scoring options. Becker played in just three games last year due to injury, but he’s a big-time scorer who can fill it up from all three levels, and you can bet the Comets would’ve won a few more games last season if he had been healthy. Bryant is a great shooter (41.1 3P%), while Lewis is an athletic, slashing wing. Greiner is a solid forward who scores around the bucket and is a solid passer. Sophomore guards Keysean Moore Keysean Moore 6'0" | PG Cardinal | 2024 State IA (5.5) and Rahsha Pope (3.2) both had productive freshmen years and will provide some additional scoring punch. The Comets will be deep and versatile, and they could surprise some people this year. 

 

Central Decatur (13-8 last year, 100.0% of scoring returning)

Everyone returns for the Cardinals, who won 13 games last season, and half of their eight losses came by 10 points or fewer. They’ll be led by the dynamic backcourt duo of Trey Hullinger (13.8) and Matthew Boothe Matthew Boothe 6'0" | CG Central Decatur | 2022 State IA (13.5), a pair of experienced senior guards who can each do a little bit of everything on the floor. Look for junior forward Jack Scrivner Jack Scrivner 6'2" | PF Central Decatur | 2023 State IA (8.8, 2.6 blocks) and senior forward Cauy Masters (9.5, 7.7 rebounds) to hold down the paint and for sophomore guard Sam Boothe (2.9) to step into a bigger scoring role to take some of the pressure off of Hullinger and Boothe. As with any team that brings back everyone, this team is loaded with experience, and another year of improvement should lead to even more wins this year.

 

Estherville Lincoln Central (9-13 last year, 60.6% of scoring returning)

Seven of the Midgets’ 13 losses last year came by single digits, and they bring back one of the best lead guards in the state in sophomore Owen Larson Owen Larson 6'0" | PG Estherville Lincoln Central | 2024 State IA (12.0). A smart point guard who is equally adept at scoring or facilitating, Larson will be one of the best players in 2A this year. Adrian Vaughn (10.2), another double-figure scorer, also returns. He was the team’s best 3-point shooting threat last year and is a nice complement to Larson in the backcourt. Ryan Schlitz (8.5) is also back on the perimeter. They’ll need to find someone to man the paint and control the glass following the graduations of their top two rebounders, but Larson is good enough to keep this team afloat while the rest of the new faces get accustomed to major varsity minutes. After playing in 3A last year, they’ll drop down to 2A for postseason play this year.

 

Mid-Prairie (15-8 last year, 79.1% of scoring returning)

Four of the Golden Hawks’ losses came by four points or fewer, and with five of their top six scorers returning, they should be able to turn some of those close losses into wins. Senior wing Carter Harmsen Carter Harmsen 6'5" | SF Mid-Prairie | 2022 State IA (18.3) is a do-it-all matchup problem at 6-5/6-6. He can score inside and out, get to the bucket, post up smaller defenders, and he’s a really good and willing passer who makes the players around him better. Alex Bean Alex Bean 6'1" | PG Mid-Prairie | 2023 State IA (9.5, 37.3 3P%) is a solid shooting threat on the perimeter, while senior forward Ethan Kos (7.1) is a physical presence in the paint. Will Cavanagh (5.0, 35.5 3P%) is a capable shooter, and senior lead guard Jackson Pennington Jackson Pennington 5'10" | PG Mid-Prairie | 2022 State IA (4.3, 4.4 assists) isn’t a major scoring threat, but he’s a true lead guard who thrives on getting others involved and protects the ball. Harmsen will be one of the most dynamic players in the class, and with all the experience Mid-Prairie has back, they should be considered one of the favorites in the RVC, and given a decent draw, they could certainly be a  threat to make it to the state tournament. 

 

Roland-Story (17-4 last year, 47.5% of scoring returning)

The Norsemen were one of the most pleasant surprises last year, getting out to a quick 11-0 start. They lose a lot of production off of that group but bring back a pair of strong pieces to build around in sophomore wing Jonovan Wilkinson Jonovan Wilkinson 6'2" | SF Roland-Story | 2024 State IA (11.0, 6.7 rebounds) and junior forward Luke Patton Luke Patton 6'5" | PF Roland-Story | 2023 State IA (7.5, 6.2 rebounds). Wilkinson is a fantastic athlete with great length who can fill it up from all three levels and is the type of player who looks primed to emerge as one of the best all-around players in the class as early as this year. Patton had a strong summer, showing the ability to dominate in the paint and stretch the floor. Role players Isaiah Naylor (4.9), Will Bunn (3.2), and Kale Lande (3.1) return and will need to step into bigger roles, but the reason to keep an eye on this group is the presumed development and improvement of Wilkinson and Patton. They’ll be what makes this group go.

 

Treynor (19-5 last year, 26.0% of scoring returning)

It doesn’t matter how much production needs to be replaced, Treynor is always going to be formidable. The Cardinals program is one of the best in 2A, averaging 20.8 wins a year over the last 15 seasons, so despite the fact that the top three, and four of the top five scorers, have graduated, this group is going to be solid. Senior guard Thomas Schwartz Thomas Schwartz 6'0" | PG Treynor | 2022 State IA (8.7) is the top returnee, a solid lead guard who dished out 5.4 assists a game last season. Junior forward Ethan Dickerson (3.1), senior wing Davin Rucker (2.7), and sophomore guard Jace Tams (2.4) are the only other returnees who saw significant playing time, but Treynor is always good, and until they prove otherwise, we’ll expect this group to churn out wins.

 

West Branch (19-3 last year, 40.7% of scoring returning)

Like Roland-Story, West Branch was a bit of a pleasant surprise last year, getting out to a 12-0 start and losing a heartbreaker to Beckman Catholic in the substate final. The Bears lose their top two scorers, and most of the beef, from last year’s team, but bring back some talented perimeter options in Thomas Gould (9.6), Holden Arnaman Holden Arnaman 6'1" | PG West Branch | 2024 State IA (5.6), Peyton Miller (5.1), and Brady Knoop (2.5). Arnaman was a starter for this group last year as a freshman, and the lead guard will be the focal point of this program for the next three years. He’s a talented guard who can score or facilitate, and he’s a quality defender as well. Look for his production to skyrocket this year, as they’ll need to find some additional scoring punch. Gould is an experienced option on the perimeter, and will likely be the team’s go-to scoring option, while Miller and Knoop have some valuable experience. All of the size is gone, but the Bears always find a few football players to step in and provide some physicality and rebounding.

 

West Sioux (11-12 last year, 95.7% of scoring returning)

After making their first state tournament in the 2019-20 season, some drop-off was expected, as a large majority of that production graduated. The Falcons still clawed their way to 11 wins, and should be one of the most improved teams in 2A this winter. A pair of double-figure scorers return in junior guard Mason Coppock Mason Coppock 6'0" | SG West Sioux | 2023 State IA (13.4) and senior wing Blake Van Ballegooyen (11.4). In all, only 58 points from last year’s roster is gone, so this group is going to be loaded with experience. They were competitive against some very good teams last year, and with the additional year of experience, many of them playing varsity minutes for the first time last year, they should be much improved. Alongside Coppock and Van Ballegooyen, five role players who averaged between 4.3 and 8.0 points a game last year return, giving them a lot of returning firepower.

 

Williamsburg (10-11 last year, 59.2% of scoring returning)

Four of the top five scorers return for the Raiders, led by sophomore wing Derek Weisskopf Derek Weisskopf 6'3" | SG Williamsburg | 2024 State IA (13.8). He’s one of the best players in the 2024 class around the state, and a big reason why Williamsburg is going to be a dangerous team for the next several years. A gifted wing who can score from all three levels, he’s a physically imposing player on both ends of the floor who is coming off a strong summer with Martin Brothers. Will DeSmet (8.6), Jake Weber Jake Weber 5'10" | PG Williamsburg | 2022 State IA (8.4), and Ethan Harman (5.9) also return, giving this group plenty of experience. DeSmet is an efficient interior scorer, while Weber is one of the better lead guards in the area; an efficient scoring threat who takes good care of the ball. Look for improved production out of Harman, who posted 59-42-84 shooting splits last year, albeit on limited attempts.