Posted On: 08/25/21 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 3A, 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.

 

Allen

1.) Pella (State champion, 25-2 last year, 57.7% of scoring returning)

The Dutch were dominant last year en route to their third state championship in school history, with only seven of their wins coming by single digits. Always a powerful offensive team, last year was no different, as they averaged 69.6 points a game. Three of the top four scorers return, led by senior wing Karl Miller Karl Miller 6'4" | SF Pella | 2022 State IA (15.7 points a game) and guard Noah Allen Noah Allen 5'10" | PG Pella | 2022 State IA (12.3). That duo combined to shoot 124-291 (42.6%) from behind the arc, giving the Dutch a pair of big-time shooting threats to build around. Senior wing Parker Elder Parker Elder 6'4" | SF Pella | 2022 State IA (7.2) is a freak athlete with a skill set that is catching up to his elite athleticism and frame. He’s a major asset on the defensive end of the floor, using his length to play passing lanes and contest shots. Preston Rowe (3.7), Romon Hugan Romon Hugan 6'2" | SF Pella | 2024 State IA (2.6), and Keegan Hansen (2.3) are key returnees, while sophomore Luke Hardman Luke Hardman 6'0" | SF Pella | 2024 State IA (1.4) should become a key contributor this year. Pella is always loaded with athletes that can fly all over the floor and create turnovers left and right, and this year’s team is going to be electric from behind the arc. The defending champions are the #1 team in the class until they are dethroned, and this group is going to be difficult to knock off with their shooting, athleticism, depth, and versatility. 

 

Glasgow

2.) Dallas Center-Grimes (State qualifier, 20-4 last year, 62.0% of scoring returning)

Athletic senior guard Cole Glasgow Cole Glasgow 6'3" | SG Dallas Center-Grimes | 2022 State IA (16.6) has stockpiled mid-major offers this summer, and now holds offers from UMKC, Toledo, St. Thomas, North Dakota State, South Dakota, and South Dakota State. Glasgow has the ability to drop 25-30 points on any given night at a highly efficient clip, and with his athleticism, size, and skill set, he’s a really difficult matchup. Senior guard Bo Huston Bo Huston 5'10" | SG Dallas Center-Grimes | 2022 State IA (12.2, 52.2 3P%) is an elite shooter who benefitted by playing alongside Glasgow and Luke Rankin Luke Rankin 5'10" | PG Dallas Center-Grimes | 2021 State IA last year, and who has improved over the summer as a playmaker. The Mustangs add Johnston transfer Jacob Runyan Jacob Runyan 5'9" | PG Dallas Center-Grimes | 2022 State IA to the lineup this year, which will help offset the loss of Rankin. Runyan is a true lead guard who thrives on getting others involved. He should be able to get Glasgow and Huston plenty of open looks. Seniors Jackson Jones Jackson Jones 6'3" | SG Dallas Center Grimes | 2022 IA (5.2), Troy Peitzman (2.1), and Blake Perrin (1.8) are quality role players with experience, and there are some younger players who should step into complementary roles this year. The Glasgow-Huston-Runyan backcourt will be dynamic and should win the Mustangs plenty of games. 

 

Hermann

3.) Ballard (State runner-up, 25-2 last year, 42.8% of scoring returning)

The Bombers were absolutely dominant last season, nearly going wire-to-wire as the #1 team in 3A and beating teams by an average of 27 points a game. A highly efficient offensive team that shot 49.7% from the floor during the year, they were held to just 36.2% in the 3A championship game against Pella, which led to their runner-up finish. But it was still a remarkable season for Ballard, and they should be among the chief contenders in 3A again this year, despite losing some big-time contributors in Connor Drew Connor Drew 6'6" | PF Ballard | 2021 State IA and Mason Murphy Mason Murphy 5'9" | PG Ballard | 2021 State IA , as well as role players Isaiah Peasley and Sam Petersen. They do bring back one of the best players in 3A in senior guard Ashton Hermann Ashton Hermann 6'4" | SG Ballard | 2022 State IA (16.2, 3.3 steals), an absolute dynamo on both ends of the floor who is one of the quickest players in the state. He turns defense into offense in the blink of an eye, and should be one of the top scorers in the class as a senior. Also returning is senior big man Kale Krogh Kale Krogh 6'6" | C Ballard | 2022 State IA (7.3). Krogh, who has signed to play football at Iowa, is a big, physical, and athletic forward who controls the paint on both ends of the floor. With Drew gone, look for Krogh to be a double-double machine this year. Jacob Ihle (3.4), Colby Calvert (2.6), and Jaren Njos (2.0) all saw significant playing time last year with all of the blowout wins the Bombers had, and that experience will be beneficial for them this year. Expect to see sophomore wing Nolan Cogdill Nolan Cogdill 6'6" | SF Ballard | 2024 State IA , a 6-5 wing who can be a really good defender, and junior guard Mason Gorsh Mason Gorsh 6'2" | SG Ballard | 2023 State IA , a 6-1 shooter, to become key contributors for the Bombers this year as well. Hermann is dynamic, Krogh is a beast, and they have enough experience back to keep them afloat until some of the new faces gain some experience. Ballard won’t be as dominant as last year’s special group was, but they should be very, very good again.

 

Booth

4.) Carroll (22-3 last year, 46.3% of scoring returning)

One of only two teams to hand Ballard a loss last year, the Tigers briefly reached the #1 spot in 3A last year after getting off to a 12-0 start. With two of their top three scorers returning, they’ll have a real chance at getting to their first state tournament since 2010. Senior guards Kaleb Booth Kaleb Booth 6'1" | SG Carroll | 2022 State IA (15.2, 44.6 3P%) and Nick Macke Nick Macke 5'10" | SG Carroll | 2022 State IA (10.0, 41.2 3P%) are dynamic scorers and shooters who were excellent at the Winterset Shootout in June. Both are capable of taking over games and dominating on both ends of the floor. Fellow seniors Ethan Lengeling (3.3), Logan Fricke (2.4) and Caden Kock (2.1) are solid role players who saw significant time last year, and they’ll be relied upon while the new faces get accustomed to larger roles. Booth and Macke are the reason for this lofty ranking, and they should lead the Tigers to a lot of wins, and possibly a state tournament appearance.

 

Toebe

5.) Clear Lake (State qualifier, 22-3 last year, 56.1% of scoring returning)

The Lions have become the model of consistency lately, averaging 22 wins a year over the last three seasons with a pair of state tournament appearances. The common thread among those three teams? Senior guard Carson Toebe Carson Toebe 6'3" | PG Clear Lake | 2022 State IA (19.0). Toebe is an elite shot making guard who can also get others involved, and with his size and strength, he can bully his way to the rim or pull up off the dribble and burn teams with his jumper. Joe Faber Joe Faber 6'0" | SG Clear Lake | 2022 State IA (5.7) is a solid perimeter shooter and role player, and junior lead guard Travaughn Luyobya Travaughn Luyobya 5'10" | PG Clear Lake | 2023 State IA (4.7, 5.6 assists) emerged as a highly effective guard who values possessions last year. He’s not a major threat to score, but with his quickness and court vision, he’s a menace on both ends of the floor. Jagger Schmitt (4.1) is the other key returnee. They’ll need to find someone to contribute on the glass following the graduations of Andrew Formanek Andrew Formanek 6'6" | PF Clear Lake | 2021 State IA and Eric Ritter, who combined to average 19.2 rebounds a game. Toebe is a fantastic piece to build around, and with him, Faber, and Luyobya returning, the Lions have a dynamic trio of perimeter threats. They should pile up the wins in the North Central Conference and if they can find an interior presence, they’ll have a real chance and their third state tournament in the last four years. 

 

Laube

6.) Marion (14-8 last year, 59.9% of scoring returning)

Junior guard Brayson Laube Brayson Laube 6'2" | PG Marion | 2023 State IA (15.5) has emerged as one of the best players in Iowa’s 2023 class, and he’ll lead a Wolves team that is looking to get back to the state tournament for the third time since 2018. Laube, a 44% 3-point shooter, is one of the best shooters in the state, has grown up to about 6-2/6-3, and turned himself into a player that Midwest mid-majors are looking strongly at. Senior wing Cael Hodges Cael Hodges 6'0" | SG Marion | 2022 State IA (8.7) and junior guard Alex Mota (7.7) also return for Marion, giving them a really strong trio to build around. Mota is a fantastic athlete who is garnering Division I football interest, while Hodges is an experienced wing who can score from all three levels and defend. They’ll rely on players like Boede Rahe (3.0, 3.5 rebounds) to provide some rebounding and interior defense. Laube will be one of the best players in 3A this season, and Marion has turned into a pretty strong program that values defense.

 

7.) Spencer (14-8 last year, 82.9% of scoring returning)

Six of the Tigers’ eight losses came by single digits, with four of them coming by a single possession. The top two, and six of the top seven, scorers return, led by senior wing Karter Petzenhauser Karter Petzenhauser 6'4" | SG Spencer | 2022 State IA (23.1), one of the state’s elite scoring threats. A gifted three-level scorer, Petzenhauser has the ability to explode for 40 points on any given night, which makes the Tigers dangerous on a nightly basis. Evan Schmidt (9.4, 6.2 rebounds) provides some physicality and rebounding, while Owen Olson (6.7, 42.9 3P%) is a knockdown shooter who complements Petzenhauser well. Riley DeWitt (4.4), Evan Johnson (4.3), and Devin Dirkx (2.9) are solid role players who saw plenty of playing time last year and will be relied upon on both ends of the floor. This team was close to being a 18-19 win team last year, and with the experience they have coming back, they should be among the best teams in 3A this year. 

 

Farmer

8.) Waverly-Shell Rock (12-11 last year, 65.8% of scoring returning)

The Go-Hawks got off to a really strong 7-1 start last year that included impressive wins over Marion and Xavier. They followed that up with a six-game losing streak, with each loss coming by 10 or fewer points, and in total last year, five of their losses came by four points or less. They were close to having a typical strong W-SR year, but just couldn’t quite get over the hump in some of those tight contests. They lose rim-protecting extraordinaire Caleb Burks Caleb Burks 6'6" | C Waverly-Shell Rock | 2021 State IA to graduation, but bring back their next four scorers from last year’s team in Keaton Farmer Keaton Farmer 6'2" | CG Waverly-Shell Rock | 2022 State IA (11.7, 40.0 3P%), Hogan Hansen Hogan Hansen 6'3" | SF Waverly-Shell Rock | 2022 State IA (9.8), Cole Marsh (9.2), and Asa Newsom Asa Newsom 6'3" | SF Waverly-Shell Rock | 2023 State IA (8.4), giving them plenty of scoring options and experience coming back. Hansen led the team with 4.7 assists a game last year, and if he can help clean up some of the turnover problems from last season (the Go-Hawks turned it over 15 times a game), that will go a long way towards turning some of those close losses into wins. Farmer is a lights-out shooter, while Marsh is a talented scoring guard coming off a really productive freshman season. Newsom is a great athlete on the wing who can contribute across the board and provide some defensive versatility. One of the best programs in 3A, look for the Go-Hawks to get back into the 16-19 win range this season and be a real threat to make some noise come February with their multitude of scoring options.

 

Gurwell

9.) Winterset (13-10 last year, 92.2% of scoring returning)

It was a tale of three seasons last year for the Huskies. They got off to a slow start before the holiday break, going just 2-4 before the hiatus. They came out of the break hot, winning 10 of 11, with the lone loss coming to 3A runner-up Ballard. And then they stumbled down the stretch, losing five of their last six games. The talent is there for this to be a really good team, especially on the offensive end. Three double-figure scorers return in seniors Levi Gurwell Levi Gurwell 6'0" | SG Winterset | 2022 State IA (16.5), Dawson Forgy Dawson Forgy 5'11" | PG Winterset | 2022 State IA (11.3), and Nathan Avery Nathan Avery 6'3" | SF Winterset | 2022 State IA (10.6), and talented junior guard Brayden Dinkla Brayden Dinkla 5'10" | PG Winterset | 2023 State IA (6.7) also returns. Gurwell is a really talented scorer with great footwork and the ability to create his own shot. Forgy is a quick, physical lead guard who is also a standout running back on the gridiron, and he uses that physicality to bully his way into the paint, while Avery is a capable stretch forward who has improved his jumper. Dinkla is a capable lead ball-handler who can take some of the pressure off of Forgy, and is improving his stroke to play off the ball. Look for improved production out of junior forward Charlie McDonald Charlie McDonald 6'2" | SF Winterset | 2023 State IA (1.9), who could emerge as a high-energy big man who rebounds and defends. With Gurwell, Forgy, and Dinkla in the backcourt, the Huskies have one of the best perimeter groups in 3A. The key for them will be consistency.

 

10.) Lewis Central (10-10 last year, 89.0% of scoring returning)

The drop down to 3A should help the Titans this year. They bring back their top four scorers, and only have to replace one piece from last year’s rotation, meaning they’re loaded with experience. Senior wing Wyatt Hatcher Wyatt Hatcher 6'3" | PF Lewis Central | 2022 State IA (13.7) is the go-to scoring threat, a versatile scorer who can get the job done from all three levels. JC Dermody (8.8), Colby Souther (8.3), and Nick Miller (6.8) are all viable scoring threats as well, while Devin Nailor (4.1) and Caleb Moore (3.2) should see increased production this year. Moore was a solid role player last year as a freshman, a 6-0 guard who can score and facilitate. This team didn’t shoot the ball very well last year (just 24.0% as a team), and that number needs to improve if they want to make some real noise, but they’re going to be deep, experienced, athletic, and they’ll be better suited to play 3A competition come postseason time instead of 4A like they faced last year.

 

Ten more teams to watch

*Teams appear in alphabetical order*

 

Assumption (State semifinalist, 19-7 last year, 37.1% of scoring returning)

The Knights obviously have a massive hole to fill following the graduation of Emarion Ellis Emarion Ellis 6'4" | SF Assumption | 2021 State #141 Nation IA , who is now at Marquette. They also lost three other key senior pieces who were major contributors last season, but the cupboard isn’t bare for new coach Joe Ewen, who takes over for Matt Fitzpatrick. Ewen was the head coach at Davenport North from 2013-19, and an assistant for Assumption last year, so he has familiarity with the returning pieces, headlined by senior wing Noah Mack Noah Mack 6'0" | SG Assumption | 2022 State IA (11.4), a knockdown shooter with great length. He’ll be tasked with being a primary scoring threat this year, and he has worked to improve his ability to create his own looks. JJ Stratman JJ Stratman 6'2" | SG Assumption | 2022 State IA (8.7, 39.4 3P%) and Jay Costello (4.0) both started at least 10 games last year and return with plenty of experience. The big addition here will be 6-9 foreign exchange student Ivan Prug, who comes over from Croatia. He’s a big who runs the floor and can stretch out to the arc, and he’ll be a major piece for the Knights this year. It will be interesting to see how he acclimates with his teammates, and if the transition is smooth, the Knights will be dangerous in 3A.

 

Bondurant-Farrar (13-11 last year, 62.5% of scoring returning)

In junior wing Colby Collison Colby Collison 6'4" | SF Bondurant-Farrar | 2023 State IA (18.7), the Blue Jays have one of the state’s elite scoring threats returning, which will make them a viable contender in 3A. Collison is a big, physical wing who does a great job letting the game come to him, getting others involved before choosing his spot to begin taking over. He can score from all three levels, and is someone who is willing to post up smaller defenders and take advantage of his size and skill. Trey McDowell (6.4), Titus Cram (4.4), Carter Sanny (3.4), and Nolan Meyer (2.2) are the other key returnees. They’ll need to get increased production out of Sanny, a 6-3 forward who had a solid summer, as well as 6-6 big Toby Berggren (1.8). The Jays will go as far as Collison can take them, and with his skill set, they’re going to win plenty of games. The development of the role players will determine just how good this group can be.

 

Decorah (17-7 last year, 53.6% of scoring returning)

The Vikings won 17 games last year and reached the substate final before falling to Western Dubuque. A fairly small, but tough, physical, and athletic team, they relied heavily on controlling the glass to win games last season, as they grabbed 13.4 offensive rebounds a game. That impressive number helped offset an offensive attack that shot just 39.4% from the floor as a team. The efficiency numbers need to improve if they want to compete at the highest level, but their work on the glass will continue to win them lots of regular-season games. Senior wing Joseph Bockman Joseph Bockman 5'10" | PG Decorah | 2022 State IA (14.0) is the leading returning scorer, a wing who thrives on getting into the paint. Fellow senior guard Jacob Pipho (9.1) is the team’s top shooting threat, while sophomore point guard Treyton McCain Treyton McCain 6'0" | PG Decorah | 2024 State IA (5.6) looks primed for a big year after producing well as a freshman. He’s a quick, long, and athletic lead guard who produces on both ends of the floor. Carson Wemark (2.7, 6.3 rebounds) is a dominant rebounder who will see more minutes and provides some size and physicality in the paint. If the Vikings can become more efficient offensively, they can become a real threat in 3A.

 

Harlan (9-12 last year, 86.8% of scoring returning)

Last season’s nine wins were the fewest for the Cyclones in the QuikStats/VarsityBound era (since 2006-07), but don’t expect to see a repeat of that this year, as legendary coach Mitch Osborn has a full stable of players returning. The top four scorers, including all three double-figure scorers, return for the Cyclones, led by senior Connor Frame Connor Frame 6'2" | SF Harlan | 2022 State IA (15.0). Frame is a versatile scoring threat with good size and length that he uses to his benefit on the defensive end. Junior guard Bradley Curren Bradley Curren 5'11" | PG Harlan | 2023 State IA (12.1) and forward Aidan Hall (10.0) are back, as is senior big Will McLaughlin Will McLaughlin 6'3" | PF Harlan | 2022 State IA (9.8). McLaughlin is a physical forward who has committed to play linebacker at Iowa State, and he provides this group with some size, athleticism and toughness in the paint. The Cyclones didn’t shoot it very well from 3 last year, just 28.6% as a team, and that number will need to improve, but expect to see them be very good defensively, pound the glass on both ends of the floor, and use their size and physicality to exert their will on teams. Osborn isn’t going to finish below .500 with this group.

 

Humboldt (15-8 last year, 63.2% of scoring returning)

Four players averaged in double-figures last year for the Wildcats, and two of them return in junior guard Will Orness Will Orness 5'10" | SG Humboldt | 2023 State IA (10.4) and senior forward Caden Matson (10.3). Orness looks primed to make a major leap this year as he becomes the go-to perimeter scoring threat. He has the ability to score from all three levels, create his own shot, and he can get others involved as well. Trevor Jacobson (7.7) started all 23 games last year (as did Matson), and gives the ’Cats some additional perimeter shooting, knocking down 39.3% of his 3-point attempts last year, while Ben Kuehnast (5.5) and Jacob Heier (4.4) also started some games last year for Humboldt. Unfortunately for them, they’ll likely be paired with Clear Lake come postseason play again, a team that they have struggled with the last several years. But if Orness can develop into the big-time scoring threat that we believe he’s capable of, they could make some noise.

 

Le Mars (17-6 last year, 44.5% of scoring returning)

Le Mars was extremely successful in their second year in the Missouri River Conference, playing against largely 4A schools. They compiled 13 wins against league competition, with their only conference losses coming to 4A power Council Bluffs Lincoln. The Bulldogs lose a pair of double-figure scorers, but bring back senior guard Caleb Dreckman Caleb Dreckman 6'2" | SG LeMars | 2022 State IA (10.0, 43.1 3P%), an elite shooting threat to lead the charge. Fellow senior shooter Brady Williams (7.9, 39.8 3P%) gives them a pair of high-powered shooting threats, which will be key in keeping this group competitive as they find more depth. Cal Eckstaine (4.4) and Konnor Calhoun Konnor Calhoun 6'6" | C LeMars | 2022 State IA (4.0) also saw significant playing time last year, but outside of those four, there isn’t much coming back. Like their fellow 3A MRC school Sergeant Bluff-Luton, there may be some growing pains early on for the ’Dogs, but they should be a highly competitive group with the type of shooting that will allow them to upset anyone in the postseason.

 

Newton (9-13 last year, 85.0% of scoring returning)

The Cardinals improved as the season went on last year and will be looking to build on that momentum heading into the 2021-22 season. The top four scorers return, and seven of the top eight are back. They’ll be led by senior wing Adam Mattes Adam Mattes 6'3" | SG Newton | 2022 State IA (14.6), a big, physical wing who can fill it up from all three levels, and who impressed as a playmaker when we saw the Cards play at the Winterset Shootout in June. Improved playmaking out of Mattes will make this offensive attack more dangerous. Junior guards Jake Ingle Jake Ingle 5'7" | PG Newton | 2023 State IA (10.0, 37.2 3P%) and Brody Bauer Brody Bauer 6'1" | SG Newton | 2023 State IA (9.4, 40.4 3P%) are both good perimeter shooting threats to put alongside Mattes, and they’ll benefit from his playmaking the most, as they should get more open looks. Kael Swarts (6.8) is a solid role player, and Keith Moko (4.6) and Zayvier Arguello (3.5) were solid bench pieces last season. Look for sophomore guard Caleb Mattes Caleb Mattes 6'0" | SG Newton | 2024 State IA to play a key role for the Cardinals this year as well. He performed well at the Shootout and is a talented scorer from all three levels with a good feel for the game. The Cardinals have a lot of experience coming back to a team that was improving down the stretch, and they’ll be looking to continue that strong play this year. They have a lot of shooting, and if Mattes can perform like an All-State level player, they’ll be very dangerous come February.

 

North Polk (9-13 last year, 81.7% of scoring returning)

Last year was up-and-down for the Comets, with eight of their losses coming by single digits, but five others coming by at least 24 points. They played some good teams tight (Carroll losses came by seven, four; Dallas Center-Grimes by six), and were blown out by some great teams (Pella by 43; Ballard by 26 and 25). They need to become more consistent, especially on the defensive end, if they want to take the next step and become a viable threat in 3A. The good news is that the top four scorers from last year’s team return, headlined by star senior wing Jevin Sullivan Jevin Sullivan 6'5" | SG North Polk | 2022 State IA (19.3, 7.2 rebounds). Built like a linebacker but with a silky smooth jumper, Sullivan is a dynamic two-way threat with his size, strength, physicality, and length. Junior guard Austin Parkins (8.0, 37.1 3P%) is a viable 3-point threat who should emerge as a bigger scorer this year, and Marcus Haupert (5.6),  Jackson Nemmers (4.4), Kole Krings (3.6), and Jackson Rutledge (3.2) each have starting experience. They should finish above .500 for the first time since 2012-13, when they went 17-7, but just how far above .500 they get will rely heavily on the defensive improvements.

 

Sergeant Bluff-Luton (State semifinalist, 17-8 last year, 31.4% of scoring returning)

The Warriors got off to a really slow 1-4 start last year and were hovering around .500 before February. Then they got hot, running off 11 straight wins before losing to eventual champion Pella in the state semifinals. This school has become a fixture in Des Moines, making their fifth consecutive state tournament appearance last year, and while they’ll have a difficult time getting back following the graduations of the top four scorers, coach Adam Vander Schaaf is one of the best in the state, and this program is operating at a high level. Senior forward Jacob Imming Jacob Imming 6'2" | SF Sergeant Bluff-Luton | 2022 State IA (7.6) is the top returning scorer, while junior guard Tyler Smith Tyler Smith 5'10" | SG Sergeant Bluff-Luton | 2023 State IA (7.1) also saw significant time last year. The other key returnees are Bryce Click (2.2), Aidan Sieperda (1.2), and Cole Conlon (1.0). Playing in the 4A-dominant Missouri River Conference, the Warriors are always tested come postseason time, which has certainly helped them reach Des Moines five straight times. The other constant with this group is that they are going to lock teams down. Defense wins games, and SB-L is always strong on that end. They’ll have some rough stretches during the season with their inexperience, but expect to see Vander Schaaf getting this group rolling down the stretch, and they’ll once again be a threat to make it to the state tournament.

 

Washington (15-7 last year, 80.0% of scoring returning)

The Demons were really close to being a 20-win team last year, with five of their seven losses coming by single digits. While Trashaun Willis Trashaun Willis 6'7" | SF Washington | 2021 State IA is a big loss on both ends of the floor, they return five of the top six scorers from last year’s bunch, led by the dynamic perimeter tandem of Ethan Patterson Ethan Patterson 5'11" | SG Washington | 2023 State IA (15.7, 40.4 3P%) and Kasen Bailey Kasen Bailey 6'4" | SG Washington | 2022 State IA (13.9). Patterson is coming off a really good sophomore year and is one of the better shooting threats in the class, while Bailey is a long, athletic wing who is at his best when he’s playing downhill and getting to the rim, where he can finish above defenders. Lance Sobaski (7.9, 6.8 rebounds) and Lucas Kroll (7.0, 6.3 rebounds) are undersized but physical forwards who do a great job pounding the offensive glass, and fellow senior Travis Leyden (7.0) provides some additional scoring punch on the perimeter. They’ll need to find some depth, as no other returnees scored last year, but they have five returnees with tons of experience and two big-time scoring threats who can carry the load.