Posted On: 11/22/21 11:41 AM

The Teams

Burlington (9-11): Leading scorer Amarion Davis Amarion Davis 6'3" | SF Burlington | 2022 State IA (13.6), an athletic 6-2 wing who can score from all three levels, returns to lead the Grayhounds. He led the team in scoring and rebounding last season, and is a great piece for them to build around this season. Unfortunately for the ’Hounds, the next four scorers from last season’s team, including their two primary ball-handlers, graduated, so they’ll have a lot of holes to fill in the rotation. Senior wing Jackson Carlson (5.1) and guard Nate Spear (3.8) are the other top returnees. This team did a great job protecting the ball last season, but expect to see their turnover numbers increase a bit this year as they look to find a replacement for Michael Alexander and Brendon Hale. Davis should be one of the league’s best players, but they’ll need to find some quality role players to step up alongside him.

Fairfield (6-13): The Trojans bring back their top three, and eight of their top nine, scorers from last season’s team, with only Blake Holden, who averaged 3.9 points a game, graduating. They’re led by one of the league’s best players in junior power forward Amarion Davis Amarion Davis 6'3" | SF Burlington | 2022 State IA (13.6), an athletic 6-2 wing who can score from all three levels, returns to lead the Grayhounds. He led the team in scoring and rebounding last season, and is a great piece for them to build around this season. Unfortunately for the ’Hounds, the next four scorers from last season’s team, including their two primary ball-handlers, graduated, so they’ll have a lot of holes to fill in the rotation. Senior wing Jackson Carlson (5.1) and guard Nate Spear (3.8) are the other top returnees. This team did a great job protecting the ball last season, but expect to see their turnover numbers increase a bit this year as they look to find a replacement for Michael Alexander and Brendon Hale. Davis should be one of the league’s best players, but they’ll need to find some quality role players to step up alongside him. Fairfield (6-13): The Trojans bring back their top three, and eight of their top nine, scorers from last season’s team, with only Blake Holden, who averaged 3.9 points a game, graduating. They’re led by one of the league’s best players in junior power forward Max Wheaton Max Wheaton 6'4" | PF Fairfield | 2023 State IA (19.6, 9.2 rebounds), a dominant force in the paint who scores efficiently, rebounds at a high level, and is something that the offense can also run through. Junior guards JJ Lane JJ Lane 5'9" | PG Fairfield | 2023 State IA (10.4) and Tate Allen (8.4) return to give them some perimeter scoring. Fairfield didn’t shoot it very well from the arc last season (31.7% as a team), but if Lane and Allen can improve their efficiency from the arc a little bit, they could take some of the pressure off of Wheaton and open up the offense. They should be much more competitive this season with all the experience they have coming back. Fort Madison (8-12): The Bloodhounds stumbled down the stretch, losing seven of their last eight games (although that lone win was an impressive win over Washington). The top five scorers return from last season, and overall, 99.3% of their scoring output from last season returns, so expect this team to battle it out with Washington at the top of the conference. Senior forward Dayton Davis Dayton Davis 6'4" | SF Fort Madison | 2022 State IA (16.3, 11.3 rebounds) is a double-double machine, a big body in the paint who can score and pound the offensive glass. Senior lead guard Miles Dear Miles Dear 5'10" | PG Fort Madison High School | 2022 IA (10.4, 4.0 assists) is one of the best lead guards in the league, and Reiburn Turnbull (7.7), Tate Johnson (5.4), and Phillip Goldie (5.3) all averaged at least five points a game last season. The ’Hounds struggled to shoot it from the arc last season (28.7%), and that will likely be an area of concern again this year, but they’ll pound the glass on both ends of the floor and create some chaos on the defensive end. Keokuk (12-10): Expect to see the Chiefs take a step back within the conference this year after losing their top three, and five of their top six, scorers. Senior wing MJ Davis (7.2) is the lone returnee who scored more than 20 points last season, so it will be an entirely new group of faces taking the floor this season in Keokuk. They’ve won double-digit games every year in the QuikStats/VarsityBound era except for the 2016-17 season, so they probably won’t bottom-out, but they will certainly take a step back with all the new pieces. Mount Pleasant (13-11): Leading scorer and rebounder Dewon Trent Dewon Trent 6'3" | SG Mount Pleasant | 2022 State IA (15.8, 7.3 rebounds) returns to lead the Panthers. A 6-3 combo forward who can score inside and out, Trent shot 52.1% from the floor last season and looks like he’s primed to have a massive senior season. Senior guard Sam Jerrel (8.7) and junior Owen Vansickel (7.0) give them some perimeter shooting to put alongside Trent and take some of the pressure off of him. The Panthers graduated their top two ball-handlers from last season’s team that turned it over 14.2 times a game, so that may be an area of concern headed into the season. With Trent, Jerrel, and Vansickel returning, they should remain competitive within the league.  Patterson Washington (15-7): The Demons return 80% of their scoring to a team that won 15 games and had five single-digit losses. Trashaun Willis is a major loss on both ends of the floor for this team, but they bring back five of their top six scorers, headlined by the dynamic perimeter tandem of junior 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 one of the best shooters in the state, with the ability to torch teams both off the dribble and the catch, while Bailey is a long and athletic, slashing wing who gets to the bucket and finishes above defenders. They have a pair of undersized but physical forwards in Lance Sobaski (7.9, 6.8 rebounds) and Lucas Kroll (7.0, 6.3 rebounds) who pound the offensive glass, and fellow senior guard Travis Leyden (7.0) is another solid shooting threat. These five returnees are the only players coming back who scored last season, so they’ll need to find a few bench pieces to step into the rotation, but the Patterson-Bailey tandem is the best in the conference, and their starting five will be one of the best in 3A.   Projected Order of Finish 1. Washington 2. Fort Madison 3. Mount Pleasant 4. Fairfield 5. Burlington 6. Keokuk Analysis: This league returns more production than just about any of the conferences around the state, which should produce some high-quality basketball throughout the season. Washington enters the season as our favorite in the conference, bringing back the top tandem in the league.   Preseason Player of the Year 2023 Ethan Patterson Ethan Patterson 5'11" | SG Washington | 2023 State IA , Washington: The Demons won the league last season and are our pick to repeat this year. Patterson is the best player on that team, a knockdown shooter off the dribble and the catch, and he’s worked hard to develop his playmaking abilities as well.   Players to Watch 2023 Ethan Patterson Ethan Patterson 5'11" | SG Washington | 2023 State IA , Washington 2022 Kasen Bailey Kasen Bailey 6'4" | SG Washington | 2022 State IA , Washington 2022 Lance Sobaski, Washington 2022 Lucas Kroll, Washington 2022 Travis Leyden, Washington 2022 Dayton Davis Dayton Davis 6'4" | SF Fort Madison | 2022 State IA , Fort Madison 2022 Miles Dear Miles Dear 5'10" | PG Fort Madison High School | 2022 IA , Fort Madison 2022 Reiburn Turnbull, Fort Madison 2023 Max Wheaton Max Wheaton 6'4" | PF Fairfield | 2023 State IA , Fairfield 2023 JJ Lane JJ Lane 5'9" | PG Fairfield | 2023 State IA , Fairfield 2023 Tate Allen, Fairfield 2022 Dewon Trent Dewon Trent 6'3" | SG Mount Pleasant | 2022 State IA , Mount Pleasant 2022 Sam Jerrel, Mount Pleasant 2023 Owen Vansickel, Mount Pleasant 2022 Amarion Davis Amarion Davis 6'3" | SF Burlington | 2022 State IA , Burlington 2022 MJ Davis, Keokuk

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