In good company: Class 3A state tournament preview
Record: 24-0, No. 1 seed
Road to state:
Defeated Independence, 74-32, in the first-round district game.
Defeated Union, LaPorte City, 56-45, in the district championship.
Defeated Crestwood, 65-56, in the substrate game.
Strengths: The only undefeated team in Class 3A, Vinton-Shellsburg averages a class-leading 69.7 points per game. The Vikings have made 38.7 percent of their 3-pointers this season (137-for-354), the best team average in the tournament. They have four starting seniors who return from a team that went 19-5 last year and are ready to do some damage in Des Moines this season.
— Maxton Kearns, 6-3 senior
Kearns has 180 assists this season, the highest total in Class 3A. He averages 10.7 points per game and has 40 steals on the year.
— Kelyn Rickels, 6-0 senior
Rickels has 38 steals, and averages 9.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
— Grant Sagan, 6-4 senior
The team’s highest scorer, Sagan averages 19.7 points per game, the third-highest total in Class 3A and the second-highest among state tournament players. He also pulls down 8.3 rebounds per game.
— Max Griffith, 5-10 senior
Griffith has made more 3-pointers than any other player in Class 3A this season, and has the third-highest total across all classes. He is 82-for-158 from beyond the arc (51.9 percent). He averages 13.4 points per game.
— Nolan Sagan, 6-4 junior
The only starting junior, Sagan holds his own in many categories: he averages 7.4 points per game, has 30 steals and a team-high 16 blocks, and he grabs 4.6 rebounds per game.
Record: 22-2, No. 2 seed
Road to state:
Defeated Boone, 75-36, in the first round district game.
Defeated Nevada, 60-44, in the district championship.
Defeated Norwalk, 64-61, in substrate game (overtime).
Strengths: The Mustangs won their first 17 games of the season before falling in back-to-back games (to Ballard, 78-66, and to Carroll, 58-49) in early February for their only two losses on the year. They have balanced scoring and a strong sixth man in freshman Doug Heritage, who averages 7.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
— Andrew Kramer, 5-10 junior
Kramer is strong defensively, with 58 steals this season. He averages 7.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.
— Nick Drucker, 6-1 junior
Drucker leads the Mustangs with 11.0 points per game. His 18 points led the team to an overtime win against Norwalk in the substate game. He also leads the team with 128 assists and has 55 steals this year.
— Josh Prohaska, 6-3 senior
Prohaska averages 8.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
— Alex Morris, 5-10 senior
Morris averages 8.8 points per game and has a 40.6 3-point shooting percentage (43-for-106).
— Austin Rix, 6-7 sophomore
Rix leads all state tournament players with 81 blocks, a number that ranks him third in Class 3A. He also averages 8.5 points and 60 rebounds per game.
Record: 20-4, No. 3 seed
Road to state:
Defeated Charles City, 61-43, in first-round district game.
Defeated Iowa Falls-Alden, 60-39, in district championship.
Defeated Clear Lake, 65-55, in substrate game.
Strengths: The Go-Hawks haven’t lost a game since Dec. 18. They shoot 50.8 percent from the field as a team and are decent free throw shooters as well, at 68.8 percent. Just about any starter can lead the team in scoring on any given day.
— Dan Stensland, 5-11 junior
The best of a good free throw shooting team, Stensland shoots 76.2 from the line. He averages 10.1 points per game, and has 89 assists and 55 steals.
— Klinton Carlson, 6-8 senior
Averaging 17.7 points per game, Carlson is big under the basket and can also make a 3-pointer: he has made 15 so far this season in 38 attempts (39.5 percent). He averages 7.5 rebounds per game and has 20 blocks this season.
— Jake Velky, 6-0 sophomore
A 41.7 percent 3-point shooter (50-120), Velky averages 13.8 points per game, and he had 25 points against Clear Lake in the Go-Hawks’ substrate game.
— Drew Demuth, 6-1 junior
Demuth helps pick up a few extra points under the basket, as his 24 offensive rebounds — behind only Carlson (45) and Shawn Westendorf (25) — lead to some second-chance points for the Go-Hawks.
— Shawn Westendorf, 6-2 junior
Westendorf has a 65.5 field goal percentage and averages 7.2 points per game. His 14 points led W-SR against Iowa Falls in the district championship.
Record: 20-4, No. 4 seed
Road to state:
Defeated South Tama County, 74-34, in the first round district game.
Defeated Pella, 58-44, in the district championship.
Defeated Centerville, 48-33, in the substrate game.
Strengths: On the young but tall Tiger team, all five starters stand at or over 6-3. The group plays solid defense, allowing only 43.25 points per game this season, the third-lowest total in Class 3A and second among tournament teams.
— Clayton Scurr, 6-3 junior
A jack-of-all-trades, Scurr is in the top five on his team in steals (23), assists (29), rebounds (2.8 per game) and scoring (5.5 points per game).
— Joe Nowasell, 6-3 senior
Nowasell has a team-high 44 steals this season, and he averages 13.6 points per game along with 5.1 rebounds per game.
— Eli Dunne, 6-5 junior
Dunne is the team leader with 14.1 points per game, and he also averages a team-high 7.6 rebounds per game. The junior has blocked 34 shots and dished 72 assists this season.
— Joe Schmidt, 6-3 junior
With 12.3 points per game, Schmidt is the third Grinnell player to average more than 12 points per game. He has 40 steals and a team-high 86 assists this season.
— Nate Vosburg, 6-4 sophomore
Vosburg, the youngest starter on the team, is a big aid to the Tigers’ defense, with 22 blocks and 4.7 rebounds per game this season for Grinnell.
MOC-Floyd Valley (Orange City)
Record: 20-4, No. 5 seed
Road to state:
Defeated Estherville Lincoln Central, 76-36, in first-round district game.
Defeated Storm Lake, 63-52, in district championship.
Defeated Bishop Heelan Catholic, 70-61, in the substrate game.
Strengths: Shooting 53 percent on the season, MOC-FV has the highest team field goal percentage in Class 3A. The Dutchmen have eight seniors on their team, including two returning starters from last season’s state-qualifying team. They also have a deep bench, including sixth man Levi Jansen, a freshman who averages 11.6 points per game, due in part to his ability to make free throws. He’s 68-81 on the season (84.0 percent).
— Trey Achterhoff, 6-4 senior
Achterhoff averages 10.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, and he had a team-high 18 points against Heelan in the substrate game on Monday. The senior has 38 steals so far this season.
— Parker Mulder, 6-0 junior
Mulder leads the team with 70 assists on the season and also with 43 steals — he’s one of four Dutchmen who have 40-plus steals this season.
— David De Haan, 6-1 senior
De Haan started most games for the Dutchmen this season and had 42 steals. He also averaged 8.6 points per game. It was 6-3 senior Ryan Christy who was in the starting lineup for the last three postseason games, but De Haan still managed to post 10 points coming off the bench in two of those games.
— Mitchell De Wit, 6-2 senior
Starting for the second straight year at the state tournament, De Wit averages 7.7 points and 4.1 rebounds for the Dutchmen.
— Justin Van Kalsbeek, 6-6 senior
Shooting 73.5 percent from the field, Van Kalsbeek averages 16.6 points per game, and he also pulls down 7.3 rebounds per game. He has 41 steals this season, joining Mulder and De Haan in the 40-plus category, along with Levi Jansen (40). As a team, MOC-FV has 250 steals this season, fourth overall in Class 3A and second among tournament teams.
Record: 19-5, No. 6 seed
Road to state:
Defeated Clear Creek-Amana, 57-25, in first-round district game.
Defeated Williamsburg, 47-26, in district championship.
Defeated Solon, 51-33, in substate game.
Strengths: The Panthers have a class-leading defense, allowing fewer than 40 points per game — the lowest average in Class 3A. In the postseason, they haven’t yet allowed more than 33 points in a game. They also have a class-high 304 steals. As a team, they have a 50.6 shooting percentage, and they have averaged 19.2 points per game more than their opponents, just barely behind undefeated Vinton-Shellsburg, which averages 19.5. The Panthers have seven seniors on the roster, and a lot of state tournament experience.
— Cameron Frank, 6-3 senior
A second-year starter, Frank — now the Panthers’ point guard — is a team leader, and both his hard work and talent on the court are demonstrated by his high numbers in many different statistical categories. Frank has a team-high 134 assists this season and leads the Panthers with 67 steals. He also averages 9.7 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game. He had 11 points in the Panthers’ substate win over Solon, behind only senior Dalton Conrad with 12 points.
— Logan Mulford, 6-2 senior
Mulford has aided the Mt. Pleasant defense with 38 steals of his own this season and has dished 48 assists, second only to Frank in both categories. He has only 25 turnovers, the lowest of any starter on the team. He has also put in 19 3-pointers on the season, behind only senior Connor Shull’s 22.
— Ryan Hanna, 6-3 senior
Hanna has stepped up as a force down low this season, shooting 64.3 percent from the field and averaging 11.1 points per game. He also has 25 blocked shots.
— Brant Shelman, 6-2 senior
A newcomer to the Panther team, Shelman is second on the squad in 3-point shooting percentage, making 16 of 51 attempts (31.4 percent). He is also key on defense, with 37 steals on the season.
— Faith Pope, 6-6 senior
Another newcomer, Pope averages a team-leading 16.2 points and 9.0 rebounds per game — the latter is the 10th highest average in Class 3A and the highest of all players in the state tournament. Pope shoots 68.8 from the field, and is also a strong 3-point shooter, averaging 46.7 percent (14-for-30). He has put up 64 blocks this season.
Record: 18-6, No. 7 seed
Road to state:
Defeated Central Clinton, De Witt, 62-43, in first-round district game.
Defeated Walhert Dubuque, 67-57, in district championship.
Defeated Marion, 51-47, in substrate game.
Strengths: The Knights’ 18-6 record is especially impressive considering the number of 4A schools on their roster. In fact, Assumption hasn’t lost to a 3A team yet this season. Their starters are five seniors who stand at or over 6 feet tall.
— Nick Schebler, 6-2 senior
Schebler leads the team with 86 assists this season. He averages 6.4 points per game.
— Matt Vonderhaar, 6-4 senior
Vonderhaar has a 39.9 shooting percentage from 3-point range (57-for-143) and averages 14.7 points per game. He also has 34 steals.
— Peter Doyle, 6-0 senior
Doyle has averaged 4.7 points and 3.0 rebounds for the Knights this season.
— Michael Knouse, 6-5 senior
Knouse is big for the Knights on putbacks, with 42 offensive rebounds to his 43 defensive rebounds this season.
— Billy Daniel, 6-5 senior
With 20.0 points per game, Daniel is not just the best scorer on the team, but one of the best in Class 3A. His average is second in the class and the highest of all state tournament players. He also averages 7.9 rebounds per game, has 38 steals and has 58 blocks this season.
Record: 18-6, No. 8 seed
Road to state:
Defeated Glenwood, 79-53, in first-round district game.
Defeated Carroll, 51-43, in district championship.
Defeated Atlantic, 52-43, in substate game.
Strengths: The youngest team in the tournament, Harlan starts four juniors and has only three seniors on the roster — but a lack of experience doesn’t seem to be hurting them at all. Everyone in the starting five is over 6-0, and the young Cyclones are strong under the basket, due largely to Trey Lansman’s efforts on both offense and defense.
— Trey Lansman, 6-6 junior
With 80 blocks on the season (the fourth-highest total in Class 3A and second-highest among state tournament players) and 207 rebounds this year (the ninth-highest total in Class 3A and first among tournament players), Lansman causes a lot of trouble for Harlan’s opponents. And he’s not just a defensive weapon; he also leads the Cyclones with 16.7 points per game.
— Nathan Cave, 6-4 junior
Averaging 11.2 points per game, Cave leads Harlan in 3-point shooting percentage at 49.5 percent (46-for-93). He also averages 5.3 rebounds per game.
— Gabe Ferry, 6-3 junior
Ferry averages 9.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
— Adam Juhl, 6-1 junior
If Harlan opponents are going to foul, they’ll want to avoid Adam Juhl. The junior has missed only 10 free throws all season, going 68-for-78 from the stripe (87.2 percent).
— Nate Kloewer, 6-2 senior
Kloewer is the team’s assist leader with 88 on the season. He averages 3.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. When Kloewer can’t make the start, then Harlan freshman Kyle Juhl, 6-1, takes his place. Juhl played in all 24 games this year, and dropped 16 points when he started against Glenwood in the first round of district play.