The Teams Clarksville (4-19): The Indians were largely non-competitive last year, winning just one game against a league opponent, and losing just twice by single digits. They lose leading scorer Ethan Schmidt Ethan Schmidt 6'3" | PF Clarksville | 2020…
Clarksville (4-19): The Indians were largely non-competitive last year, winning just one game against a league opponent, and losing just twice by single digits. They lose leading scorer Ethan Schmidt Ethan Schmidt 6'3" | PF Clarksville | 2020 State IA , who averaged 16.7 points a game and single-handedly accounted for over 30% of the team’s scoring. Jacob Stauffer (7.4) is back after a solid freshman season in which he also averaged 6 rebounds a game, as is Alek Kellogg (5.8), but they are the only two of the top seven scorers from last year who return.
Don Bosco (18-6): The Dons have been the best team in the division for several years now, but they’ll likely lose their spot on the throne this year. The top three, and five of the top six, scorers graduated, leaving just junior guard Kobe Allen Kobe Allen 5'7" | PG Don Bosco | 2022 IA (5.8). Allen is a quick guard who also averaged 4.0 assists, but the rest of the face will be new. He’s a solid player to build around, and Don Bosco always has good athletes, but expect a step back from the Dons this year.
Dunkerton (10-13): The Raiders had an up-and-down season, with some solid wins and some questionable losses on their resume. They were fairly competitive, with two losses to Janesville by a combined seven points. The top two scorers from that group are back in senior wing Jake Kennedy Jake Kennedy 6'0" | SG Dunkerton | 2021 State IA (10.3) and sophomore guard Casey Gardner (8.3). Before last year, the Raiders had averaged 20.3 wins over the previous three seasons, and they should start heading back in that direction. Preston Gillespie (4.0) is an athletic wing coming off a solid freshman season, and he can be a difference-maker on the defensive end, and Kyler Rich (4.4) is a 6-4 forward who can stretch out and knock down an occasional 3. Expect to see the Raiders competing with Janesville at the top of the division this year.
Janesville (19-5): Outside of an unexpected loss to Waterloo Christian late in the season, the Wildcats played well above expectations last year. With a group that didn’t return much, they rolled to 19 wins. Now, they bring back their top three, and six of their top seven, scorers, so expectations should be sky-high for the ’Cats. They’re led by junior forward Wiley Sherburne Wiley Sherburne 6'4" | PF Janesville | 2022 State IA (17.8), the division’s best player. He also pulled down 7.3 rebounds a game last year and shot 58% from the floor. Fellow junior, guard Leo Dodd (8.9), is a solid ball-handler and decision-maker, dishing out 5.8 assists a game last year. Joey Carlson (8.3), Jaden Appleby (6.2), Jared Hoodjer (5.0) and Rogan Gergen (3.0) all saw significant time last year and give this group plenty of depth. Sherburne is the best player in the division, and with the talent the ’Cats have returning, they’re the team to beat.
Riceville (7-14): The Wildcats lost their top three scorers to graduation, so it may be a long winter in Riceville. Charlie Ring (5.9) is the leading returnee, and he’s great on the glass, pulling down 7.1 rebounds a game last year. With all of the losses to graduation, he should average close to a double-double on the year.
Tripoli (12-11): Tripoli closed the season strong last year, winning six of their last eight games, with the two losses coming to 1A champion Wapsie Valley and to Janesville in the postseason. They bring back leading scorer Conner Piehl Conner Piehl 5'11" | PG Tripoli | 2021 State IA (14.9), as well as Dawson Bergmann (9.2). That tandem combined to pull down 15.7 rebounds a game in addition to their scoring. They’ll need to protect the ball better after committing 19 turnovers a game last season.
Waterloo Christian (10-12): The Regents have a major hole to fill following the graduation of John Zwack John Zwack 6'0" | PG Waterloo Christian | 2020 State IA , who led the team in every major category. But they bring back three players who averaged between 8.0 and 10.8 points a game, so they should remain fairly competitive. Elliott Flynn (10.8, 6.4 rebounds) will be the leader, while Dominick Jones (10.0) gives them another solid scorer. Carson Rowenhorst (8.0) will take over primary ball-handling responsibilities, and if he can limit turnovers, they should be solid on the offensive end.
Projected Order of Finish
3. Don Bosco
5. Waterloo Christian
Analysis: The Wildcats are the team to beat in the division this year, led by preseason POY Wiley Sherburne Wiley Sherburne 6'4" | PF Janesville | 2022 State IA . Dunkerton will be more competitive this season, and while Don Bosco has a lot of key departures, they’ll still compete with their athletes.
Preseason Player of the Year
Wiley Sherburne Wiley Sherburne 6'4" | PF Janesville | 2022 State IA , Janesville (2022): 17.8 points, 7.3 rebounds
The best player on the division’s best team, Sherburne should put up some big numbers for the Wildcats this year. A highly efficient forward who is a matchup problem for most teams in the league.
Players to watch
Kobe Allen Kobe Allen 5'7" | PG Don Bosco | 2022 IA , Don Bosco (2022)
Jake Kennedy Jake Kennedy 6'0" | SG Dunkerton | 2021 State IA , Dunkerton (2021)
Casey Gardner, Dunkerton (2023)
Wiley Sherburne Wiley Sherburne 6'4" | PF Janesville | 2022 State IA , Janesville (2022)
Leo Dodd, Janesville (2022)
Elliott Flynn, Waterloo Christian (2022)
Conner Piehl Conner Piehl 5'11" | PG Tripoli | 2021 State IA , Tripoli (2021)
Dawson Bergmann, Tripoli (2021)