Wells Fargo Advisors Shootout: Game Previews
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The Wells Fargo Advisors Shootout returns after a COVID-related hiatus last year, with seven games taking place at Coe College in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, January 8. Below we preview each of the seven games. (Stats and records are current…
The Wells Fargo Advisors Shootout returns after a COVID-related hiatus last year, with seven games taking place at Coe College in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, January 8. Below we preview each of the seven games. (Stats and records are current as of 10:30 am on Friday.)
10:30 am: Central City (2-8) vs. Columbus (3-6)
We kick things off with a pair of programs that have struggled in recent years, but that seem to be headed in the right direction. Central City has just one senior on the roster, and he rarely plays, and they are led in scoring by a freshman and a pair of sophomores. The freshman, Matthew Klostermann (10.4 points a game) also leads the team in assists, dishing out 3.7 helpers a night. Mekhi Benton (15.0) and Aiden Klostermann (10.4) are the other headliners for the Wildcats.
Five of the top six scorers for Columbus are sophomores or juniors, so the Wildcats in blue will have a lot of experience returning next year. Junior Grant Watson (14.6, 39.1 3P%) has been the team’s headliner, leading them in scoring and rebounding, while Marco Martinez (6.9), Oscar Alcala (5.6), and Timothy Hills (5.4) have been solid contributors as well. The ’Cats may struggle to contain Benton, a big, physical player who should be able to have his way around the rim in this one.
Our pick: Central City 52, Columbus 45
Players to watch
Central City: 2024 Mekhi Benton (15.0 points, 6.9 rebounds), 2024 Aiden Klostermann (10.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 2.3 steals), 2023 Matthew Klostermann (10.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists)
Columbus: 2023 Grant Watson (14.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 39.1 3P%), 2022 Marco Martinez (6.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists), 2024 Timothy Hills (5.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists)
12:00 pm: Durant (2-6) vs. Cascade (3-7)
Like the opener, this is a meeting between a pair of schools that have gotten off to rough starts but are heading in the right direction. Perennial power Cascade has had a rough few seasons, but coach Nate McMullen has them playing solid ball now, winning back-to-back games against West Liberty and Regina. The Cougars are led by junior Cole McDermott (17.0, 8.2 rebounds), a hyper-efficient 6-5 big who is shooting nearly 64% from the floor. Sophomore guard Cass Hoffman (7.0, 35.4 3P%) and senior Justin Roling (7.0, 3.9 assists) are the top perimeter options, and they’re getting some production out of a pair of freshmen – Jackson Lieurance (2.5) and Nathan Schockemoehl (2.0) as well. A team that loves to play their 2-3 zone, they should be able to hold Durant’s offense in check (30.0 3P% as a team).
Durant is led by junior wing(16.9, 7.4 rebounds), who looks to attack the rim and score around the bucket. Garrett Hollenback (12.6) leads the team in assists and gives them another player who looks to attack the rim for his scoring. That approach may not work against a 2-3 zone that loves to pack it in and make teams beat them from the arc.
Our pick: Cascade 46, Durant 40
Players to watch
Durant: 2023 (16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.1 steals), 2023 Garrett Hollenback (12.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists), 2022 Drake Shelangoski (6.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists)
Cascade: 2023 Cole McDermott (17.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 63.6 FG%), 2022 Justin Roling (7.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists), 2024 Cass Hoffman (7.0 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists)
1:30 pm: Alburnett (6-2) vs. Dunkerton (8-1)
Something has to give in this one, as Alburnett has one of 1A’s stingiest defenses (37.9 points allowed per game, 12th in 1A) and Dunkerton is home to one of 1A’s most explosive offensive attacks (80.8 points a game, 3rd in 1A). The Pirates have held five of their eight opponents under 40 points so far this season, but they’ll have their hands full with a Raiders attack that is downright deadly. Senior forward Andrew Ossman (18.1, 45.8 3P%) and guard Gavin Soukup (7.6, 40.0 3P%) lead the charge offensively for Alburnett, and this is a team that shares the ball really well, averaging 16.5 assists, with six different players averaging at least two helpers a game. Look for the Pirates to try and slow this game down, using their athleticism and physicality on the defensive end to limit possessions.
Dunkerton’s lone loss came against a very good 2A Denver team, 75-74, and they’ve been held below 74 points just once this season, a 67-57 win over Janesville. Junior wing Preston Gillespie (27.4, 71.3 FG%) has emerged as one of the best scoring threats in Class 1A, enjoying a major breakout year. He’s an athletic, slashing wing who is scoring at a ridiculously high clip, getting to the free-throw line, and he’s a good enough shooter that it needs to be respected. Junior lead guard(16.1, 10.8 assists) is one of the best pure point guards in the state, looking to get others involved first, and he’s the only player in the state averaging double-digit assist numbers this year. The Gardner-Gillespie tandem is potent enough, but then they throw in senior forward (14.9, 65.0 FG%), an efficient finisher, and senior guard Kyler Rich (7.1, 42.9 3P%), among other threats. This is a dynamic offensive team with a number of options that can burn teams. Alburnett’s schedule is tougher, but Dunkerton has proven that they are a dynamic team against anyone they play. If they can dictate tempo, they should come away with a strong win here.
Our pick: Dunkerton 72, Alburnett 65
Players to watch
Alburnett: 2022 Andrew Ossman (18.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.4 steals, 56.1 FG%, 45.8 3P%), 2024 Braydon Osborn (7.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists), 2022 Gavin Soukup (7.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 40.0 3P%)
Dunkerton: 2023 Preston Gillespie (27.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.2 steals, 71.3 FG%), 2023 (16.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 10.8 assists, 3.4 steals), 2022 (14.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 65.0 FG%)
3:00 pm: Solon (5-4) vs. Fairfield (3-5)
Solon has won three straight games as of this writing, beating Regina, Independence, and West Delaware by an average of 16.3 points a game. They have a difficult test against Beckman Catholic on Friday night, but there is no travel involved, as they’re playing the Blazers at home. The Spartans are one of the most balanced teams in the state, with six players averaging between 6.1 and 9.4 points a game, which can be both a good thing and a bad thing. They don’t have a go-to scorer that they can get the ball to when they really need a bucket, but they also don’t have a bunch of egos on the team, everyone is content with someone else getting the shine on a given night. Kinnick Pusteoska (9.4, 7.4 rebounds) is the top scorer and rebounder, a physical forward that the offense can flow through. Sophomore guard Jake Benzing (8.5, 37.5 3P%) has been a solid producer on the perimeter, and Oaken Foster (6.6) and Jacob Timmons (7.0) have given them solid production as well.
Fairfield is led by 6-4 junior forward(20.8, 9.9 rebounds), a player who is a nightly threat for a double-double. He’s an efficient scorer (56.6 FG%) who is adding some range to his game, and his work on the glass will be critical for the Trojans here. Junior guards (11.9, 4.1 assists) and Tate Allen (9.3, 3.4 assists) give them some production on the perimeter and solid decision-makers with the ball. Solon has athletes on the perimeter, and they’ll be looking to force Lane and Allen into some turnovers to help spur the offense. The difference between the WaMaC and the Southeast Conference could be critical here, as well.
Our pick: Solon 59, Fairfield 52
Players to watch
Solon: 2022 Kinnick Pusteoska (9.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists), 2023 Oaken Foster (6.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 44.1 3P%), 2022 Jacob Timmons (7.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.9 steals)
Fairfield: 2023 (20.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, 56.6 FG%), 2023 (11.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists), 2023 Tate Allen (9.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.4 steals)
4:30 pm: 3A #3 Ballard (8-2) vs. 3A #7 Washington (6-1)
Two of 3A’s most dynamic offensive teams meet in this one, which should be the game of the day at Coe. Ballard is coming off an upset loss to North Polk in three overtimes, but will not have played a game since Tuesday, so they’ll have plenty of rest. The Bombers are led by senior guard(28.4), one of the top uncommitted players in the 2022 class. He’s a dynamic three-level scorer who is capable of dominating games on both ends of the floor. Junior guard (10.7) has given them some solid perimeter shooting, and senior big (8.1, 3.1 blocks), a future Iowa offensive lineman, holds down the paint on both ends of the floor.
Washington got off to a strong 6-0 start that included a win over defending 3A champion Pella before dropping a game to Fort Madison. The Demons have a lot of perimeter shooting on their roster with junior(18.0, 43.1 3P%) and seniors (15.9, 46.8 3P%) and Travis Leyden (7.3, 36.7 3P%). Patterson is a great off-ball guard who can fill it up in a hurry, while Bailey has really improved as a playmaking threat, dishing out 4.4 assists a game. Lucas Kroll (9.8) and Lance Sobaski (8.8) combine to pull down 14.6 rebounds a game, including 5.5 offensive. Despite being undersized, they play hard and have a nose for the ball. If they are able to get Krogh into foul trouble, that would go a long way in opening things up on the offensive end. This one should be a lot of fun.
Our pick: Ballard 68, Washington 64
Players to watch
Ballard: 2022 (28.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.3 steals), 2023 (10.7 points, 2.3 rebounds), 2022 (8.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.1 blocks)
Washington: 2023 (18.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 43.1 3P%), 2022 (15.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 46.8 3P%), 2022 Lucas Kroll (9.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 55.6 FG%)
6:00 pm: 2A #10 Monticello (9-0) vs. Regina (2-7)
Two teams heading in opposite directions meet in this River Valley cross-divisional game. Despite losing a great class of 2021s, Monticello has picked up right where they left off, winning their first nine games of the year by an average of 19 points a game. They’ve used a smothering defensive effort (44.0 points per game allowed), and have a pair of big-time scoring threats in sophomore combo forward(18.9) and junior guard (18.1). Ries can score inside and out, and with his size and physicality, he’ll be a very tough matchup for Regina, while Petersen has long been one of the best players in the state in the 2023 class, and he’s getting the chance to run this team now, and he’s thriving, leading the team with 5.7 assists a game as well. Peyton Schilling (7.7, 3.6 assists) and Caleb Sauser (5.6, 4.0 assists) have also been strong contributors in the backcourt.
Regina is led by senior(11.2), a dynamic shooter who is a bigger threat than his percentages so far this year indicate. Carter Leick (8.6) has given the Regals solid production in the paint, and Nolan McDonald (8.3) is having a solid sophomore season as a perimeter scorer.
Our pick: Monticello 66, Regina 45
Players to watch
Monticello: 2024 (18.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists), 2023 (18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 38.4 3P%), 2022 Trey Kuper (9.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 61.5 FG%)
Regina: 2022 (11.2 points, 1.6 rebounds), 2022 Carter Leick (8.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists), 2024 Nolan McDonald (8.3 points)
7:30 pm: Liberty (1-5) vs. Linn-Mar (4-2)
We conclude the day with an MVC matchup between Liberty and Linn-Mar, which means a very fun matchup at the 2-guard between Liberty’s DaShon Fisher (15.5) and Linn-Mar’s(15.5). Both members of the Iowa Barnstormers program, they are familiar with each other and will be looking to get the upper-hand in this rivalry. Fisher provided this highlight reel dunk earlier this week, showing his explosive athleticism:
Hey @SportsCenter– here's one for #SCTop10 and it's not even close from the game we called tonight. Liberty HS (North Liberty, IA) @Boltbsktbll's Da'Shon Fisher with a TWO HANDED POSTER. Unreal. Iowa City High gets the win 82-72, but Da'Shon gets the highlight. #iahsbkb pic.twitter.com/p7dOGEL9f0
— Aaron Scheinblum (@theshinebloom) January 5, 2022
It has been a re-building year for the Lightning following a number of graduations, and head coach Ryan Kelly is looking to get a signature win. They have gotten solid production out of sophomore guard Graham Beckman (6.0) and junior Christian Barney (5.7), while sophomore forward(4.0) is a talented big man who is starting to get going.
The supporting cast for Young has been strong this year, led by freshman big man Davis Kern (10.7), a long and athletic 6-7 big with a bright future. He finishes really well around the rim, has shown the ability to step out and knock down an occasional jumper, and has been solid on the glass. Senior forward Jayden Hill (9.5) is an athletic combo forward with defensive versatility, and(8.5) has provided some perimeter scoring punch alongside Young.
Our pick: Linn-Mar 68, Liberty 58
Players to watch
Liberty: 2023 (15.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists), 2022 Griffin Kraft (6.2 points, 4.5 rebounds), 2024 Graham Beckman (6.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists)
Linn-Mar: 2022 (15.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.0 steals), 2025 Davis Kern (10.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 67.6 FG%), 2022 Jayden Hill (9.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists)