Conference Preview: Raccoon River
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The Teams ADM (9-13, 78.8% of scoring returning): Trevor Mickelson’s first year at the helm of ADM had some really good moments, including wins over Bondurant-Farrar and Winterset, and he brings back four starters and six of the top seven…
ADM (9-13, 78.8% of scoring returning): Trevor Mickelson’s first year at the helm of ADM had some really good moments, including wins over Bondurant-Farrar and Winterset, and he brings back four starters and six of the top seven scorers from that group, so there is plenty of reason for optimism heading into this season. In junior guard(10.2, 46.0 3P%) and forward (10.2, 35.1 3P%), the Tigers will have one of the best one-two punches in the conference. Bryte was an elite shooter last year, showing the ability to do so at a high clip off the dribble or the catch, and Doll can score inside and out. Senior (7.8) is an undersized but physical rebounder, while Ryan Conrad (5.9) and Bennett Holmberg (5.5) are both quality ball handlers who can initiate the offense. The Tigers should be able to go pretty deep into their bench, with nine players returning who appeared in at least 10 games.
Ballard (16-7, 14.3%): A deep and talented 2022 class is gone, and senior guard(8.1) is the lone returnee with any sort of significant varsity experience. Gorsh is a really good perimeter shooting threat who will be asked to shoulder a heavy scoring and playmaking load this season for the Bombers. We like junior wing and think that he can provide some versatility on the defensive end, but the rest of the rotation will be entirely new faces.
Bondurant-Farrar (15-8, 72.2%): The Bluejays will have the best one-two punch in the conference in senior wings(18.3) and (13.1). Both are long, high-IQ wings that can score from all three levels, and each of them is capable of taking over a game at a moment’s notice. Junior guard (5.7) is a standout on the football field, but many of the same attributes that make him such a good running back make him a dangerous hooper as well. He’s tough, physical, and extremely quick. He can get to the rim, shoot it, and is a good passer who can also create some chaos on the defensive end. Everett White (5.1) led the team in rebounding last season and also returns, and expect to see , a talented combo forward who can score inside and out, make a difference in the rotation this season. Six of the Jays’ eight losses last season came by single digits, with three coming by a single possession. They were close to being great last year and should be outstanding this season.
Boone (9-13, 32.2%): Only one of the top six from last year returns, but it’s a good one in senior lead guard(13.7), a long, talented guard who can get to the bucket, knock down jumpers, and get others involved. He’s huge for a lead guard and does a great job using his length on the defensive end, coming away with 2.6 steals a game last season. Sophomore guard Wes Van Pelt (1.8) and junior Martin Smith (1.2) will be asked to step into much larger roles.
Carlisle (2-20, 57.5%): Two of the top three, and five of the top seven, scorers return for the Wildcats, so they should be a bit more competitive this season. Senior forward Ryan Petersen (9.6) led the team in scoring and rebounding last year and is back to lead the charge. Isaac Comito (6.1) was a solid contributor, and junior guard Tate Heidemann (2.7) should step into a primary ball-handling role after finishing second on the team in assists per game last season.
Carroll (16-9, 22.5%): The Tigers have been one of the most consistent programs in the state over the last two decades, averaging nearly 19 wins a season during the QuikStats/Bound era (2006-07 season). So, despite losing their top three scorers, expect Carroll to be a factor in the RRC again this season. Junior forward(7.6) led the team in rebounding last season and is the top returning scorer, while senior Tanner Gotto (6.2) is the only other returnee with significant experience. The Tigers will certainly miss the scoring and playmaking that Kaleb Booth and Nick Macke provided, but this program has been fantastic for years, and they will continue to be so.
Gilbert (5-17, 44.5%): Gilbert lost their only double-figure scorer, Birk Hanson, to graduation. Alex Ruba (8.5) is the top returnee. He finished second in scoring and rebounding last season and he has the ability to score inside and out. They will be reliant on a pair of sophomores, Brody Hauge (3.0) and Connor Rush (2.9), who contributed as freshmen.
North Polk (12-11, 50.1%): One of the program’s most decorated players, Jevin Sullivan, graduated, but seven of the top nine scorers from last year’s team return for the Comets. Jackson Nemmers (9.2) and Jackson Rutledge (5.1), a pair of senior guards, will be the headliners for this group. They’re experienced and both can play with or without the ball in their hands. Austin Parkins (4.4) and Kole Krings (4.2) will man the interior and control the glass on both ends of the floor, and Hudson Quinn (2.5) should step into a bigger role as a perimeter scorer. While this year’s version of the Comets won’t have the star power that last year’s team had, they should be a fairly balanced unit that will compete on both ends of the floor.
Winterset (20-6, 38.1%): Senior guard(10.3, 6.5 assists, 3.3 steals) will be the headliner for the Huskies this season after being a major piece of a three-headed guard attack last season that took them to the semifinals. He’s a bulldog who loves to attack the rim for finishes, and he’s one of the best passers in the state. Forwards (6.5) and (6.2) have played a lot of basketball for Winterset and will provide some rebounding and size in the paint, and the Huskies have a number of juniors coming up who should be ready to contribute. Dinkla should emerge as one of the best all-around guards in the state this season, and he’ll keep this team competitive, especially early on as they break in new pieces. They should factor into the league race again.
Projected Order of Finish
5. North Polk
Analysis: Bondurant-Farrar brings back the most of the usual suspects and should be considered a fairly heavy favorite here. ADM picked off a few of the big guns last season and brings back a lot; they’ll have a chance to push B-F at the top of the league. Carroll and Ballard are both due to take a step back, but they have built solid programs and will compete.
Preseason Player of the Year
2023, Bondurant-Farrar: A dominant scoring wing who lights up the scoreboard with remarkable efficiency, Collison is a high IQ scorer with good size and an outstanding feel for the game. He’s the top returning scorer in the league and the best player on a Bluejays team that we expect to be the best in the conference.
Players to Watch
2023 , Bondurant-Farrar
2024 , Bondurant-Farrar
2023 Everett White, Bondurant-Farrar
2023 , Boone
2023 , Winterset
2023 , Winterset
2023 , Winterset
2024 , ADM
2024 , ADM
2023 , ADM
2023 Jackson Nemmers, North Polk
2023 Alex Ruba, Gilbert
2023 , Ballard
2023 Ryan Petersen, Carlisle
2023 Tanner Gotto, Carroll