The favorite: Clear Lake is one of just two 3A teams to rank within the top 10 in both scoring offense (4th, 72.6 points per game) and defense (2nd, 48.3). The Lions have been dominant this season, with their lone…
The favorite: Clear Lake is one of just two 3A teams to rank within the top 10 in both scoring offense (4th, 72.6 points per game) and defense (2nd, 48.3). The Lions have been dominant this season, with their lone loss coming to Humboldt, a loss they avenged last week by 17 points. Senior point guard Travaughn Luyobya Travaughn Luyobya 5'10" | PG Clear Lake | 2023 State IA (18.8, 10.1 assists) leads an efficient offensive attack that is shooting nearly 54% from the floor as a team. Luyobya is a four-year starter and one of the best passers in the state, a veteran lead guard who wants to have the ball in his hands in the big moments. Sophomore forward Thomas Meyer Thomas Meyer 6'4" | SF Clear Lake | 2025 State IA (14.3, 7.1 rebounds) is an athletic forward who holds multiple Division I football offers, and he offers some explosive athleticism and finishing around the bucket. Cael Stephany (12.3, 41.3 3P%), Titan Schmitt Titan Schmitt 6'0" | SG Clear Lake | 2025 State IA (11.0, 40.7 3P%), and Gavin Anderson (4.6, 38.5 3P%) are all good shooting options to put alongside the slashing Luyobya and the powerful Meyer, making this a balanced offensive team filled with different ways to beat you. As the top seed in the substate, they’ll avoid either Winterset or North Polk until the final, and they’ve already beaten Nevada by 17 in early January.
The biggest threats: Raccoon River Conference rivals North Polk and Winterset split their season series, with North Polk winning by 2 on December 20th, and Winterset getting revenge by 5 on January 31st. They’ll likely meet up in the semifinals here, and either of them will be very formidable foes for Clear lake in the substate final. We’ll start here with the #2 seed, North Polk. The Comets have been a surprising team this year, putting together a fantastic season after losing one of the best players in school history to graduation. Junior Reggie Postel Reggie Postel 6'1" | SG North Polk | 2024 State IA (11.9) leads a balanced scoring attack, but it’s the defensive effort that makes this group dangerous. An athletic group that flies around the floor, they’ve allowed just 50.3 points a game so far this season, holding 14 teams below 50 points. No one player is going to kill you on the offensive end, but this group is going to suffocate you defensively and find ways to take away your best players. It will not be fun to play against this group, who is accustomed to playing at a slower pace, when postseason play begins. They’re deep, athletic, and physical.
On the other end of the spectrum is Winterset, a team that likes to use it’s quickness to speed the game up and force a bevy of turnovers. Senior guard Brayden Dinkla Brayden Dinkla 6'0" | PG Winterset | 2023 State IA (16.6, 8.5 assists, 3.6 steals) is a menace on both ends of the floor. A lanky guard who uses his length and quickness to put pressure on opposing teams, Dinkla loves to attack the rim and is one of the most fearless guards in the state. As he showed last year at the state tournament, there are few guards in the state who want the big moment as much as he does. Charlie McDonald Charlie McDonald 6'2" | SF Winterset | 2023 State IA (11.5) is the only other double-figure scorer for the Huskies, but four others average between 7.0 and 9.7 points a game, making this a deep and balanced team behind Dinkla. After getting off to a bit of a slow start, Winterset has gone 10-3 since the holiday break, including 8-1 in their last nine games.
The dark horses: The winner of the 4/5 game between Ballard and Nevada could give Clear Lake some trouble in the semifinals if things bounce right. Nevada is led by junior guard Jacob Khounsourath Jacob Khounsourath 6'1" | SG Nevada | 2024 State IA (18.8, 3.5 assists), a dynamic three-level scorer who can create shots for himself or his teammates as well as defend multiple positions. The Cubs have five players averaging at least 8.2 points a game, and in the tandem of freshman John Nelson John Nelson 6'4" | PF Nevada | 2026 State IA (8.4, 1.2 blocks) and senior Carson Rhodes (8.2, 2.8 blocks), they have some quality rim protection.
Ballard has a fantastic tandem in the backcourt that will also make them a dangerous team if they start knocking down some shots. Senior Mason Gorsh Mason Gorsh 6'2" | SG Ballard | 2023 State IA (16.3, 39.7 3P%), a skilled off-ball guard who can really stroke it, is capable of getting scorching hot in the blink of an eye and lighting teams up from deep. Freshman guard Jude Gibson Jude Gibson 6'0" | PG Ballard | 2026 State IA (15.2, 4.5 assists) is one of the most talented freshmen in the state, an explosive, quick-twitch athlete with a tremendous feel for the game. The Bombers are a pretty young group, and that could be either a detriment or a benefit in postseason play.
Players to watch
2023 Travaughn Luyobya Travaughn Luyobya 5'10" | PG Clear Lake | 2023 State IA , Clear Lake
2025 Thomas Meyer Thomas Meyer 6'4" | SF Clear Lake | 2025 State IA , Clear Lake
2025 Titan Schmitt Titan Schmitt 6'0" | SG Clear Lake | 2025 State IA , Clear Lake
2024 Cael Stephany, Clear Lake
2024 Reggie Postel Reggie Postel 6'1" | SG North Polk | 2024 State IA , North Polk
2023 Jackson Nemmers Jackson Nemmers 6'2" | SG North Polk | 2023 State IA , North Polk
2023 Brayden Dinkla Brayden Dinkla 6'0" | PG Winterset | 2023 State IA , Winterset
2023 Charlie McDonald Charlie McDonald 6'2" | SF Winterset | 2023 State IA , Winterset
2024 Jacob Khounsourath Jacob Khounsourath 6'1" | SG Nevada | 2024 State IA , Nevada
2026 John Nelson John Nelson 6'4" | PF Nevada | 2026 State IA , Nevada
2023 Mason Gorsh Mason Gorsh 6'2" | SG Ballard | 2023 State IA , Ballard
2026 Jude Gibson Jude Gibson 6'0" | PG Ballard | 2026 State IA , Ballard
2024 Scott Harr Scott Harr 6'4" | C Hampton-Dumont | 2024 State IA , Hampton-Dumont-CAL
2024 Cade Boten, Saydel
2023 Mason Hicks Mason Hicks 6'4" | PG Saydel | 2023 State IA , Saydel
2023 Nathaniel Winter Nathaniel Winter 6'4" | PG Boone | 2023 State IA , Boone
SUBSTATE FINAL PREDICTION
Clear Lake vs. Winterset
This is a fascinating matchup between two of the best point guards not just in 3A, but in the state as a whole. The Luyobya vs. Dinkla matchup will be worth well more than the price of admission on its own. This one likely comes down to which role players perform better in the big moment, and we’ll give the slight edge to Clear Lake in that regard. The Lions head to the state tournament, outlasting Winterset in a fantastic substate final.