Class 1A Championship: #1 Grand View Christian (26-0) vs. #2 North Linn (26-0), 1:00 pm
How they got here: Grand View Christian beat New London, 61-51, in the quarterfinals and then got 41 points from Josh Sanderson Josh Sanderson 5'10" | PG Grand View Christian | 2023 State IA to cruise past West Harrison, 68-50, in the semifinals. North Linn outlasted Madrid, 72-63, in the semifinals, and then used a huge fourth quarter comeback to beat Remsen, St. Mary’s, 52-50, in the semifinals.
Analysis: These two teams have been on a collision course all year long, but it took a North Linn miracle for the matchup to actually materialize as the Lynx erased a 16-point deficit to stun St. Mary’s and reach this game. If we remember last year’s championship game between these teams, a 52-48 Lynx win, they were able to take star guard Josh Baucum essentially out of the game by drawing several early offensive fouls by pointing out to the refs early on the use of his off-ball arm. Mike Hilmer is an excellent coach who will draw up some sort of game plan here to try and slow down a potent Thunder attack that is headlined by another star guard, Josh Sanderson Josh Sanderson 5'10" | PG Grand View Christian | 2023 State IA . Sanderson does a better job not using his off-ball arm to create space, using his tight handle, footwork and quickness to free himself, so they’ll probably need to find another way to take him away. If they’re able to limit Sanderson, who not only scores in bunches, but is also the primary initiator of the offense, they can take GVC out of what they want to do. Look for Breckyn Betenbender Breckyn Betenbender 5'10" | PG North Linn | 2024 State IA , Ben Wheatley Ben Wheatley 6'1" | SG North Linn | 2023 State IA , and Mason Bechen Mason Bechen 6'1" | PG North Linn | 2025 State IA to all get shots at Sanderson here, and they may even throw some junk defense looks at the Thunder in an effort to confuse them. If the Lynx are going to pull off this upset and win their second straight title, they’ll need Ty Pflughaupt Ty Pflughaupt 6'5" | SG North Linn | 2024 State IA , a skilled 6-4/6-5 wing, to continue his strong fourth quarter play and knock down shots.
The aforementioned Sanderson made sure that there was no late-game drama in the Thunder’s semifinal game against West Harrison, exploding for 24 first-quarter points. He’s the type of player who can get absolutely scorching hot and carry this team offensively, but if he’s not going well, they can struggle at times to score in the halfcourt. The Thunder of course have overwhelming size, going 7-0, 6-9, 6-5 across their frontline, but those three don’t really create looks for themselves, instead scoring off of offensive rebounds or chances created by Sanderson. Look for the Lynx to attack Daniel Tobiloba Daniel Tobiloba 7'0" | C Grand View Christian | 2023 State IA early, in an effort to get him into foul trouble as well. If they can take the 7-0 Tobiloba out of the game, it opens everything else up for an offense that lives on attacking the rim. The Thunder don’t go very deep into their bench, and Dave Stubbs has shown in recent years that he isn’t afraid to play his stars with foul trouble. Sanderson is quite clearly the key to this game. If he’s cooking and the Lynx don’t have an answer, Grand View Christian rolls. If he’s slowed down a bit, the Lynx have a chance here. I’ve had North Linn #1 since the start of the season, and I’m going to stick with it here, but this should be a good one.
Players to watch
Grand View Christian: 2023 Josh Sanderson Josh Sanderson 5'10" | PG Grand View Christian | 2023 State IA ; 2023 Frankie Chiodo Frankie Chiodo 6'1" | SG Grand View Christian | 2023 State IA ; 2023 Daniel Tobiloba Daniel Tobiloba 7'0" | C Grand View Christian | 2023 State IA ; 2025 Emiliano Barrantes Emiliano Barrantes 6'9" | PF Grand View Christian | 2025 State IA ; 2024 Noah John Noah John 6'3" | PF Grand View Christian | 2024 State IA
North Linn: 2023 Tate Haughenbury Tate Haughenbury 6'5" | PF North Linn | 2023 State IA ; 2024 Ty Pflughaupt Ty Pflughaupt 6'5" | SG North Linn | 2024 State IA ; 2023 Ben Wheatley Ben Wheatley 6'1" | SG North Linn | 2023 State IA ; 2025 Mason Bechen Mason Bechen 6'1" | PG North Linn | 2025 State IA ; 2024 Breckyn Betenbender Breckyn Betenbender 5'10" | PG North Linn | 2024 State IA
Our pick: North Linn 52, Grand View Christian 48
Class 2A Championship: #1 Central Lyon (23-1) vs. #3 Western Christian (22-3), 3:00 pm
How they got here: Central Lyon blew out Des Moines Christian, 74-41, in the quarterfinals, and then survived a scare against Pella Christian, beating the Eagles 56-55 in the semifinals. Western Christian cruised past Monticello, 69-44, in the quarterfinals and then used a pair of big second-half runs to race past Roland-Story, 79-61, in the semifinals.
Analysis: It’s an all-northwest Iowa 2A championship game for the third straight year, and this one should be outstanding. Central Lyon has been a pretty clear #1 team in the class for quite a while now, with a blend of size, athleticism, length, and talent that has simply overwhelmed most of the teams on their schedule. That won’t be the case against a Western Christian team that may be a little less athletic than the Lions, but that will have the size, length, intelligence, and talent to match up with Central Lyon. Western has been really impressive in their two wins this week, methodically wearing teams down on both ends of the floor. They share the ball extremely well and play the game in typical Western Christian fashion – off-ball movement, good sets, strong screens, crisp passes, disciplined defensive rotations, and team rebounding. The Van Regenmorter brothers, Kaden Van Regenmorter Kaden Van Regenmorter 6'3" | SF Hull, Western Christian | 2025 State IA and Tate Van Regenmorter Tate Van Regenmorter 6'5" | PF Western Christian | 2023 State IA , were excellent in the semifinals, showing that they can both create for themselves and others operating out of the mid-to-high-post area, and that area of the floor will need to be of utmost concern for Central Lyon defensively.
Central Lyon’s athleticism overwhelmed Des Moines Christian in the quarterfinals, but they were in a battle against a Pella Christian team that sees that type of length and athleticism throughout the season in the Little Hawkeye. Western is similar to PC in that they won’t be intimidated by the sheer athleticism that Central Lyon can throw at you. Zach Lutmer Zach Lutmer 6'1" | PG Central Lyon | 2023 IA has played a pair of outstanding floor games for the Lions this week, but they’ll need the 6-1 guard to have a bigger scoring game here if they’re going to complete this season with a state championship after finishing runner-up last year. Andrew Austin Andrew Austin 6'6" | PF Central Lyon | 2023 State IA can be a difference-maker here, as the 6-7 forward has been arguably the best player in the field this week with his ability to control the glass and score around the bucket. Look for the Lions to pack it in a bit and try to take away that mid-post area that the Van Regenmorter brothers love to operate out of, forcing the Wolfpack to beat them from deep. These are a pair of disciplined teams that aren’t going to beat themselves, but we’re going to side with our pre-tournament pick, Central Lyon, in a tight one.
Players to watch
Central Lyon: 2023 Zach Lutmer Zach Lutmer 6'1" | PG Central Lyon | 2023 IA ; 2023 Andrew Austin Andrew Austin 6'6" | PF Central Lyon | 2023 State IA ; 2024 Reece Vander Zee Reece Vander Zee 6'5" | SF Central Lyon | 2024 State IA
Western Christian: 2025 Kaden Van Regenmorter Kaden Van Regenmorter 6'3" | SF Hull, Western Christian | 2025 State IA ; 2023 Tate Van Regenmorter Tate Van Regenmorter 6'5" | PF Western Christian | 2023 State IA ; 2023 Chandler Pollema
Our pick: Central Lyon 66, Western Christian 61
Class 3A Championship: #1 Bondurant-Farrar (25-0) vs. #2 Cedar Rapids Xavier (20-6), 5:00 pm
How they got here: Bondurant-Farrar had no issues with Algona in the quarterfinals, beating the Bulldogs 81-52, then shook off a slow start to beat North Polk for the third time this season, 54-45, in the semifinals. Xavier controlled the game throughout in wins over Hoover, 49-38, in the quarterfinals, and Heelan, 72-59, in the semifinals.
Analysis: Can Bondurant-Farrar close out the undefeated season and take home the school’s first state title since 1997? The Bluejays have been great this year, using their length and five-out, dribble-drive offense to blow past teams on the offensive end and smother teams defensively. That will be easier said than done against a Xavier team that is used to seeing plenty of length and athleticism in the MVC. The big wing combo of Colby Collison Colby Collison 6'4" | SF Bondurant-Farrar | 2023 State IA and Jaxson Fried Jaxson Fried 6'6" | SF Bondurant- Farrar | 2023 State IA has been great this year, and they’ll need to be great in this one. Cole Miller, a sophomore guard who didn’t score much during the season, is averaging 15 points this week on excellent shooting, and could be an X-factor here.
Xavier has looked really good this week, using their strength, athleticism, and talent to control the game on both ends of the floor. The Saints are the more physical team in this matchup, and that could be a major factor here. They aren’t going to back down from the Jays, and they aren’t going to be scared by the length that Bondurant can throw at you in their pressure looks. Joseph Bean Joseph Bean 6'3" | PG Kennedy | 2024 State IA has the strength to get to the bucket against anyone, and Aidan Yamilkoski Aidan Yamilkoski 6'4" | SG Xavier | 2023 State IA is a fantastic three-level scorer having a great week and season. There are two keys for Xavier in this matchup – can Josef Lemker Josef Lemker 6'2" | SG Xavier | 2023 State IA knock down the looks that he gets? And can Tyler Netolicky Tyler Netolicky 6'8" | C Xavier | 2024 State IA stay out of foul trouble and be a rim protector? Netolicky isn’t a big-time shot blocker for the Saints, but his presence in the paint defensively at 6-8 is a major factor, and he’s the anchor of their defense. Bondurant-Farrar is going to have a much bigger crowd than Xavier here, but the Saints are poised and will remain controlled here. Xavier, in the tightest game of the day.
Players to watch
Bondurant-Farrar: 2023 Colby Collison Colby Collison 6'4" | SF Bondurant-Farrar | 2023 State IA ; 2023 Jaxson Fried Jaxson Fried 6'6" | SF Bondurant- Farrar | 2023 State IA ; 2024 Reed Pfaltzgraff Reed Pfaltzgraff 6'4" Bondurant Farrar | 2024 IA ; 2025 Cole Miller
Cedar Rapids Xavier: 2024 Joseph Bean Joseph Bean 6'3" | PG Kennedy | 2024 State IA ; 2023 Aidan Yamilkoski Aidan Yamilkoski 6'4" | SG Xavier | 2023 State IA ; 2023 Josef Lemker Josef Lemker 6'2" | SG Xavier | 2023 State IA ; 2024 Tyler Netolicky Tyler Netolicky 6'8" | C Xavier | 2024 State IA
Our pick: Cedar Rapids Xavier 62, Bondurant-Farrar 60
Class 4A Championship: #3 Waukee Northwest (23-2) vs. #4 West Des Moines Valley (20-5), 7:00 pm
How they got here: Northwest controlled their quarterfinal win over Centennial from start-to-finish, beating the Jaguars 55-37, and then used a 32-4 run to blow past crosstown rival Waukee in the semifinals. Valley used their athleticism and length to overwhelm both Norwalk, 63-48, in the quarterfinals, and Pleasant Valley, 58-51, in the semifinals.
Analysis: These two teams split their season series, with Northwest winning 61-45 on December 2 and Valley taking the rematch 75-64 on January 10. Northwest star Pryce Sandfort Pryce Sandfort 6'7" | SF Waukee Northwest | 2023 State #123 Nation IA averaged 27 points a game in those two meetings, and Valley will need to decide to either let him get his, and try to take away Cade Kelderman Cade Kelderman 6'0" | PG Waukee Northwest | 2023 State IA and the rest of the Wolves, or to try and limit him and make the role players beat them. Kelderman showed in the semifinal win over Waukee that he is capable of taking over games, but the Valley athleticism on the perimeter is superior to what Waukee is able to throw at Kelderman defensively and they’ll make it more difficult for him to get them on his hip and get to the rim. If the Wolves are going to finish the job, they’ll need Sandfort to stay out of foul trouble and for their role players to knock down the open looks that they get.
In the Valley win in January, the Tigers shot 27 free throws and outscored the Wolves by 10 from the stripe. They have the athletic guards who can get into the teeth of opposing defenses and put pressure on them, and if this is a tightly called game, that would probably play to the Tigers’ benefit, as they’re generally the team that looks to attack more than Northwest, who has a bevy of 3-point shooting threats. Xzavion Robinson Xzavion Robinson 6'1" | PG Valley | 2025 State IA was outstanding in that regard in their semifinal win over Pleasant Valley, constantly attacking the slower PV perimeter and getting to the rim. Look for him to continue to be aggressive here. Will the youth of the Tigers finally catch up to them? They start four sophomores, but despite that youth, they’re (obviously) supremely talented and haven’t backed down from the moment yet.
This will be a fascinating chess match between BJ Windhorst of Valley and Brett Watson of Northwest. Both are outstanding Xs and Os coaches, and with this being their third meeting this season, they’re extremely familiar with each other’s tendencies. In what should be an outstanding conclusion to the 2022-23 season, we’ll take Northwest in a tight one, with Sandfort being the difference maker late. In just their second year as a school, the Wolves take home a state title.
Players to watch
Waukee Northwest: 2023 Pryce Sandfort Pryce Sandfort 6'7" | SF Waukee Northwest | 2023 State #123 Nation IA ; 2023 Cade Kelderman Cade Kelderman 6'0" | PG Waukee Northwest | 2023 State IA ; 2024 Grant Tigges Grant Tigges 6'4" | SG Waukee Northwest | 2024 State IA ; 2024 Andrew Cose Andrew Cose 5'11" | PG Waukee Northwest | 2024 State IA ; 2023 Henry Manning Henry Manning 6'1" | SG Waukee | 2023 State IA
West Des Moines Valley: 2025 Curtis Stinson Jr Curtis Stinson Jr 6'4" | PG Valley | 2025 State IA .; 2025 Kiki Deng Kiki Deng 6'4" | SG Valley | 2025 State IA ; 2025 Xzavion Robinson Xzavion Robinson 6'1" | PG Valley | 2025 State IA ; 2025 Trevin Jirak Trevin Jirak 6'8" | C Valley | 2025 State IA ; 2023 Trevian Carson Trevian Carson 6'4" | SG Valley | 2023 State IA
Our pick: Waukee Northwest 65, Valley 60