4A Quarterfinal: #2 Waukee (22-2) vs. #7 Ames (17-7), 10:30 am Analysis: Waukee hasn’t lost since a 56-51 upset at the hands of Ankeny back on January 13, coming into this tournament on a 12-game winning streak. The Warriors have…
4A Quarterfinal: #2 Waukee (22-2) vs. #7 Ames (17-7), 10:30 am
Analysis: Waukee hasn’t lost since a 56-51 upset at the hands of Ankeny back on January 13, coming into this tournament on a 12-game winning streak. The Warriors have the most dynamic player in the field on their side in five-star senior(22.0, 10.3 rebounds), who is headed to play his college ball at Iowa State. Biliew helped the Warriors win the 2021 state championship before spending his junior year at Link Academy in Missouri, but he’s back to ready to try and end his high school career with another title. (10.8), a skilled 6-7/6-8 stretch-4 who protects the paint at an extremely high level (3.3 blocks a game), is the anchor of their defense. He’s a high IQ player who can switch defensively and stretch the floor offensively. The Warriors are able to put a ton of shooters around Biliew and Peiffer, shooting nearly 41% from behind the arc as a team.
Defending champion Ames lost a lot of production off of last year’s team but brought back two key pieces in(14.5, 39.4 3P%) and (12.4, 3.2 blocks). Lueth, a long, athletic 6-7 wing, is one of the few players in the state who has a shot at slowing down Biliew in a one-on-one setting, and expect him to get the primary assignment on him throughout this one. Wynter gained a ton of valuable experience coming off the bench for last year’s team, and is a knockdown lefty shooter who can get hot and carry this team offensively. Vance Downs is one of the best coaches in the state, and will certainly have some sort of game plan drawn up to try and slow down the talented Warriors, but the Little Cyclones can struggle to score at times, and Waukee eventually runs past them here.
Players to watch
Waukee: 2023 (22.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, 51.4 FG%); 2023 (10.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 58.7 FG%); 2023 (9.5 points, 42.0 3P%); 2024 (8.8 points, 3.9 assists)
Ames: 2024 (14.5 points, 39.4 3P%); 2023 (12.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.2 blocks); 2025 (10.0 points, 2.4 assists, 1.9 steals); 2023 (9.5 points, 7.7 rebounds)
Our pick: Waukee 62, Ames 46
4A Quarterfinal: #3 Waukee Northwest (21-2) vs. #6 Ankeny Centennial (16-7), 12:15 pm
Analysis: Northwest swept the regular season series between these teams, 56-42 on January 3, and 74-48 on February 10. In those two games, Northwest staraveraged 28 points and 11 rebounds on 57-44-90 shooting splits. Simply put, Centennial doesn’t have much of an answer for the future Iowa wing (not many do). (17.0, 6.0 assists, 46.9 3P%) has had a stellar senior season for the Wolves, a talented lefty guard who can attack the rim or knock down shots off the catch. (10.4, 45.8 3P%) and (4.8, 47.8 3P%) provide additional perimeter shooting and the Wolves have held Centennial to 35.4% shooting and 15.6% from the arc in the two wins.
Junior point guard(17.3, 4.9 assists) has had a breakout junior year for the Jaguars as a scorer and playmaker, but he’ll need some help from his teammates here. The Jags really need someone to step up and knock down some shots, but given the poor shooting from deep in their previous two meetings, and the fact that it’s harder to shoot at Wells Fargo Arena, that doesn’t seem likely. Northwest shouldn’t have too many issues here. Too much Sandfort, too much Kelderman, not enough Centennial offense.
Players to watch
Northwest: 2023 (25.9 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.9 blocks, 54.2 FG%, 44.0 3P%); 2023 (17.0 points, 6.0 assists, 46.9 3P%); 2024 (10.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 45.8 3P%)
Centennial: 2024 (17.3 points, 4.9 assists); 2023 (10.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 38.8 3P%); 2024 (9.0 points, 4.7 rebounds); 2024 (5.3 points, 6.9 rebounds)
Our pick: Northwest 71, Centennial 51
4A Quarterfinal: #1 Kennedy (22-0) vs. #8 Pleasant Valley (19-5), 2:00 pm
Analysis: Kennedy has been dominant this season, winning games by an average of 31.2 points behind a stout defense and balanced offensive attack. They’re able to comfortably go about 10 deep on their bench and their quartet of guards –(16.0, 44.9 3P%), (10.4, 7.1 assists), (9.6, 6.4 rebounds, 2.9 steals), and (6.2, 41.3 3P%) – are deadly. Dolphin and Reed have won a ton of games together and both are reliable ball-handlers, decision-makers, defenders, and scorers. (12.3, 7.0 rebounds) is a 6-7 forward who can score inside with great footwork but also step out and knock down jumpers. This is an efficient offensive team (51-40-77 splits) that can come at you in waves on the defensive end with quickness, athleticism, and length. Look for them to put constant pressure on the Pleasant Valley guards, forcing them to make quick decisions with the ball in their hands.
Pleasant Valley upset Senior to get here, and the Spartans come in having won 10 straight games. Senior wing(12.4, 38.5 3P%) leads the team in scoring, but this is a balanced team that has eight players averaging at least 3.6 points a game. The pressure will be on the backcourt of (9.4, 2.0 assists) and (8.0, 6.7 assists), who will need to handle it against the Kennedy pressure and limit live-ball turnovers, as the Cougars can get out in transition and turn a tight game into a blowout in a hurry. Kennedy’s guards are just better, and unless PV finds a way to grind this game to a halt, it’s hard to see them keeping pace here.
Players to watch
Kennedy: 2023 (16.0 points, 2.7 assists, 44.9 3P%); 2024 (12.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 66.7 FG%); 2023 (10.4 points, 7.1 assists); 2024 (9.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.9 steals)
Pleasant Valley: 2023 (12.0 points, 37.4 3P%); 2024 (9.2 points, 38.8 3P%); 2024 (8.4 points, 6.5 assists)
Our pick: Kennedy 74, Pleasant Valley 49
4A Quarterfinal: #4 Valley (18-5) vs. #5 Norwalk (20-3), 3:45 pm
Analysis: This is probably the best 4A quarterfinal of the bunch, as should be expected with a 4/5 game. Valley is incredibly young, with five sophomores among their top six, but the Tigers are big, long, athletic, and skilled.. (13.1, 3.6 assists) is the headliner, a sophomore point guard who holds an offer from Missouri. At 6-4, he has great size for a lead guard, and he has a tremendous feel for the game. (11.7) is one of the best athletes in the state on the perimeter, a quick guard who can get to the bucket, and (10.1, 3.3 assists), the lone senior among the top six, is a calming presence on both ends of the floor. While their youth could be seen as a detriment, their talent offsets it.
Norwalk comes into this tournament scorching hot, having won 16 straight games. The Warriors hail from the Little Hawkeye Conference, a league that is known for being arguably the best 3A conference in the state, but it doesn’t stack up against the CIML. That said, Norwalk has proven they belong here and they aren’t going to go down without a fight here.(18.7, 4.9 assists) leads the team in scoring and assists. He’s a big, smart guard who can initiate the offense from anywhere on the floor, and he has really taken his scoring to another level this year, becoming an incredibly efficient threat. (14.6, 8.0 rebounds) will have his hands full in the paint against the size of the Tigers, but he has had an incredibly productive senior season, and he’ll compete against them. If Norwalk is going to pull off the upset, they’ll need (9.8, 33.7 3P%) and Jack Brown (8.8, 38.9 3P%) to knock down some shots alongside Born. Expect Norwalk to throw a number of different looks at the Tigers in an effort to confuse their young guards, but Valley’s athleticism and size eventually wins out in the best game of the 4A quarters.
Players to watch
Valley: 2025 . (13.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists); 2025 (11.7 points, 2.8 assists); 2023 (10.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 52.2 FG%); 2025 (9.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 blocks); 2025 (9.8 points, 3.1 rebounds); 2025 (7.1 points, 40.3 3P%)
Norwalk: 2024 (18.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 52.0 FG%, 41.3 3P%); 2023 (14.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 58.4 FG%); 2023 Jack Brown (8.8 points, 38.9 3P%)
Our pick: Valley 60, Norwalk 52
1A Semifinal: #1 Grand View Christian (25-0) vs. #4 West Harrison (24-1), 5:30 pm
Analysis: Grand View Christian used a 25-15 third quarter to finally gain control of their opening round game against New London, using their overwhelming size advantage to outrebound the Tigers 44-28 and score 17 second-chance points. West Harrison absolutely dominated Dunkerton in their quarterfinal win, beating the Raiders 85-63 and outrebounding Dunkerton by a margin of 48-14.
Grand View Christian entered this tournament as a fairly overwhelming favorite, having rolled through an incredibly difficult schedule all year, but once again they got all they could handle in their opening round game. The senior backcourt ofand each had 14 points, but on just 7-20 shooting, a number that will need to improve against West Harrison. The Thunder threw a number of different defensive looks at New London star guard , and did a great job limiting him, but if they sit in the same packed-in zone that they did against the Tigers, West Harrison can make them pay. , the 7-footer headed to Kennesaw State, was once again a major difference-maker in the quarters, blocking 6 shots and taking away the painted area against New London.
West Harrison, as mentioned, as dominant in their quarterfinal win, controlling the game on both ends of the floor with their physicality., a 6-6 combo forward, had 27 points on 12-17 shooting to go with 14 rebounds in that win, using his size, athleticism, and skill set to dominate the game as a three-level scorer and playmaker. Undersized forward , listed at 6-2 but probably closer to 6-0, was an animal on the glass, pulling down 21 rebounds (7 offensive), and his non-stop motor and physicality will be tough for the Thunder to contend with if they aren’t ready for it. The Hawkeyes had 23 second-chance points against Dunkerton, pulling down 16 offensive rebounds, and they know that they are the more physical team in this matchup. can attack the open areas in GVC’s zone, if that’s what they decide to play, and , Mason McIntosh, and Walker Rife are all capable shooters who can shoot them out of the zone. Don’t be surprised to see West Harrison come out and punch GVC in the mouth early, setting the tone with their physicality. But eventually the Thunder’s size advantage, and the guard play of Sanderson and Chiodo, takes over and the Thunder advance to (potentially) set up the GVC/North Linn rematch that has seemed destined to happen all year.
Players to watch
Grand View Christian: 2023 (20.4 points, 8.2 assists, 39.8 3P%); 2023 (16.6 points, 40.1 3P%); 2025 (13.0 points, 10.2 rebounds, 55.3 FG%); 2023 (12.8 points, 13.1 rebounds, 4.3 blocks, 75.3 FG%); 2024 (10.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists)
West Harrison: 2023 (16.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.1 blocks, 50.5 FG%, 46.2 3P%); 2023 (14.9 points, 16.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 53.4 FG%); 2023 (14.4 points, 4.2 assists, 47.6 3P%)
Our pick: Grand View Christian 61, West Harrison 57
1A Semifinal: #2 North Linn (25-0) vs. #6 Remsen, St. Mary’s (23-2), 7:15 pm
Analysis: These teams met in last year’s semifinals as well, a 56-46 North Linn win on their way to the 1A state championship. The Lynx got all they could handle from Madrid in the quarterfinals, outlasting the Tigers 72-63 to get here, while St. Mary’s suffocated Gladbrook-Reinbeck in the last three quarters en route to a 57-47 upset.
St. Mary’s is a team that rarely beats themselves. They don’t turn it over, they play strong, fundamentally sound defense, and they have a number of different scoring weapons. They’ll need to find some perimeter shooting in this one, as North Linn has proven to be difficult to score against in the paint with the likes ofand controlling that area with their length and athleticism. , a 6-5 big man, had 17 points and 16 rebounds in the Hawks’ win over Gladbrook-Reinbeck, and he’ll need to keep the mobile Lynx off the glass and out of the paint offensively, easier said than done.
In North Linn’s win over Madrid, the Lynx scored 35 points in the paint and converted 18 turnovers into 26 points off turnovers. Live-ball turnovers are a killer against the Lynx, and that will need to be an area that the Hawks focus in on here. The tandem of sophomore guard(29 points on 9-12 shooting, 5-7 3P) and senior forward (25 points on 10-17 shooting) was too much for Madrid in the quarterfinals, but this is a North Linn team that is usually much more balanced in their attack. Look for them to get a more balanced effort here, use their swarming defense to create some live-ball turnovers, and use their quickness to constantly attack the rim against the St. Mary’s defense that generally does a good job limiting dribble penetration. These two programs have become great friends over the last seven years (each program is making their seventh straight state tournament appearance), and this one should be a lot of fun. At the end of the day, however, North Linn has too much firepower and advances to another 1A championship game.
Players to watch
North Linn: 2023 (16.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.6 steals, 56.0 FG%); 2024 (16.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 60.7 FG%); 2025 (15.4 points, 4.5 assists, 47.3 3P%); 2023 (14.4 points, 40.5 3P%)
Remsen, St. Mary’s: 2023 (15.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists); 2025 (14.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 62.1 FG%); 2023 (10.9 points, 3.3 assists)
Our pick: North Linn 62, St. Mary’s 52