High school basketball comes to a close, 4A tournament still to go

KEVIN DEITRICK, Sports Columnist

Des Moines got a glance of Iowa’s best this week as it hosted the boys high school state tournament. Take note of the names listed as they may become future Panthers.

A quick recap of all that has happened so far: On Monday, teams in class 1A squared off starting at 10:30 a.m. No. 4 seed West Hancock (23-2) beat No. 5 seed IKM-Manning (22-2) 67-51.

Then a huge upset, as No. 8 seed St. Albert in Council Bluffs (15-9) walloped the No. 1 seed Danville (24-1) 69-46.

Another top seed went down as No. 7 seed South O’Brien (22-3) beat the No. 2 seed Grand View Christian (25-1) in a hard fought, low scoring game, 46-32.

At 3:45, my high school, Jesup (22-3), took on the defending champs, Gladbrook-Reinbeck (23-2).

Along with 400 other people from my home town of Jesup, I had the opportunity to go to Des Moines to watch them play.

Jesup got off to a fast start in the first half with guard Ethan Wyant leading the way with 12 points. They led 25-21 heading to halftime.

They looked to build on that lead in the second. Unfortunately for Jesup, things took a turn for the worse.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s best player, Joe Smoldt, who came into the game averaging 25 points per game, scored 27 in the second half.

Let me tell you: this guy could not miss. Every single time the ball left the dude’s hands, it tickled the twine. (Ben Jacobson, if you’re reading this, you should get ahold of this kid.)

Teams in Class 2A battled it out on Monday night and Tuesday morning. At 6:35 Monday night, Cascade High School of Western Dubuque (20-3) took on Osage (20-4).

In a fight between the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds, Cascade annihilated Osage 60-27. Another upset occurred between No. 8 seed Pella Christian (16-9) and No. 1 seed, undefeated, Dike-New Hartford (25-0).

Pella Christian had held an eight-point lead going in to the second half. D-NH made a comeback but Pella Christian was able to hold on for a 59-52 victory.

On Tuesday, March 8, No. 2 seed Western Christian (22-2), who won it two years ago, took on No. 7 seed Kuemper Catholic (18-6). Western Catholic took care of business winning easily, 56-42.

For the final 2A game of the day, No. 3 seed Des Moines Christian (21-3) faced off against No. 6 seed Anamosa (20-5). Another day, another upset. Anamosa won the game with ease, 74-60.

Between 1A and 2A, there have been four upsets, which saw both No. 1 seeds go down in the first round.

The teams of class 3A fought it out on Wednesday. To start out the afternoon, No. 4 seed MOC-Floyd Valley (21-3) faced No. 5 seed Dubuque Wahlert (19-5).

Iowa Hawkeye’s recruit Cordell Pemsl led Wahlert to a 79-74 victory, scoring 19 points and 10 rebounds.

In the next game, No. 1 seed Chariton (23-1) played against No. 8 seed Solon (10-14). Chariton won 64-50, but Solon certainly played hard considering the fact that they came into the game with a sub-.500 record. So props to them.

The game between No. 2 seed Pella (22-1) and 7 seed No. Perry (15-9) was anything but. Pella would win this game by 40 points with no chances of an upset. No. 6 seed Xavier (16-8) beat No. 3 seed Spirit Lake (21-3) in another upset, 58-47.

As press time is prior to the 4A tournament, I’ll preview those matches.

Starting at 1:05 on Thursday, No. 4 seed Dowling Catholic (20-3) will be taking on No. 5 seed Valley High School in West Des Moines (20-3). At 2:45, No. 1 seed Pleasant Valley (22-1) will play Dubuque (14-10). Will we see another top seed go down?

At 6:35, Cedar Falls High School (19-4) will face off against No. 2 seed Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs (22-1).

I feel like I should cheer for Cedar Falls since I go to UNI. So, go Tigers!

Finally, at 8:15 pm, No. 3 seed Des Moines Hoover (21-2) will take on No. 6 seed Iowa City, West (19-4).

So, there you have it. A (somewhat) in-depth look at what has happened so far in the state tournament. After just a few days, it has been madness.

If you’re a basketball fan and excited for the madness that will be college basketball in March and you are looking for something to hold you over till the NCAA Tournament starts, take a trip down to the Wells Fargo Arena for the next few days.

To finish off this article, I would like to say this: I am so proud of my hometown Jesup J-Hawks for a phenomenal year, and I am so proud of the state of basketball in Iowa. There is certainly a bright future ahead!