Looking Back at The Best of the Boys Basketball Season

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

After a few days of postponements and games being pushed back the state tournament qualifiers in all four classes were finally set on Tuesday night.

State tournament brackets were released by Wednesday afternoon and the attention now turns to Monday when state quarterfinals begin.

By Friday night there will be four teams celebrating state championship.

Before getting too deep into analyzing the state brackets or breaking down the qualifiers here is a quick look back at the best of the season so far in the Your Prep Sports area.

Best Individual Performance: Patrick McCaffery against Cedar Rapids Washington. McCaffery has already had a season full of performances that fit in this category but it was his 42-point outburst that set the single-game West High scoring record that stands out. The senior forward made 14-of-20 field goal attempts, including 6-of-8 3-pointers and all eight of his free throws on his way to a career-high scoring output.

Best Individual Performance Part 2: Andre Brandon against Dubuque Wahlert. Brandon did it all Liberty High’s 76-73 road win at Dubuque Wahlert. The 6-foot-5 senior had 28 points on 9-of-14 shooting, grabbed 15 rebounds to go with five assists and three steals.

Best Individual Play: This category could be a list of McCaffery dunks but Beau Cornwell feeding Brett Schiele for a step back 3-pointer that beat the halftime buzzer against Regina was as an impressive a sequence as you will ever see. Cornwell rebounded a miss in the final seconds, sprinted up court and flipped a behind the back pass to Schiele who nailed a step back three from the deep corner to give the Bears a 28-25 halftime lead.  

Best Individual Play Part 2: Marcus Morgan had the best game of his career in the substate final win over Davenport Central and the West High sophomore made his most impressive play late with a baseline drive that ended with a two-handed slam through contact that turned into a conventional 3-point play. 

Biggest Shot: Masen Miller against West Burlington. The Regina junior point guard hit a state-leading 97 3-pointer this season. None were bigger than his tie-breaking triple with four seconds left in a 56-53 district semifinal win against West Burlington.

Biggest Upset: Liberty High over Dubuque Senior. Liberty High took Mississippi Valley Conference powers Linn-Mar and Cedar Falls to the wire in its first season in the conference but finally got its breakthrough with a 45-43 win over the fifth-ranked Rams.

Best Team Performance: Solon against West Delaware. The road win over state qualifier West Delaware was the top performance of the season for Solon and it was the way the Spartans did it that was most impressive. Nine different players scored and eight Spartans had a rebound in the 53-50 win. 

Coach of the Year: Regina’s Jared Galpin. All Galpin has done in his second season at Regina is direct the Regals to a 20-2 record that includes a current 15-game winning streak, an RVC South Division title and the first state tournament appearance since 2015 all while replacing four graduated senior starters and transfer center Even Brauns.

Best Game: Regina at West Branch. What else would you expect between these two rivals? This one had it all including 12 lead changes and six ties with Regina overcoming a seven-point second-half deficit to earn a 55-48 win.

Breakthrough Performer: Regina sophomore Ashton Cook. The 6-foot-4 Cook went from spot duty as a freshman to the second-leading scorer and rebounder on a state tournament qualifier as a sophomore averaging 13.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Best Clutch Performance: West Branch senior Beau Cornwell filled the state sheet at West Branch for four straight seasons but was at his best in his final game, scoring 19 points, grabbing 19 rebounds and handing out four assists in a 61-60 district final loss to Camanche.

Unsung hero: West High senior Brayden Adcock. The scoring numbers are modest for Adcock at 3.2 points per game but the senior point guard ranks four in 4A with 111 assists while committing just 37 turnovers and leads West High in steals. 

Biggest Surprise Performance: Liberty High sophomore Ira Hazeltine against City High. Hazeltine scored 15 points in the first 12 games of the season but before exploding for a game-high 17 on 5-of-5 3-point shooting in a 66-57 win over the Little Hawks.

Best Under the Radar Performer: Clear Creek Amana junior Tyler Schrepfer. He didn’t put up huge stats, averaging 12.1 points and 2.9 assists per game, but Schrepfer was one of the biggest reasons Clear Creek Amana posted its first winning season in three years.

Newcomer of the Year: West High junior Nick Pepin. In his first season at West High Pepin shot a staggering 58 percent from 3-point range (38-of-66) while averaging 7.9 points and 2.8 assists per game.

Freshman of the Year: City High freshman Darren Richardson. Richardson didn’t play in the first six games of the season but finished the season by scoring in double figures in four of the final 12 games and averaged 6.4 in his debut season.

Most Valuable Player: West High senior Patrick McCaffery. This one was pretty simple as McCaffery cemented his status as one of the top players in the state with a dominating senior season. The 6-foot-8 McCaffery shot 59 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range while averaging a career-high 25.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game and directing West High back to the state tournament.

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