Breaking Down the Class 4A Boys State Basketball Tournament

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

The Matchups

No. 2 Waukee (20-2) vs. West Des Moines Dowling (13-10)

One of two regular season rematches in the 4A quarterfinals has a pair of CIML rivals meeting for the second time in 2019.

Waukee won the regular season meeting 72-47 back on January 15 as part of 15 straight wins to open the season.

The Warriors lost two of their final five games to close the regular season but rebounded to return to state with a 45-38 substate final win over Des Moines Hoover.

Waukee snapped a string of six consecutive state quarterfinal losses last season with the first state tournament win in program history before falling to West High in the semifinals.

Senior forward Dylan Jones (14.5 points) is back from last year’s semifinal team but Waukee has an infusion on young talent led by sophomores Tucker DeVries (10.5 ppg) and Payton Sandfort (6.3 ppg).

West Des Moines Dowling is the Cinderella of the 4A postseason, knocking off fellow underdog Southeast Polk 44-40 in a substate final.

The Maroons started 5-8 but have won eight of their last 10 entering the state tournament.

Dowling has lost six consecutive quarterfinals, with two of their last three trips ending in opening round overtime defeats, and is seeking its first win at state since 1992.

Junior guard Matt Stillwell leads Dowling in scoring at 13.2 points per game.

No. 4 West High (17-4) vs. No. 5 Dubuque Senior (17-3)

Another opening round rematch between conference foes pits Mississippi Valley Conference powers West High and Dubuque Senior in one of the most intriguing 4A quarterfinals.

West High won the first meeting 53-51 in Dubuque all the way back on December 11, building a 28-19 halftime lead and withstanding a late Ram rally.

Dubuque Senior rattled off 13 consecutive wins following that loss to West High and has won 16 of 17 entering the state tournament after a 64-55 upset of second-ranked Bettendorf in the substate final.

The Rams are making their fifth trip to state in the last eight seasons but have lost back-to-back quarterfinals.

West High meanwhile returns to state for the ninth straight season and has been to the state semifinals in each of its past eight trips.

The defending 4A runner-up, West High is seeking a seventh state title game appearance in the past nine seasons.

Each team has a standout scorer. For Dubuque Senior it is 6-foot-5 Noah Carter, a matchup problem that is averaging 22.6 points and nine rebounds per game on 57 percent shooting.

West High counters with its own matchup nightmare in 6-foot-8 Patrick McCaffery who leads 4A qualifiers with 25.6 points per game.

No. 1 North Scott (22-1) vs. Ames (17-4)

Two of the top defensive teams in the 4A field meet in what could turn into a grinder of an opening round matchup.

North Scott is making its second straight tournament appearance after falling to West Des Moines Valley in the quarterfinals last season and is seeking its first trip to the semifinals since winning the 2015 title.
The Lancers lead 4A in points allowed, giving up 42.3 per game and have held each of its last three opponents to 40 points or fewer.

North Scott is led by junior Northern Iowa recruit Ty Anderson (13.3 ppg) and senior guard Cortaviaus Seales (14.8 ppg).

Ames returns to the state tournament for the first time since 2015 led by its own strong duo of 6-foot-7 senior Japannah Kellog (16.3 ppg) and freshman sensation Tamin Lipsey (17.3 ppg).

The Little Cyclones rank second in 4A in points against, giving up just 43.7 per game.

No. 7 Cedar Falls (18-3) vs. No. 6 Sioux City East (21-1)

While two 4A quarterfinals feature regular season rematches while this opening round matchup is a rematch of last season’s state opener won by Cedar Falls 75-47.

The Tigers rolled past Sioux City East in its opener a year ago on its way to the 4A title but the Raiders get a shot a revenge this year.

Sioux City East enters as the top scoring team in the 4A field averaging 76 points per game, second most in 4A this season.

East has offensive options with three players averaging better than 14.1 points per game led by senior sharpshooter Aidan Vanderloo.

Vanderloo is averaging 23.3 points per game while shooting 52 percent from 3-piont range and has help from 6-foot-7 senior Javonte Keck (14.1 ppg) and Jaleque Dunson (16.3 ppg).

Cedar Falls is back to defend its title and has won 10 of 11 following an emphatic 58-45 win over Linn-Mar in the substate final.

The Tigers are led by 6-foot-4 senior Logan Wolf (15.3 ppg) but have five other players averaging better than 6.3 points per game led by junior Josh Ollendieck (11.1).

The Faces

WEST HIGH: Patrick McCaffery, 6-8, Sr. Iowa recruit ranks third in Class 4A in scoring at 25.6 points per game while shooting 59 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range.

NORTH SCOTT: Ty Anderson, 6-6, Jr. Led a balanced Lancer attack with team-highs of 13.5 points and 8.3 rebounds while shooting 58 percent from the field.

SIOUX CITY EAST: Aidan Vanderloo, 6-2, Sr. Among the top shooters in the state Vanderloo has hit 52 percent of his 3-point attempts while averaging a career-best 23.3 points per game.

WAUKEE: Dylan Jones, 6-8, Sr. The top shot blocker in 4A with 68 blocks this season Jones is a factor on both ends averaging a team-high 14.5 points while shooting an impressive 76 percent from the floor.

CEDAR FALLS: Logan Wolf, 6-4, Sr. Wolf is the biggest reason the Tigers are back to defend their 4A title after lead the team in scoring (15.3), assists (4.6) and steals (1.7).

DUBUQUE SENIOR: Noah Carter, 6-5, Sr. Northern Iowa recruit fills the state sheet as well as anyone in the state averaging 22.6 points, 9 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.3 blocked shots per game.

AMES: Tamin Lipsey, 6-1, Fr. The freshman point guard already drawing recruiting interest from big-time colleges and led the Little Cyclones in scoring (17.3) and assists (4.8) in his debut season.

WEST DES MOINES DOWLING: Ryan Riggs, 6-8, Soph. Averaged 12.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and led the Maroons with 36 blocked shots.

The Forecast

One of the most wide open 4A tournaments in recent years makes this one of the toughest to predict in recent memory.

Waukee should be able to get past eighth-seeded West Des Moines Dowling and recent state experience gives the edge to West High in its opener against Dubuque Senior setting up a rematch of last year’s semifinal won by West High 58-50.

North Scott will have to shake a talented Ames squad in the quarters to set up a semifinal with defending champ Cedar Falls which gets a quarterfinal rematch with Sioux City East.

A second consecutive West High/Cedar Falls title game would make for a good redemption story for the Trojans who have lost the last three to the Tigers.

The Favorite

There is no clear-cut favorite in a field as balanced as any in recent history that features several teams capable of wearing the 4A crown on Friday night.

The list of potential champions starts with top-ranked North Scott and includes top-seeded Waukee, defending champion Cedar Falls and perennial title contender and last year’s runner-up West High.

Throw in Dubuque Senior and one-loss Sioux City East and more than half the teams in the 4A field could be serious title contenders.

The Focus

After going two years between titles the Mississippi Valley Conference has won each of the last two 4A championships.

The MVC and CIML each have three teams in the 4A field this season with the Mississippi Athletic Conference (North Scott) and the Missouri River Conference (Sioux City East) each sending one.

Over the last decade the MVC has had six championships from three different teams (West High, Cedar Falls and Linn-Mar) and accounted for nearly half of the finalists during that time with nine after Cedar Falls defeated West High for last year’s title.

There has never been all-MVC finals in back-to-back years.

Five Fast Facts

*- West High is 13-4 in state quarterfinal games under head coach Steve Bergman.

*- North Scott ranks second in the state in fewest turnovers, committing just 6.7 per game.

*- The top three teams in 4A in points allowed are all in the 4A field as North Scott (42.3), Ames (43.7) and Waukee (44.8) are all holding opponents under 45 points per game.

*- Dubuque Senior is one of the top free throw shooting team in the state, ranking third at 77.2 percent from the line. Every Ram with more than 10 free throw attempts shoots better than 66 percent from the charity stripe.

*- The top three scorers in the 4A field average better than 22 points per game while shooting better than 53 percent from the field. Patrick McCaffery of West High (25.6/59%), Aidan Vanderloo of Sioux City West (23.3/54%) and Noah Carter of Dubuque Senior (22.6/57%).

The Schedule

Tuesday’s Quarterfinals

No. 7 Cedar Falls (18-3) vs. No. 6 Sioux City East (21-1), 6:30 p.m.

No. 1 North Scott (22-1) vs. Ames (17-4), 8:15 p.m.

Wednesday’s Quarterfinals

No. 2 Waukee (20-2) vs. West Des Moines Dowling (13-10), 10:30 a.m.

No. 4 West High (17-4) vs. No. 5 Dubuque Senior (17-3), 12:15 p.m.

Thursday’s Semifinals

Cedar Falls/Sioux City East winner vs. North Scott/Ames winner, 6:30 p.m.

Waukee/West Des Moines Dowling winner vs. West High/Dubuque Senior winner, 8:15 p.m.

Friday’s Championship

Semifinal winners, 8:35 p.m.

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