Breaking Down the Class 2A Boys State Basketball Tournament

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

The Matchups

No. 5 Boyden-Hull (22-2) vs. No. 8 Regina (20-2)

Regina enters the state tournament one of the hottest teams in Class 2A, riding a 15-game winning streak and coming off an impressive 25-point win over No. 10 Camanche in the substate finals.

The Regals are making their first state tournament appearance since finishing runner-up in 2005.

Regina shut down high-scoring Camanche in the substate final holding the Indians to a season low 44 points and ranks third among 2A qualifiers allowing 47.6 points per game.

The Regals face another stiff defensive test in their state opener against a Boyden-Hull squad that ranked sixth in 2A this season in scoring at 69.4 points per game.

Boyden-Hull won 18 straight games to open the season before losing two of three to end the regular season, dropping road games at state qualifier Rock Valley and Okoboji in a span of four days last month.

The Comets bounced back to win three postseason games, returning to the state tournament for the first time since winning the second of back-to-back state titles in 2013 with a 68-56 win over Pocahontas Area in the substate finals.

No. 1 North Linn (23-0) vs. Des Moines Christian (17-6)

The defending Class 1A runner-up North Linn hasn’t skipped a beat in its first season in Class 2A returning to the state tournament for the third consecutive season.

Just as it was the past two seasons in 1A, North Linn has been dominant throughout the season en route to the 2A state tournament averaging a state-best 90.3 points per game while outscoring opponents by a state-leading margin of 48.6 points per game.

Following an impressive regular season North Linn won back-to-back 12-point contests over perennial 2A powers Dyersville Beckman and defending 2A state champ Cascade to reach the state tournament.

Des Moines Christian upset eighth-ranked Treynor in a substate final to earn its first trip to the state tournament since 2016.

Half of the Lions’ six losses have come to state tournament qualifiers Van Meter and Grand View Christian including a six-point setback to Van Meter in the regular season finale.

Des Moines Christian has lost three straight state quarterfinals and is seeking its first state tournament win since a runner-up finish in 1999.

No. 6 Van Meter (21-2) vs. No. 7 Dike-New Hartford (21-1)

One team is going to snap a long state tournament drought on Monday.

Van Meter is seeking its first ever state tournament win in its fourth trip to state after falling in the 2A quarterfinals each of the past two seasons.

The Bulldogs have won five straight since back-to-back February losses and avenged a regular season loss to Pella Christian with a 48-46 win over the Eagles in the substate finals.

Van Meter has three players averaging better than 12.4 points per game led by senior center Ryan Schmitt at 15.2 points and junior Anthony Potthoff at 14.6 per game.

Dike-New Hartford returned to the state tournament for the first time since 2016 with an 81-53 win over Madrid in the substate finals and is seeking its first state win since 2000.

The Wolverines bring a 17-game winning streak to Wells Fargo Arena and haven’t lost since a 64-56 setback at Hudson on December 14.

Dike-New Hartford has three players averaging double figures led by senior Colton Harberts who leads the Wolverines with 15.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.

Senior Cade Fuller and sophomore Dane Fuller combined to give the Wolverines a strong backcourt duo that averages 25.2 points and 6.1 assists.

No. 3 South Hamilton (21-1) vs. Rock Valley (18-7)

South Hamilton is making its fourth state tournament appearance in six seasons and third in a row but is still seeking its first win at state since finishing runner-up in 1988.

The Hawks have been impressive all season, outscoring opponents by an average of more than 20 points per game and bring a 15-game winning streak into Monday’s 2A quarterfinals after winning three postseason games by nearly 30 points per game.

South Hamilton is among the most balanced teams in the 2A field with four players averaging better than 11.2 points per game.

Senior Conner Hill leads the way with 17 points per game but Logan Peters adds 14.5, Cole Berg 12.4 and Cade Balvanz adds 11.2 points per game.

Rock Valley returns to the state tournament for the first time since winning back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010 after an impressive postseason run.

The Rockets edged perennial power Western Christian 34-32 and upset second-ranked West Sioux before returning to state with a 61-46 win over OABCIG in the substate finals.

Rock Valley gets to the free throw line better than nearly any team in 2A, shooting 2A tournament field best 431 free throws.

Only three players in the 2A field have attempted more than 100 free throws this season with two, Brayton (128) and Elliot Van Kekerix (122) coming from Rock Valley.

The Faces

REGINA: Masen Miller, 6-1, Jr. Among the top point guards in the state Miller hit a state-best 97 3-pointers while shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc on his way to a career-best 20.6 points per game.

NORTH LINN: Jake Hilmer, 6-1, Sr. The state’s all-time assist and steals leader is the only player in state history with more 2,000 points and 1,000 assists and is averaging 25.8 points and 10.9 assists per game.

SOUTH HAMILTON: Conner Hill, 6-0, Sr. Leads the Hawks with 17 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4 assists and 2.3 steals per game.

VAN METER: Ryan Schmitt, 6-9, Sr. The top shot blocker in 2A with 3.4 swats per game Schmitt also leads the Bulldogs with 15.1 points and 9.7 rebounds per contest.

ROCK VALLEY: Brayton Van Kekerix, 6-0, Sr. Joins South Hamilton’s Conner Hill as the only state tournament participants to lead their teams in scoring (18), rebounds (5.6) assists (3.8) and steals (2.7).

DIKE-NEW HARTFORD: Colton Harberts, 6-6, Sr. Leads the Wolverines with 15.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game and is shooting 63 percent from the floor.

BOYDEN-HULL: Keyton Moser, 6-1, Jr. Another complete player in the 2A field, Moser ranks second on the team in scoring (12.2) and assists (3) and leads the Comets in rebounding (5.5), steals and blocks.

DES MOINES CHRISTIAN: Curran Ingram, 6-3, Jr. The only Des Moines Christian double-digit scorer this season at 15.2 per game, Ingram has averaged 18.3 during three postseason wins.

The Forecast

North Linn is seeking a second consecutive state title game appearance after falling in the 1A title game a year ago but face a stiff semifinal test against either Dike-New Hartford or Van Meter.

A Van Meter and North Linn semifinal would be a matchup of the top offensive team in 2A in North Linn (90.3) led by dynamic point guard Jake Hilmer against the top defensive team in Van Meter (39.2) and 2A’s top shot blocker in Ryan Schmitt.

There are several teams capable of reaching the finals opposite North Linn headlined by fifth-ranked Boyden-Hull and No. 3 South Hamilton.

The Favorite

Defending 1A runner-up North Linn enters as the favorite in its first appearance in the 2A state tournament.

The Lynx enter top-ranked and one of only two remaining unbeaten teams in the state and the lone undefeated left in 2A.

North Linn is new to the 2A field but not to the state tournament. Going 99-4 with a pair of state semifinal trips over the past three seasons.

The Focus

There will be a new champion in 2A this season after North Linn took out defending champ Cascade in the substate finals.

The entire 2A field has a new feel to it this season.

Only two teams from last year’s state tournament return and neither of those teams (South Hamilton and Van Meter) advanced past the quarterfinals.

No team in the 2A field has won a state title since 2003.

The Facts

*- North Linn has scored 100 points seven times this season. No other state qualifier in any class has cracked the century mark a single time.

North Linn 99-4 over the past four seasons

*- Van Meter is the top defensive team among all state qualifiers holding opponents to 39.2 points per game.

*- Boyden-Hull is the best free throw shooting team in 2A this season at 72 percent and has three players shooting 73 percent from the line or better.

* - Masen Miller leads the state with 97 three-pointers while shooting 44 percent from 3-point range and with three triples can become the fourth player in the past 13 seasons to make 100 3s.

* - The 251 assists for North Linn senior point guard Jake Hilmer are more than the team total of 40 Class 2A teams this season.

The Schedule

Monday’s Quarterfinals

No. 5 Boyden-Hull (22-2) vs. No. 8 Regina (20-2), 4:30 p.m.

No. 3 South Hamilton (21-1) vs. Rock Valley (18-7), 6:30 p.m.

No. 6 Van Meter (21-2) vs. No. 7 Dike-New Hartford (21-1), 8:15 p.m.

Tuesday’s Quarterfinals

No. 1 North Linn (23-0) vs. Des Moines Christian (17-6), 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday’s Semifinals

Boyden-Hull/Regina winner vs. South Hamilton/Rock Valley winner, 6:30 p.m. 

Van Meter/Dike-New Hartford winner vs. North Linn/Des Moines Christian winner, 8:15 p.m.

Friday’s Championship

Semifinal winners, 4:10 p.m.

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