March 31, 2023

What to watch for at state hoops

Newton ranks 11th in Class 3A in made 3-pointers

I wrote a preview story for the upcoming boys’ state basketball tournament featuring the Newton Cardinals.

But, to get fans ready for the week, here are a few more things to watch for in the Class 3A field.

• Newton is averaging 63 points per game in its wins and only 49 points per contest in the losses. The Cardinals have scored 70 or more points six times, including five of their past nine games.

• On the flip side, Newton’s first-round opponent, North Polk, has scored 70 points just once and only reached 60 or more six times. The Comets are allowing 48 points per game, while the Cardinals are surrendering 49.6 points per contest.

• Newton ranks 11th in 3A with 176 made 3-pointers. That’s the second most in school history, trailing only the 2017 squad which also made the state tournament. That team buried 198 treys.

• Speaking of 3-pointers, expect the 3A quarterfinal game featuring second-seeded Cedar Rapids Xavier and seventh-seeded Des Moines Hoover to feature a bunch of shots from outside. The Saints rank seventh in 3A with 187 made 3s, while the Huskies are currently 10th with 179.

• Top-seeded Bondurant-Farrar is the only 3A team Newton has lost to. The Bluejays are first in the class with 273 made free throws and third-seeded Marion ranks third in 3A with 255 free throw makes.

• Bondurant-Farrar is one of the top scoring teams in 3A. The Bluejays, who could face Newton in the state semifinals if both teams win their quarterfinal games, rank fifth with 1,610 points. Their first-round opponent, No. 8 seed Algona, ranks fourth with 1,668 points.

• I have reported on Cole Plowman’s school records for blocks in a season and blocks in a career this winter. What I haven’t written about is the fact that his 3.0 blocks per game leads all of 3A.

Players to watch

• Bondurant-Farrar senior Colby Collison ranks eighth in 3A in scoring at 19.9 points per game. He’s also averaging 6.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.

• Marion senior Brayson Laube leads 3A in scoring at 22.5 points per contest. He’s averaging 4.4 boards, 3.2 assists and 1.4 steals, too.

• Des Moines Hoover senior Chase Henderson is the son of Hoover head coach Courtney Henderson and the nephew of former Iowa Hawkeye Duez Henderson. He ranks third in 3A in scoring at 21.7 points per game and also averages 4.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.6 steals per tilt.

• Hoover’s first-round opponent will be Cedar Rapids Xavier and the Saints are led by senior Aidan Yamilkoski, who is averaging 18 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.1 steals per game.

• Sixth-seeded Sioux City Bishop Heelan is led by junior Matt Noll, who is averaging 18 points, eight rebounds and 2.4 steals per game.

• Algona is the youngest team in the 3A field. Junior Landon Welp ranks eighth in the class in assists at 5.3 per game. Sophomore Alex Manske ranks sixth in rebounds at 9.8 per contest.

Predicting the winners of this year’s state tournament is maybe as tough as it’s ever been. The 1A champion likely will be Grand View Christian, but North Linn should be in the final. They are the only two undefeated teams left in the class.

The rest of the three classes are tougher to predict. Cedar Rapids Kennedy is the only undefeated left in 4A and Bondurant-Farrar is still unbeaten in 3A.

Contact Troy Hyde at thyde@shawmedia.com