Winter break is upon the high school sports scene and it’s shaping up to be one of the best races across the CIML in boy’s basketball. Without a dominant team and plenty of depth, the CIML appears to be wide open as we move to 2017. Today, we look at the the teams in each division as we move to the 2nd half of the year and give a predicted finish.
1. West Des Moines Valley (6-2)
The defending 4A champion Tigers are off to a solid start without the services of All State center Quinton Curry, who tore his ACL during the summer. Curry is back going through some drills and has an opportunity to be back with the team before the end of the regular season. Charley Crowley has been solid inside, Austin Hinkle is a dynamic athlete and scorer and Luke Sueppel has done a good job running the point. The Tigers have a great chance at making another run to the state tournament lead by head coach BJ Windhorst.
2. Waukee (5-2)
Waukee has dropped a pair of 1 possession games on the road at Mason City and Ames. The Warriors are lead to Drew Johnson on the perimeter and a big leap out of junior Nathan Johnson. Jacob Rau patrols the middle and gives Waukee a solid post presence while sophomores Noah Hart and Dylan Jones have plenty of upside for a team that can make a big run come March.
3. Ames (5-2)
The Little Cyclones have plenty of pieces to make a run to Wells Fargo Arena. The only losses in 2016 came on the road in West Des Moines at Dowling and Valley. Joe Evans continues his solid play inside, but the player that can push Ames to the next level is Chuol Chuol. The 6’3 senior has get to the rim and has hit 12 of 17 3 pointers on the year.
4. Ankeny (4-3)
The Hawks went into winter break off a tight win against crosstown rival Centennial 56-55. Drew Maschoff leads the Hawks, putting up over 22 points per game. The question remains inside on the depth on the interior for Ankeny.
5. Ankeny Centennial (4-3)
Sharp shooting senior Connor Kasperbauer leads the Jaguars into the new year. Hunter Strait has provided another weapon for the Jags over the past 2 games, putting up 10.5 points per contest. Centennial has a number of tough road games in the 2nd half of the season, including match ups at Ames, Roosevelt, Valley, Ankeny and Waukee.
6. Southeast Polk (1-6)
The rebuild continues for the Rams basketball program. The team lacks firepower to keep up with the elite of the CIML on the offensive end. 5 of the top 6 scorers will be back for next season, so it will be a year of development and growth for the Rams leading into 2017-18.
1. Dowling Catholic (6-1)
Junior Sam Ingoli has taken his game to the next level and gives the Maroons a chance to be a team to be reckoned with come March. Joey Kern can fill up the stat sheet and John Waggoner is a physical low post threat. This team can grind with the best teams in the state.
2. Johnston (4-2)
I’ve liked what I’ve seen from the Dragons to this point. Dawson Jones has dedicated himself to playing inside more and has filled out in his 6’7 frame. As a team, Johnston has only hit 28% of their 3s. With plenty of options to knock down those shots, I expect to see that number increase and the Dragons make a nice run in the 2nd half of the year.
3. Fort Dodge (4-2)
Fort Dodge is off to another solid start his year lead by Malcolm and Solomon Clayton. The Dodgers have winnable road games in the back half of the schedule and has a chance for a good seed come postseason play.
4. Mason City (5-2)
The Mohawks are lead by an elite scorer in Kyle Lang and picked up a really nice victory over Waukee. The Mohawks lead the division in scoring and 3 pointers. The back half of the schedule is loaded though and Mason City will have to be ready to go each and every night.
5. Urbandale (4-3)
The depth of this division shows with the J-Hawks showing up in the #5 spot in the power rankings. Urbandale has 3 players averaging double digits per game with Trevor Miller (15.3), Grant Garwood (12.0) & Eric Milewsky (10.2). Garwood is just a sophomore and this team has a chance to really make improvements in 2017.
6. Marshalltown (1-6)
Here’s to a fresh start for the Bobcats in 2017.
1. Des Moines North (5-3)
It’s a 3 team race for the top spot in the Metro division and I like to Polar Bears to take the top spot. The have a win in hand against Hoover already and get the Huskies at home in the return game, along with 2 games vs. Roosevelt. Tyreke Locure is one of top players in the 2019 class and has put up big numbers. He struggled in the game I called against Johnston with his shot and with jawing with officials. That needs to be reigned in if North is going to reach their peak.
2. Des Moines Hoover (4-3)
As expected, it’s another top flight defensive effort from Courtney Henderson’s Huskies. Douglas Wilson is a beast inside and they have a nice group of perimeter players to surround him. It might not always be pretty, but Hoover will be a tough out come March.
3. Des Moines Roosevelt (5-2)
The Roughriders are off to a nice start under Charles Zanders and are playing excellent on the defensive end. Ethan Shafer has really taken the leap in his senior year and has been confident with his shot throughout the year. I love the energy that 5’5 dynamo Sundiata Edwards provides, he’s one of my favorites to watch in the CIML.
4. Des Moines East (1-5)
The Scarlets haven’t found the winner circle often yet, but I expect that to change in 2017. East has 4 scorers in Daires Adems (12.5 PPG), George Dantzler (11.2) & Cameron Cramer (10.2) & Camet Soe (9.3). Expect to see some upsets from East in the new year.
5. Des Moines Lincoln (0-7)
It’s been a rough year at the Round House for the Railsplitters. They needs to have Nick Oliver find his outside stroke in 2017 to make a push.
6. Ottumwa (1-6)
A lot of youth fill the line up for the Bulldogs including sophomores Andrew Curran and Sam Yeaway. Expect to see improvements as the season moves on.