Lone Tree senior Bryan Forbes knows that this state tournament run for the Lions was started in third grade, and was forged during the summer.
“That’s really when you get better,” Forbes said. “After last year, there were so many things we needed to work on. We had a really great offseason; one of the best we’ve ever had.”
Forbes split his time between playing with the Lions and also on a couple AAU teams (the Barnstormers and Mavericks).
Lone Tree coach Tom Squiers said he appreciated his top player making time to play with the hometown guys.
“He never missed anything we did as a team in the summer,” Squiers said. “He never put himself in front of his Lions. Its always been team first.”
Statistically, Forbes has had a dominant senior season. He comes to the state tournament having scored 617 points (23.7 per game), along with 237 rebounds (9.1 per game), 117 assists (4.5 per game), 113 steals and 51 blocked shots.
Forbes shoots 51.5 percent from the field, including 44.9 percent from 3-point range (61-of-136). He is an 82.1 percent shooter on the foul line.
At 6-foot-3 he often posts up, but also brings the ball up the court as a point guard.
“He’s kind of a multi-dimensional kid,” Squiers said. “He doesn’t get a lot of credit, but he’s a good defensive player and rebounder. He played four years as a defensive back, has good anticipation, and leads us in steals.”
One of seven seniors for the Lions, Forbes said they have been dreaming of this state tournament trip since third grade.
And Forbes has basketball in his bloodline. His uncle, Neal, was part of the Lone Tree team that won a state title in 1985. His brother and two cousins played on the Lone Tree 2007 state tournament team.
Neal’s son Logan, a senior and, and Bryan have been battling it out in rural Lone Tree for years. Either at the barn at Logan’s place or on a cement slab poured at Bryan’s.
“There’s been many battles on the courts by our houses,” Forbes said. “Back in the day, Logan and I played every day.”
“He’s a kid that grew up loving basketball,” Squiers said.
Bryan and Logan are part of a senior basketball class that includes Riley Stumpf, Gabe Lorack, Lucas Sieverding, Andy Dodson and Jordan Quigley.
“Its rare when you get seven kids that start out as third graders and stick it out until they are seniors,” Squiers said.
The Lions have all been working towards this day. Bryan Forbes has always been the bell cow, however.
“I really wanted to challenge every single one of these guys,” Forbes said. “We wanted to get (to state). So we just pushed each other a little.”
Mainly a scorer as an underclassman, Forbes worked at becoming a better teammate.
“Working without the ball, getting teammates open,” Forbes said. “I’ve gotten a lot smarter. I’m trying to be a leader.”
At the same time, when the Lions need to get something going, Forbes is the guy who lights the match.
“He’s our go-to guy,” Squiers said. “But he’s not trying to come out and get 39 points. He’d rather have five guys score 15 than him get 30. He’s a great leader.”
But when Forbes has to score more, he will. In the substate final against Dunkerton, Forbes had 38 points.
“I guess when it’s on, it’s on,” Forbes said. “If I need to score points, I’m going to try and score points. Everyone knows their roles. If I have to score zero points, and just get rebounds and play defense, that’s what is going to happen.
“That night I was feeling it, and everyone else knew it. We got the win with it.”
Forbes has his biggest games against some of the best teams. He had 39 points in a win over Bellevue Marquette, 31 against Iowa Mennonite, and 34 against Springville.
Despite his work over the summer and his play this season, Forbes is still trying to figure out his basketball future beyond this week.
He said he has several Iowa Conference teams interested in him, but is hoping a team higher than Division III will show interest.
“My future is up in the air right now,” Forbes said. “Other things have been popping up lately, as the season has gone on.
“I’m waiting until after state is over; hopefully we make a long run.”
Lone Tree opens at 2 p.m. today against defending state champion Boyden-Hull.