FRIDAY’S STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
GLADBROOK-REINBECK vs. MAPLE VALLEY/ANTHON-OTO
Time: 6:06 p.m.
2014 champion: West Lyon
About Gladbrook-Reinbeck (27-0): West Lyon set this mold for the Rebels last year. Take great athletes with state football success, add confident and skilled scorers, and roll into your first state tournament as a cohesive force. Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s football players shoot pretty well, and throwing in sophomore guard Joe Smoldt’s 31 and 20 points in big wins this week make the top-ranked and unbeaten Rebels a championship contender.
About MVAO (26-1): Shawn Flanigan’s semifinal buzzer beater took attention away from the fact that the Rams have proven they can play any style this week. MVAO’s lone loss this season came to 3-A Denison-Schleswig, and in close tournament wins over South O’Brien and Danville, it looked comfortable in a grind, a track meet and every tense situation in between. Flanigan, Derrik Kerns and Korey Kuhlmann are all 6-foot-1 seniors playing focused, effective, positionless basketball.
TREYNOR vs. IOWA CITY REGINA
Time: 8:06 p.m.
2014 champion: Western Christian (Hull)
About Treynor (23-3): How much do the Cardinals (and their fans) have left in the tank? A tight win over Forest City and star guard Erich Erdman was followed by Thursday afternoon’s overtime thriller against Aplington-Parkersburg, which tested every nerve and shred of execution coach Scott Rucker’s team could manage. All five starters scored in double figures against Aplington-Parkersburg, and earned Treynor’s first title game since 1972.
About Iowa City Regina (22-4): Since losing three straight games at the beginning of February, the football-crazy Regals have turned up their hoops intensity and returned to the state tournament for the first time since 2002. Top scorers Drew Cook and Nathan Stenger have helped ease coach Stu Ordman in his first season away from Cedar Rapids Jefferson. Pounding Pella Christian on Thursday should make up for any less rest the Regals have before the final.
STATE BOYS’ BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT THROUGH THE YEARS
1949: Le Mars players (from left) Dwight Wolbers, Jim Schultz, Eldon Clement and Jim Lorenzen diagram a play using a salt shaker, milk bottles and ketchup bottle.