Coach: Steve Bergmann (26th season at West High, 500-171 overall)
Assistant coaches: Gordon Rundquist, Marty Hanrahan, Nate Frese.
Last season: 25-1, third place, Class 4A
Returning starters: Wali Parks, 6-5, Sr., F; Connor McCaffery, 6-5, Jr., G; Devontae Lane, 6-1, Jr., G; Tanner Lohaus, 6-6, Sr., F; Alex Henderson, 6-2, Sr., G.
Other returning letter-winners: David Pederson, 6-2, Sr., G; Nate Barnes, 6-4, Sr., F; Dallas Majors, 6-2, Sr., G.
Newcomers to watch: Patrick McCaffery, 6-6, Fr., F; Nate Disterhoft, 6-3, Jr., F; Alex Kleinow, 6-6, Jr., C.
Headliner: Iowa commit Connor McCaffery led the Trojans in scoring (13 ppg) and assists (4.2) and was second on the team in rebounding (4.6) last season as a sophomore.
Keep an eye on: Northern Iowa recruit Tanner Lohaus averaged 11 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last season and shot better than 60 percent from the floor.
Circle the date: Dec. 5 vs. Apple Valley, Minn. The Trojans travel north to take on perennial power Apple Valley, winters of two of the last three Minnesota 4A titles.
Top storyline: Will West High return to the top of 4A for the fourth time in five seasons after falling in last year’s semifinals?
Outlook: The Trojans return five of their top six players from last year’s state runner-up team, including four who averaged double figures. Junior Devontae Lane (12.9 ppg) and senior Wali Parks (10.9) join McCaffery and Lohaus as returning double-digit scorers for West High, and senior Alex Henderson also returns after shooting better than 40 percent from 3-point range.
Coach: Don Showalter (fourth season, 588-336 overall)
Assistant coaches: Tyler Griffith, Ryan Lee, Rich Kroeze.
Last season: 7-16
Returning starters: Nate Wieland, 6-3, Jr., F; Chuck Johnson, 6-4, Jr., F; Micah Martin, 6-9, Sr., C; Nile Ringen, 6-3, Sr., G; Henry Mullingan, 5-10, Sr., G; Naeem Smith, 5-10, Jr., G.
Other returning letter-winners: Jason Jones, 6-2, Sr., F; Conrad Donnelly, 6-3, Sr., F; Gonzo Duarte, 6-6, Sr., C; Shamari Scott, 6-0, Sr., G.
Newcomers to watch: Vance Dillon, 6-2, Jr., G; Jared Taylor, 6-2, Jr., G.
Headliner: Junior Chuck Johnson was a second-team all-conference pick last season when he averaged nine points and seven rebounds per game.
Keep an eye on: At 6-foot-9, senior Micah Martin gives City High a presence in the post. He was playing his best at the end of a junior season in which he averaged 7.3 points and six rebounds per game.
Circle the date: Jan. 8 at West High. Little Hawks close out a three-game stretch in five days following the holiday break by facing their cross-town rival.
Top storyline: Can City High turn the close losses from last season (four losses by less than three points to ranked teams) into wins this year?
Outlook: The Little Hawks return six players with starting experience and 83 percent of their scoring from last year’s team that finished 7-13. Chuck Johnson averaged nine points and seven rebounds per game and was a second-team all-MVC pick last year. Senior guards Nile Ringen and Henry Mulligan both shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range.
Coach: Stu Ordmann (second season, 456-293 overall)
Assistant coaches: Jared Galpin, Barry Lehman.
Last season: 22-5, Class 2A runner-up
Returning starters: Nathan Stenger, 6-2, Sr., G; Nick Phillips, 5-10, Sr., G; Ethan Suchomel, 5-10, Sr., G.
Other returning letter-winners: Andrew Adamec, 6-1, Sr., F; Tommy Rapp, 6-4, Jr., F; Jack Jensen, 6-0, Jr., G.
Headliner: Senior Nathan Stenger was a third-team all-state pick last season after averaging 14.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
Keep an eye on: Senior guard Ethan Suchomel led the River Valley Conference in assists last season and had an assist to turnover ratio of 2.5 to 1.
Circle the date: Jan. 16 at Cascade. The first meeting between the two teams since Regina edged the Cougars in the opening round of last year’s state tournament.
Top storyline: How does Regina go about replacing the offensive production lost with the graduation of leading scorer Drew Cook?
Outlook: Regina returns three starters from last year’s team that won 22 games and finished runner-up in Class 2A. Stenger and Suchomel lead the list of returning starters, along with senior guard Nick Phillips.
Juniors Jack Jensen and Tommy Rapp and senior Andrew Adamec will all be in for larger roles this season.
Coach: Jason Pershing (second season, 10-12 overall).
Assistant coaches: Donnie Dobbs, Matt Lesan, Jacob Misener, Tyler Soensen.
Last season: 10-12
Returning starters: Streeter McIlravy, 6-2, Sr., G; Halston Durr, 5-9, Sr., G; Jacob Coons, 6-5, Jr., F.
Other returning letter-winners: Dylan Doyle, 5-9, Sr., G; Luke Ira, 6-1, Soph., G.
Newcomers to watch: Brevin Hill, 6-1, Sr., G; Adam Runyan, 6-6, Jr., F.
Headliner: Senior guard Streeter McIlravy was a first-team all WAMAC selection after leading the Spartans with 17 points and seven rebounds per game last year.
Keep an eye on: Junior Jacob Coons is a candidate for a breakthrough season after averaging 10 points and five rebounds per game a year ago.
Circle the date: Dec. 21 vs. Cedar Rapids Kennedy. Solon closes out its pre-holiday schedule by hosting the 2015 Class 4A state-qualifying Cougars.
Top storyline: Are the Spartans in line for a big step forward in the second season under head coach Jason Pershing?
Outlook: Solon returns three starters that all averaged double figures from last year’s team that finished 10-12. Senior Halston Durr (11 points, three rebounds per game) joins McIlravy and Coons as returning starters for the Spartans. Expect key contributions from senior Dylan Doyle and sophomore Luke Ira.
Clear Creek Amana
Coach: Steve Ottoson (22nd season, 363-424 overall)
Assistant coaches: Mark Stern, Josh Hogue.
Last season: 16-7
Returning starters: Jake Neubauer, 5-11, Sr., G; Cal Miller, 5-11, Sr., G.
Other returning letter-winners: Evan Downes, 6-5, Sr., F; Aaron Akers, 6-1, Sr., F; Kahler Green, 5-11, Sr., G.
Newcomers to watch: Tyler Hallet, 6-4, Jr., C; Tate Thomsen, 6-2, Jr., G; Drake Mougin, 6-0, Jr., G.
Headliner: Senior guard Jake Neubauer was a first-team all-WAMAC performer last year, averaging 12.3 points per game.
Keep an eye on: Senior guard Cal Miller is a dangerous 3-point shooter and average 9.2 points per game last season on his way to second-team all-conference honors.
Circle the date: Jan. 8 vs. Williamsburg. The fourth game in the midst of a five-game home stretch comes against a Williamsburg team that handed the Clippers three losses a year ago.
Top storyline: Can the Clippers build on the momentum of last year’s 16-win campaign?
Outlook: Clear Creek Amana returns just two starters from last year’s 16-7 team, but they are a couple of good ones in Neubauer and Miller. Senior forward Evan Downes is a candidate for a breakthrough season, while Aaron Akers and Kahler Green both return with game experience.
Coach: Chris Kern (fourth season, 21-46 overall)
Assistant coaches: Kelby Bender, Bud Bender, Erik Grunder, Kaleb Duwa.
Last season: 1-21
Returning starters: Nolan Faselt, 6-0, Sr., G; Ryan Cortum, 5-10, Sr., G; Noah Altenhofen, 6-5, Sr., C.
Other returning letter-winners: Nathan Reed, 6-3, Jr., F; Caleb Statler, 6-8, Jr., C; Ben Stone, 6-2, Sr., G; Derek Rich, 6-1, Jr., F.
Headliner: Senior shooting guard Faselt is the top returning scorer for the Golden Hawks after averaging 9.5 points per game last year.
Keep an eye on: Senior point guard Ryan Cortum expects to see a big jump in production this year with a season running the Golden Hawks offense under his belt.
Circle the date: Dec. 22 at West Branch. The Golden Hawks wrap up their pre-holiday schedule with a key RVC South division road contest.
Top storyline: Can the Golden Hawks bounce back from last year’s uncharacteristic down season?
Outlook: Mid-Prairie experienced plenty of growing pains as a young roster struggled to a one-win season. A year after breaking in four new starters the Golden Hawks will look to three returning starters to lead the way as they attempt to improve on last year’s 1-21 record. Senior forward Noah Altenhofen returns with starting experience, along with guards Nolan Faselt and Ryan Cortum.
Coach: Tom Burger (first season)
Assistant coaches: Butch Pedersen, Ron Ewald, Cole Cook.
Last season: 12-11
Returning starters: Matt Shawver, 5-10, Sr., G; Alex Hamer, 6-3, Sr., C; Cooper Koenig, 6-2, Sr., F; Cooper Kabela, 6-3, Jr., F.
Other returning letter-winners: Taylor Perks, 5-10, Sr., G; Brandon Rummelhart, 6-0, Jr., F; Hunter Wargo, 6-0, Sr., F.
Newcomers to watch: Ben Thompson, 5-10, Soph., G; Trevor Thein, 5-10, Soph., G; Cade Aspelmeier, 5-10, Soph., G; Beau Cornwell, 5-11, Fr., G.
Headliner: With the size (6-foot-3) to score in the paint and the ability to shoot from the perimeter, senior Alex Hamer gives West Branch a versatile scorer to center its offense on.
Keep an eye on: Senior forward Cooper Koenig should be impact player in the front court in his first full season at West Branch.
Circle the date: Dec. 18 vs. Regina. The first of two meetings between the two RVC rivals.
Top storyline: What will West Branch look like in the first season under new head coach Tom Burger?
Outlook: Head coach Tom Burger inherits a West Branch squad that brings back three starters from a team that won 12 games and adds talented senior Cooper Koenig, who transferred from West Liberty late last season. Senior guard Matt Shawver returns in the backcourt, while Koenig and junior Cooper Kabela will team with senior center Alex Hamer to give the Bears a talented frontcourt.
Coach: James Laughlin (10th season, 109-161 overall)
Last season: 4-18
Returning starters: Brady Smith, Sr. F; Noah Feldman, Jr., G; Parker Feldman, Sr., G; Evan Dalton, Sr., G.
Other returning letter-winners: Simon Stecker, Sr., F; Austin Goddard, Sr., F.
Newcomers to watch: Tanner Iske, Soph., G; Seth Feldman, Fr., G.
Headliner: Sturdy senior Brady Smith was an all-conference pick last year after averaging 13 points per game. He is the centerpiece of the Comets’ offense.
Keep an eye on: Junior Noah Feldman will benefit from the extra attention opponents give Smith and should improve on his 5.2 points per game from a year ago.
Circle the date: Jan. 7 vs. West Branch. Comets host long-time rivals in a mid-week conference matchup.
Top storyline: Will Smith emerge as one of the River Valley Conference’s best scorers and help West Liberty improve on its four wins from last year?
Outlook: The Comets return four starters from last year’s squad, including its top scorer in Smith. Parker and Noah Feldman both have plenty of game experience and freshman guard Seth Feldman is expected to step in and add minutes in the backcourt. Austin Goddard and Evan Dalton also return with starting experience.
Coach: Marcus Hall (fifth season, 51-40)
Assistant coaches: Josh Berry, Talon McFarland.
Last season: 18-5
Returning starters: Nick Sandburg, 6-2, Sr., F; Tucker Hall, 5-10, Sr., G; Trent Lasek, 5-11, Jr., G; Bill Burton, 6-0, Jr., G.
Other returning letter-winners: Chris Mellinger, 6-4, Sr., F; Tereze Lanfair, 6-3, Sr., F; Jake Wood, 5-11, Jr., G; Chase Rath, 5-11, Jr., F; Bryce Clark, 6-2, Jr., F.
Newcomers to watch: Trey Lasek, 6-1, Fr., G.
Headliner: A unanimous first-team all-SEISC pick last year, junior Trent Lasek returns to lead the high-powered Huskie offense.
Keep an eye on: Lasek’s running mate in the backcourt, senior Tucker Hall, hall had his own strong senior a year ago, earning first-team all conference honors.
Circle the date: Jan. 26 vs. Lone Tree. The SEISC North Division title could be up for grabs when the Huskies host the rival Lions.
Top storyline: Can Highland unseat rival Lone Tree for the top spot in the SEISC North?
Outlook: Expectations at Highland are as high as they’ve been in years, with four starters, including a pair of first-team all-conference picks, back from last year’s 18-5 squad. Guards Hall and Lasek lead the way along with forward Nick Sandburg, who was a second-team all-conference pick, and Bill Burton, who was an honorable mention all-conference selection. Freshman Trey Lasek will add depth along with seniors Chris Mellinger, Tereze Lanfair and juniors Jake Wood, Chase Rath and Bryce Clark.
Coach: Tom Squiers (27th season,, 385-208)
Assistant coaches: Travis Pierson.
Last season: 19-5, 16-2 SEISC North Division
Returning starters: Jovonte Squiers, 6-1, Jr., G.
Other returning letter-winners: Jared Hudson, 5-8, Sr., G; Ross Swinton, 6-0, Jr., G; Niko Gosnell, 6-7, Jr., F; Dawson Swails, 6-3, Jr., F; Michael Schmidt, 6-3, Jr., F.
Newcomers to watch: Casey Shalla, 6-2, Soph., F; Brock Smith, 6-3, Soph., C; Trey Pierson, 5-10, Jr., G; Carter Jacque, 5-9, Jr., G; Sam Fuhrmeister, 5-9, Jr. G.
Headliner: Junior point guard Jovonte Squiers was a first-team all-conference pick last season after averaging 13.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and a team-high six assists per game.
Keep an eye on: Junior guard Niko Gosnell has shot up to 6-foot-7 since last season, making him a potential matchup nightmare for opponents.
Circle the date: Dec. 12 vs. Highland. The first of two meetings between the two rivals will play a key role in the SEISC North Division race.
Top storyline: With one returning starter, can the Lions defend their SEISC North Division title?
Outlook: The Lions return just one starter from last year’s SEISC North Division champion squad, but it is a good one in junior point guard Jovonte Squiers. Long-time coach Tom Squiers expects to get key contributions from 6-3 juniors Brock Swails and Michael Schmidt as well as guards Jared Hudson and Ross Swinton.
Coach: Dwight Gingerich (35th season, 609-163)
Assistant coaches: Aaron Gingerich.
Last season: 14-9
Returning starters: Eli Gingerich, 6-2, Sr., G; Nick Yutzy, 6-0, Jr., G.
Other returning letterwinners: Jacob Schmieder, 6-2, Sr., F; Drake Brezina, 6-2, Jr., F.
Newcomers to watch: Finny Lackender, 6-0, Jr., F; Cole Yoder, 6-2, Jr., F; Reggie Borntrager, 5-9, Soph., F; Mitchell Schmieder, 6-4, Soph., F; Cole Ours, 5-6, Soph., G; Caleb Gingerich, 5-8, Fr., G.
Headliner: Gingerich averaged 14.8 points and 5.2 assists last season on his way to being named SEISC North Division player of the year.
Keep an eye on: Junior Nick Yutzy averaged 10 points per game before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Circle the date: Jan. 5 vs. Lone Tree. If Iowa Mennonite is going to make a push in the SEISC North, a home win over the defending champions would be a great start.
Top storyline: Can Iowa Mennonite challenge for the SEISC North Division title?
Outlook: Iowa Mennonite brings back a pair of starters from last year’s team that went 14-9, but they are a couple of good ones in backcourt mates Yutzy and Gingerich. Junior Drake Brezina and senior Jacob Schmieder should step into bigger roles in the frontcourt after getting experience last eason off the bench.