FIRST-ROUND OPPONENT: Don Bosco (22-3), 11:15 a.m., Wells Fargo Arena
CO-HEAD COACHES: Greg DeBoer, Brian Luenberger.
PAST STATE TICKETS: 2 (1A state championship, 2006; 1A state runner-up, 2008)
STARTERS: Lucas Nagel, 6-3 Jr., 12.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg; Caleb Terhark, 6-3, Jr., 10.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg; Josh Haken, 6-2, Sr., 9.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg; Jayden Mauldin, 6-5, Sr., 8.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg; Landon Jumbeck, 6-4, Jr., 9.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg.
KEY RESERVES: Blake Johnson, 5-7, Jr., 6.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg; Matt Haken, 6-5, Soph., 5.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg; Payton Mauldin, 6-3, So., 3.5 ppg, 1.3 rpg.
HOOP SCOOP: Third-place finishers in the Class 2A-dominated Siouxland Conference behind Sioux Center and 2A state qualifier Sheldon, George-Little Rock shined defensively in four postseason games. Opponents shot a combined 30.9 percent from the field while averaging just 34.2 points per game against a scrappy, athletic and lengthy Mustangs squad that has six players standing anywhere from 6-foot-3 to 6-5. Among the squad’s defensive leaders are Matt Haken, who has 31 blocked shots and 15 steals while Jayden Maudlin has 28 blocked shots and 16 steals. Lucas Nagel has 22 blocked shots and 24 steals for a squad that overall, has allowed 50.6 points per game and have limited eight opponents under 50 points. There have also been four different scoring leaders down the tournament trail, including 62.1 percent shooting Caleb Terhark, the lone double-figure scorer with 15 points in the 47-25 substate final win over South O’Brien, a program that won the 2016 1A state title. Nagel has thrown 109 assists. Winners of seven straight games, the Mustangs were 9-1 against Class 1A teams.
A LOOK AT DON BOSCO: This matchup against George-Little Rock could turn out to be a defensive battle, as Don Bosco allows an average of 44.5 points. Winners in 14 of their last 15 games, the Dons have allowed fewer than 50 points in 11 of those contests. Both 6-4 senior Sean McFadden (15.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 29 blocked shots) and 5-11 junior Jack Kelley (14.3 ppg, 108 assists) scored 15 points in the 53-44 substate win over West Fork. Zach Nie, a 6-2 senior, averages 14.8 points and has made a team-high 74 3-point baskets while 6-foot sophomore Zach Huff has thrown 127 assists. It’s just the third state appearance for Don Bosco and the first since 1988.
Remsen St. Mary’s
FIRST-ROUND OPPONENT: Lynnville-Sully (22-3), 2:45 p.m., Wells Fargo Arena
HEAD COACH: Scott Ruden
PAST STATE TICKETS: 1 (1A fourth place, 2017)
STARTERS: Nicholas Ruden, 6-4, Sr., 13.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg; Spencer Schorg, 5-11, So., 12.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg; Brody Ricke, 6-2, Sr., 10.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg; Derrick Schorg, 6-4, Sr., 8.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg; Carter Kuchel, 6-2, Sr., 8.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg.
KEY RESERVES: Mitchell Schiltz, 5-10, Sr., 2.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg; Brett Galles, 6-1, Sr., 2.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg; Blaine Harpenau, 5-10, Fr., 1.3 ppg, 0.7 rpg.
HOOP SCOOP: Considering the four undefeated teams remaining in the entire state tournament field, Remsen St. Mary’s has the second-highest win total, one less than fellow 1A qualifier North Linn. Nicholas Ruden, son of the head coach, is a returning starter from last year’s 25-2 fourth-place team that made their state tournament debut along with Brody Ricke. Two of the squad’s starters are shooting better than 50 percent, Ruden (56.8 percent) and Derrick Schorg (51.8). Each of the squad’s starters saw significant playing time at Wells Fargo Arena a year ago, including sophomore Spencer Schorg, the squad’s leader with 53 3-point baskets. The Hawks’ 39.7-point defensive average is second in the 1A state field. Twelve times this season, the War Eagle Conference champions allowed fewer than 40 points. Ricke has a team-high 66 steals while Carter Kuchel and Derrick Schorg have 37 and 36, respectively, while Ruden has a team-best 23 blocked shots for a defense that in the final two wins before state, limited Kingsley-Pierson and IKM Manning to combined 28.5 percent shooting.
A LOOK AT LYNNVILLE-SULLY: Champions of the South Iowa Cedar League, Lynnville-Sully is one of four returning teams from last year’s field and overall, is making its 14th state appearance. Like the Hawks of Remsen St. Mary’s, the Hawks from Lynnville-Sully are defensive-minded, yielding 44 points per game. Fifteen times, the Hawks have allowed less than 50 points, including six times in a current 10-game winning streak. Brevin Hansen (12.0 ppg), a 5-10 senior, has a team-high 60 steals, six more than 6-3 senior Jesse Van Wyk (14.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 33 blocked shots). Tanner Foster (12.9 ppg), a 6-5 senior, has 22 blocked shots, three more than 6-3 junior Rylan James (8.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg).
-- Jerry Giese