Western Iowa Conference NEW

(KMAland) -- The winter sports season is right around the corner, and we are getting you ready with daily conference previews. No. 19 is the Western Iowa Conference boys basketball preview. 

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Bluegrass Conference Girls Basketball

Pride of Iowa Conference Girls Basketball

Missouri River Conference Wrestling

KMAland Boys Bowling

Corner Conference Girls Basketball

Pride of Iowa Conference Wrestling


2021-22 WESTERN IOWA CONFERENCE BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Six teams had positive point differentials last season from the Western Iowa Conference. Three of them were in double digits per game, and two of those shared the WIC championship. Here’s a look at how it lined up.

AHSTW Vikings — 20-3 overall, 14-2 conference

Treynor Cardinals — 19-5 overall, 14-2 conference

Tri-Center Trojans — 20-4 overall, 13-3 conference

Logan-Magnolia Panthers — 10-10 overall, 7-8 conference

Underwood Eagles — 10-10 overall, 7-8 conference

Riverside Bulldogs — 12-11 overall, 6-9 conference

Audubon Wheelers — 8-14 overall, 5-11 conference

IKM-Manning Wolves — 6-14 overall, 4-11 conference

Missouri Valley Big Reds — 2-20 overall, 0-16 conference

COACHES 

AHSTW: GG Harris

Audubon: Coleman Mullenix

IKM-Manning: Keith Wagner

Logan-Magnolia: Levi Ettleman

Missouri Valley: Jeff Miller

Riverside: Nick Kroon

Treynor: Scott Rucker

Tri-Center: Chad Harder

Underwood: Brad Blum

FROM THE STAT BOOK

•You might want to remember this: AHSTW (nor AHST) has never been to the state tournament. However, Shelby (3 times) and Walnut (1 time) have been. Shelby went in 1950, 1956 and 1957 while Walnut went in 2000.

•Audubon has advanced to three state tournaments, including 1987 when they finished third behind the leadership of Bill Henkenius. The Wheelers also went in 1999 and 2000 under Bob Monahan.

•IKM-Manning went to the 2010 and 2016 state tournaments. Manning and IKM also have a little history with Manning taking second in 2004 and fourth in 2005. Those Manning trips were led by current Wolves coach Keith Wagner. IKM went in 1991 and 2007, finishing second in the former. Manilla advanced in 1975, 1976 and 1987, and Irwin won the whole dang thing in 1926. 

•Logan-Magnolia advanced to state in 1981 and 1992 behind coach Gordon Fliehe. Logan was also there in 1936 under the great Bob Evans.

•Missouri Valley has one state tournament trip, and it came all the way back in 1927 behind Glen Gilkerson. 

•Riverside advanced to state behind the great Ricky Williams and head coach Jason Shelangouski back in 2013. Oakland made a state trip in 1985 and 1986, finishing third in the latter. Daryl Nelson led both of those Oakland teams. 

•There are 34 “Treynor” finds when you search the stat book. They have been to 16 state tournaments in school history, including a 2015 state championship. Four coaches have led the Cardinals to state: Don Barnes (1), Jerry Christensen (7), Dick Fairchild (3) and Scott Rucker (5).

•Tri-Center has been to state six times, including five times under Carl Cochran — a current assistant coach. They went in 1970, 1986, 1995, 1997, 2007 and 2008. 

•Seems pretty crazy to write this, but Underwood has never been to a state tournament. 

Let’s get on with the top-returning players.

TOP-RETURNING SCORERS 

The top scorer in the conference is gone, but there are four of the top six returning. The depth of the league, though, is gone a bit with only five of the top 13 coming back. Here’s the top 15 returning scorers by points per game:

1. Raydden Grobe, Senior, AHSTW: Grobe scored 18.7 points per game last season to rank second in the conference.

2. Brayden Lund, Junior, AHSTW: The top-returning underclassmen scorer, Lund put in 17.6 points per game for the Vikings last year.

3. Kyle Sternberg, Junior, AHSTW: Word? AHSTW has the top three returning scorers in the conference with Sternberg bringing back his 16.8-point per game average.

4. Grady Jeppesen, Sophomore, Riverside: The top freshman scorer in the conference last season, Jeppesen put in 16.4 points per game. This is the last of the top six from last year.

5. Baker Lally, Senior, Logan-Magnolia: Lally ranked 11th in the conference with 12.0 points per game during his junior year. 

The rest of the top 15:

6. Carson Bauer, Junior, Audubon: 10.4 PPG

7. Will Gutzmer, Senior, Missouri Valley: 10.2 PPG

8. Brody Lager, Sophomore, Missouri Valley: 9.4 PPG

9. Gavin Smith, Senior, Audubon: 9.2 PPG

10. Brody West, Senior, Logan-Magnolia: 9.1 PPG

11. Thomas Schwartz, Senior, Treynor: 8.7 PPG

12. Kent Elliott, Junior, Tri-Center: 7.8 PPG

13. Cole Staska, Senior, Missouri Valley: 7.0 PPG

14. Aiden Bell, Junior, Riverside: 6.1 PPG

15. Nicio Adame, Junior, Logan-Magnolia: 5.7 PPG

AHSTW, Logan-Magnolia and Missouri Valley have three of the top 15 here. Audubon and Riverside both have two. Here are the top returning scorers for IKM-Manning and Underwood:

19. Alex Ravlin, Junior, Underwood: 5.3 PPG

20. Cooper Irlmeier, Junior, IKM-Manning: 5.2 PPG

TOP-RETURNING REBOUNDERS 

The top three and six of the top eight rebounders from last year’s conference are graduated and gone. Here are the top 15 returnees by rebounds per game:

1. Gavin Smith, Senior, Audubon: Smith was fourth in the conference last season with 7.8 rebounds per game.

2. Brayden Lund, Junior, AHSTW: Lund is the second returning scorer and the second returning rebounder after his 7.6 grabs per game last season were good for fifth.

3. Connor Murray, Senior, Missouri Valley: The dual-sporter, Murray averaged 6.6 rebounds per game to rank ninth.

4. Kyle Sternberg, Junior, AHSTW: Another AHSTW Viking here with Sternberg, who averaged 6.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore. 

5. Calvin Wallis, Junior, Logan-Magnolia: Safe bet that Wallis had the most interceptions in football among our top returnees. He ranked 13th last year with 5.4 boards per game.

The rest of the top 15:

6. Raydden Grobe, Senior, AHSTW: 5.2 RPG

7. Kent Elliott, Junior, Tri-Center: 5.0 RPG

8. Will Gutzmer, Senior, Missouri Valley: 4.9 RPG

9. Baker Lally, Senior, Logan-Magnolia: 4.4 RPG

10. Thomas Schwartz, Senior, Treynor: 4.0 RPG

11. Nicio Adame, Junior, Logan-Magnolia: 4.0 RPG

12. Carson Bauer, Junior, Audubon: 3.9 RPG

13. Jackson Deist, Senior, Audubon: 3.4 RPG

14. Ethan Dickerson, Junior, Treynor: 3.4 RPG

15. Cole Staska, Senior, Missouri Valley: 3.4 RPG

Six of the nine teams are represented here with three each for AHSTW, Audubon, Logan-Magnolia and Missouri Valley and two for Treynor. The other three teams’ top returning rebounders:

16. Grady Jeppesen, Sophomore, Riverside: 3.3 RPG

24. Jack Vanfossan, Sophomore, Underwood: 2.2 RPG

25. Cooper Irlmeier, Junior, IKM-Manning: 2.2 RPG

TOP-RETURNING ASSISTS 

Two of the top three and five of the top 10 in total assists last season are back. Here’s the top 15 returnees:

1. Thomas Schwartz, Senior, Treynor: This is the first statistic we’ve come across with last year’s leader coming back. Schwartz topped the conference with 129 assists.

2. Cole Scheffler, Junior, AHSTW: Scheffler ranked third last season with 110 assists and had only 49 turnovers on the season.

3. Kyle Sternberg, Junior, AHSTW: Great handles on the wing and great distribution, too, for Sternberg, who passed out 68 assists to rank seventh last year.

4. Baker Lally, Senior, Logan-Magnolia: Lally was eighth in the conference last season with 59 assists.

5. Raydden Grobe, Senior, AHSTW: A third AHSTW Viking in the top five returnees, and it’s Grobe, who had 57 assists on the year.

The rest of the top 15:

6. Nicio Adame, Junior, Logan-Magnolia: 56 assists

7. Brayden Lund, Junior, AHSTW: 47 assists

8. Brody West, Senior, Logan-Magnolia: 43 assists

9. Ayden Salais, Junior, Riverside: 42 assists

10. Grady Jeppesen, Sophomore, Riverside: 38 assists

10. Michael Turner, Junior, Tri-Center: 38 assists

12. Connor Murray, Senior, Missouri Valley: 32 assists

13. Aiden Bell, Junior, Riverside: 30 assists 

13. Cooper Irlmeier, Junior, IKM-Manning: 30 assists

13. Calvin Wallis, Junior, Logan-Magnolia: 30 assists

AHSTW and Logan-Magnolia have FOUR each on this list, so expect those two teams to share the ball pretty well. Riverside is the only other with multiples, posting three in the top 15. Here are the 

18. Carson Bauer, Junior, Audubon: 25 assists 

18. Bryce Patten, Senior, Underwood: 25 assists

TOP-RETURNING STEALS 

Five of the top nine in total steals last season are gone. Here’s a look at the top 15 returnees:

1. Cole Scheffler, Junior, AHSTW: Scheffler was the only player in the conference last season with 100+ assists and 60+ steals. He had 62 steals to rank second in the league.

2. Brayden Lund, Junior, AHSTW: Lund was the only player in the league with 150+ rebounds and 50+ steals a season ago. He had 50 thieveries exactly to rank fourth.

3. Kyle Sternberg, Junior, AHSTW: Sternebrg ranked fifth in the conference last season with 49 steals.

4. Baker Lally, Senior, Logan-Magnolia: Lally tied for sixth last season with 44 steals.

5. Raydden Grobe, Senior, AHSTW: Grobe ranked 10th in the conference last year with 41 steals, and if you think we’re done with the Vikings then you’re wrong.

The rest of the top 15:

6. Nick Denning, Sophomore, AHSTW: 40 steals

6. Will Gutzmer, Senior, Missouri Valley: 40 steals

8. Brody West, Senior, Logan-Magnolia: 39 steals

9. Nicio Adame, Junior, Logan-Magnolia: 36 steals

9. Grady Jeppesen, Sophomore, Riverside: 36 steals

11. Thomas Schwartz, Senior, Treynor: 34 steals

12. Aiden Bell, Junior, Riverside: 31 steals

13. Kent Elliott, Junior, Tri-Center: 28 steals

13. Brody Lager, Sophomore, Missouri Valley: 28 steals

13. Connor Murray, Senior, Missouri Valley: 28 steals

AHSTW has five on the list, as you can see, while Logan-Magnolia and Missouri Valley have three each and Riverside has two on the list. Here are the other teams’ top-returning players in total steals:

16. Gavin Smith, Senior, Audubon: 25 steals

20. Bryce Patten, Senior, Underwood; 16 steals

23. Cooper Irlmeier, Junior, IKM-Manning: 14 steals

TOP-RETURNING BLOCKS 

The top two and three of the top four in total blocks last year are gone, but nine of the top 13 are returning. Here’s the top 15 returnees:

1. Kyle Sternberg, Junior, AHSTW: Look, another AHSTW player leading a category. Stenebrg was third in the conference last season with 32 blocks.

2. Raydden Grobe, Senior, AHSTW: Grobe finished last season with 26 blocks for the Vikings.

3. Brayden Lund, Junior, AHSTW: Lund was sixth in the conference a year ago with 25 blocks.

4. Will Gutzmer, Senior, Missouri Valley: Gutzmer ranked seventh last season with 22 blocks.

5. Ethan Dickerson, Junior, Treynor: The Treynor junior was eighth last season with 16 blocks.

The rest of the top 15:

6. Jackson Deist, Senior, Audubon: 11 blocks

6. Calvin Wallis, Junior, Logan-Magnolia: 11 blocks

8. Connor Murray, Senior, Missouri Valley: 10 blocks

8. Gavin Smith, Senior, Audubon: 10 blocks

10. Grady Jeppesen, Sophomore, Riverside: 7 blocks

10. Cole Scheffler, Junior, AHSTW: 7 blocks

12. Carson Bauer, Junior, Audubon: 6 blocks

12. Kent Elliott, Junior, Tri-Center: 6 blocks

12. Tru Melby, Senior, Logan-Magnolia: 6 blocks

12. Thomas Schwartz, Senior, Treynor: 6 blocks

12. Cole Staska, Senior, Missouri Valley: 6 blocks

AHSTW leads the charger here, too, with four on the list. Audubon and Missouri Valley have three each, and Logan-Magnolia and Treynor have two apiece. IKM-Manning and Underwood’s top blockers:

18. Caden Keller, Junior, IKM-Manning: 4 blocks

22. Jack Vanfossan, Sophomore, Underwood: 3 blocks

TOP-RETURNING SHOOTERS 

Three of the top four 3-point shooters (by total makes) are returning to this year’s conference. Also, seven of the top 11 are back. Here’s the top 10:

1. Raydden Grobe, Senior, AHSTW: 50 3PM (35.0%)

2. Kyle Sternberg, Junior, AHSTW: 46 3PM (36.5%)

3. Grady Jeppessen, Sophomore, Riverside: 44 3PM (37.0%)

4. Baker Lally, Senior, Logan-Magnolia: 35 3PM (29.2%)

5. Aiden Bell, Junior, Riverside: 34 3PM (30.6%)

6. Jaxon Johnson, Senior, Tri-Center: 33 3PM (50.0%)

7. Carson Bauer, Junior, Audubon: 31 3PM (27.0%)

8. Thomas Schwartz, Senior, Treynor: 30 3PM (25.9%)

9. Brody Lager, Sophomore, Missouri Valley: 28 3PM (29.8%)

10. Brody West, Senior, Logan-Magnolia: 27 3PM (28.4%)

Seven of the nine teams are represented here with AHSTW, Logan-Magnolia and Riverside boasting two each. The other two are IKM-Manning and Underwood:

12. Luke Ramsey, Senior, IKM-Manning: 20 3PM (28.2%)

19. Bryce Patten, Senior, Underwood: 10 3PM (34.5%)

On to the free throw shooters, where five of the top seven in total makes from last season are gone. Seven of the top 11, though, are back. Here is the top 10:

1. Kyle Sternberg, Junior, AHSTW: 65 FTM (73.9%)

2. Gavin Smith, Senior, Audubon: 60 FTM (64.5%)

3. Brayden Lund, Junior, AHSTW: 52 FTM (59.1%)

4. Carson Bauer, Junior, Audubon: 48 FTM (69.6%)

4. Raydden Grobe, Senior, AHSTW: 48 FTM (68.6%)

6. Brody Lager, Sophomore, Missouri Valley: 45 FTM (63.4%)

7. Grady Jeppesen, Sophomore, Riverside: 44 FTM (69.8%)

8. Thomas Schwartz, Senior, Treynor: 41 FTM (66.1%)

9. Brody West, Senior, Logan-Magnolia: 32 FTM (55.2%)

10. Baker Lally, Senior, Logan-Magnolia: 30 FTM (69.8%)

AHSTW has another three in the top five here while Audubon and Logan-Magnolia can tout two each. Here are the other three teams’ top free throw shooters:

14. Alex Ravlin, Junior, Underwood: 23 FTM (69.7%)

18. Kent Elliott, Junior, Tri-Center: 13 FTM (59.1%)

26. Cooper Irlmeier, Junior, IKM-Manning: 7 FTM (38.9%)

ONE FINAL TAKE FOR EACH TEAM 

Here’s one final take on each team with the teams listed in order of projected finish. 

AHSTW: The co-champions of last year’s WIC are going to be a real problem with all but six points returning to the team. They can score all over the floor and with a move down to 1A this year, the IHSAA Stat Book might need to make an addition by the end of this thing.

Treynor: Nobody would ever dream of counting Treynor out of any WIC race in any sport, especially boys hoops. The Cardinals, though, will have to replace five really important seniors. Guess what? They’ve done it before, and they should be prepared to do it again. This No. 2 spot is based more on history than anything else.

Logan-Magnolia: Their lone senior starter last year was a very, very big and important one (Tre Melby). Still, Tru Melby — also very, very big — is there along with a ton of other experience and production. The Panthers figure to be competitive on most every night in the league. 

Tri-Center: A great senior class is gone. The Trojans started four seniors on most nights, and so they will have some new faces stepping into big roles. Like Treynor, they usually do pretty well in filling in those spots. Elliott, Johnson and Turner should make for a nice trio to start with.

Audubon: Gavin Smith figures to be a walking double-double. Four others that made at least two starts and three others that made at least 11 starts are returning. The Wheelers will be an interesting team to follow and should improve quite a bit as the year progresses given their late football season.

Riverside: With the balance in Avoca, Grady Jeppesen could make a run at a WIC scoring title in his sophomore season. Jeppesen, though, is the only returning regular starter. Juniors Aiden Bell and Ayden Salais started a bit, and several other then-sophomores and then-freshmen got plenty of time. How they fill around Jeppesen will be key to this season.

Underwood: Underwood started five seniors most of the time last year, but they did use several underclassmen. The youth movement should take form this year with a pair of Ravlins and a Vanfossan (among others) stepping into some big roles. This spot could look pretty silly at the end of the year.

IKM-Manning: The Wolves bring back two — sometimes three — starters from last year. And this year might be a build towards a more successful next season. We also know they will be well-coached. Other than that, it’s kind of a guessing game right now.

Missouri Valley: It was a struggle last year, but the good news for the Big Reds is that the lumps they took last year could help them out this season. They return SEVEN players that started multiple games last season. Coach Miller tinkered with the lineup enough that he might have a pretty good idea who to roll with this year. I have them at the bottom, but that’s more of a prove-it type thing. I think — and figure — they will be much improved.

Send any questions, comments, corrections and/or concerns to dmartin@kmamail.com.

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