The prep basketball season is in full swing, and we’re starting to learn more and more about who’s who in North Iowa. So far, a few teams have risen to the top, and there have been a handful of players who have stood above the rest.
Here’s a look at a few things we learned after the first portion of the season:
TWO STILL PERFECT
Two, that’s right, just two teams headed into the winter break with unblemished records – the Osage girls and Forest City boys.
Osage (9-0 overall, 7-0 in conference) has played every team in the Top of Iowa Conference East Division except Northwood-Kensett. The only true tests they’ve gotten in those games is a two-point win over St. Ansgar on Dec. 5, and a nine-point win over Central Springs in the second game of the season. The Green Devils and Panthers (6-1 in conference) have separated themselves from the rest of the TIC East, and their match-up on Jan. 12 is one to look forward to.
Forest City (8-0, 6-0) is perfect thanks to a buzzer-beater in the Indians’ win at Garner-Hayfield-Ventura, and the Indians have played pretty well aside from that, too. Still looming is a game Jan. 2 at home vs. Bishop Garrigan, which is 5-1 in TIC West play, plus a meeting with the Golden Bears on the road. The GHV rematch is set for Jan. 12.
LIONS HOLDING STRONG
The Clear Lake girls basketball team entered the season with high expectations fresh off another trip to the state tournament, and the third-ranked (Class 3A) Lions are meeting those expectations so far.
Clear Lake is 8-1 overall and is a perfect 5-0 in North Central Conference play. The Lions’ only setback came in a 74-54 defeat at No. 7 (4A) Mason City on Dec. 18.
Some key nonconference dates to keep an eye on for the Lions – Jan. 6 at No. 12 (3A) Forest City, and Jan. 25 at second-ranked (3A) Crestwood, which is 8-1 overall.
• Clear Lake senior Zach Lester has been a match-up nightmare for opposing teams all season, and his scoring output has helped the Lions enter break tied atop the NCC standings. Lester is third in the state, regardless of class, in scoring at 32 points per game. That’s behind only Muscatine senior and future Iowa Hawkeye Joe Weiskamp (35.1) and Newton senior Garrett Sturtz (33.4), who is getting Division I looks. Lester is uncommitted.
• The Garrigan boys’ hot start is due in part to the continued development of junior TJ Schnurr. Schnurr leads the Golden Bears at 21.6 points per game and is shooting 62.5 percent (70 of 112) from the field. He’s also added 96 rebounds.
• She may not be a rising star, but Mason City junior guard Megan Meyer just keeps getting better and better. The Iowa commit leads the seventh-ranked (4A) Mohawks at 24.8 points per game, which is fourth in the state. She’s made 36 3-pointers (second in the state) and is shooting 47.3 percent from the floor (86-182).
• Kaylee Parks is another whose game keeps evolving, and it’s helping her shred opposing defenses. The Central Springs senior is averaging 24.4 points per contest, which is sixth in the state, and she boasts a 50 percent field-goal percentage (80-160).