The 2019-20 boys basketball season has come to an end, and with it, the winter sports season.
Several area teams had very successful seasons, with three North Iowa teams – West Fork, Bishop Garrigan and Lake Mills – making appearances at the state basketball tournament.
Now that the games have been played, the hard part is here – naming the area's basketball MVPs. This list is sure to cause controversy, and will likely spark much debate. That is why this list is just the season's MVPs. The best of the best.
Jonah Bluhm, Osage
The Green Devils’ senior led area players with an average of 20 points per game. Bluhm helped lead Osage to a Top of Iowa East Conference title, with a shooting percentage of 49.8, and a 3-point shooting mark of 41.6 percent.
Bluhm was a team leader on the Green Devils’ extremely senior-heavy squad, with nine seniors getting consistent minutes. At just 5-foot-11 inches, Bluhm could be a surprisingly dominant force on the floor.
“He can get hot at any time,” Osage head coach Mike Brahn said in February. “He can run off three or four straight possessions where he is going to bury a shot on you, push that lead up. He’s a very dangerous player.”
The Green Devils made it all the way to the regional semifinals, before losing to Forest City, 51-50, in an upset loss on Feb. 25.
Chett Helming/Dashawn Linnen, Lake Mills
It felt right to include these two together. All season long, Helming and Linnen provided the numbers for the Bulldogs. Linnen and Helming scored 502 and 499 points on the season, respectively, with an average points per game total of 19.3 and 192.
Linnen shot an impressive 59.3 percent from the field, while Helming shot 49 percent. Helming’s season included a 39-point performance against Turkey Valley in the regional title game that clinched Lake Mills a spot at state for the first time since 1986.
The Bulldogs lost in the first round of the state tournament to Wapsie Valley.
Angelo Winkel, Bishop Garrigan
The “little” Winkel brother had an impressive season that ended in the state title game. With 506 points, 270 rebounds, 45 blocks, a field-goal percentage of 58.4, and a points per game average of 18.7, Winkel led the Golden Bears squad to where the program had never been before.
Winkel has been attracting plenty of attention from Division I schools, and I expect that to intensify in the months before he begins his senior season. With five seniors graduating this year, Winkel’s leadership will be even more vital next season.
Kayden Ames, West Fork
As the leading scorer on one of the state’s 12 highest scoring teams, Ames deserves a spot on the list of the area’s MVPs. Ames averaged 14 points per game, had a field-goal percentage of 49.8 percent, with 42 steals, 42 assists and 90 rebounds.
With plenty of new players, West Fork had a surprisingly dominant season, as the team made it all the way to the state semifinals. Ames was just one part of a pretty complete offense, but with 70 3-pointers on the year, he probably had the most impressive year.
Andrew Formanek, Clear Lake
The Lions 6-foot-6 inch junior was a force on both offense and defense this season. Formanek led the squad with 377 points, a team-high 15.7 points per game, a 67.1 shooting percentage, 222 rebounds, 31 steals, and 51 blocks.
Along with sophomore Carson Toebe and senior Jaylen DeVries, Formanek helped lead the Lions to the cusp of the state tournament. With his size and scoring ability, Formanek should have plenty of college programs knocking on his door pretty soon.
• Wyatt Wegener, Algona