By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
Another prep basketball season can be added to the history books.
Four state champions were crowned last week with West High among the teams to end the season on top.
Before attention turns to teams that could be in the title hunt next season and the question comes in the Trojans can repeat lets take a moment to appreciate the best of the 2016-2017 season in the Your Prep Sports area.
Best Individual performance
Cooper Kabela against Camanche
The West Branch senior forward had a season full of performances worthy of mentioning including a 30-point, 16-rebound effort against Regina and a 33-point, 12-rebound showing against Wapello in the district semifinals.
Kabela saved his best performance for his final game, pouring in 32 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking seven shots in an 86-80 loss to Camanche in the substate final.
Best Team Performance
West High against Dubuque Senior
Playing without second leading scorer Devontae Lane, Class 4A top-ranked West High had seven players score at least five points and shot 61 percent from the floor in a resounding 78-63 road win over the second-ranked Rams.
Freshmen of the year
Regina’s Masen Miller and Even Brauns
The point guard/post duo of Miller and Brauns is going to make Regina a force in the River Valley Conference for the next three seasons.
The 6-foot-6 Brauns ranked second on the team with 10.4 points and led Regina with 6.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game this season while Miller averaged 8.4 points and 2.6 assists.
Breakthrough performer of the year
City High freshman Keshawn Christian
Christian didn’t waste any time breaking through, proving himself as a playmaker in his first varsity season.
The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 8.3 points and a team-high 5.7 rebounds per game and ranked second on the team in assists and steals.
Coach of the year
Steve Bergman West High
After a two-year title drought, Bergman directed West High back to the top of Class 4A.
West High finished 23-3 (22-1 against in-state competition) on its way to winning its first state title since 2014 and fourth in the past six seasons.
The title was the sixth for Bergman making him one of only three coaches in state history to win more than five titles.
West Branch against Camanche
It didn’t end the way West Branch preferred but the Bears’ 86-80 loss to sixth-ranked Camanche in the Class 2, Substate 4 final had it all.
The teams combined to shoot 45 percent from the field and make 20 3-pointers in a back-and-forth contest that wasn’t decided until the final minutes.
City High against Dubuque Wahlert
The Little Hawks trailed by five points with less than 40 seconds to play but rallied to force overtime then ended the game on an 8-2 run to earn a 72-65 win.
Most Entertaining Player
West High sophomore Patrick McCaffery
There isn’t a stat available for dunks but the 6-foot-8 McCaffery had a bunch of them and many were of the highlight reel variety.
Chances are if you watched West High this season you saw McCaffery finish an alley-oop or a fast break with a slam.
Adding the ability to step out and hit a 3-pointer to his high-flying finishes made the all-stater a must-watch player this season.
Best Under the Radar Player
Clear Creek Amana senior Tate Thomsen
The Clippers didn’t garner a lot of attention this season with their 2-20 record but Thomsen quietly put together a strong senior season.
Thomsen averaged 13.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists in his only season as a starter.
City High sophomore Antonio Turner
Raise your hand if you had Turner leading the Little Hawks in scoring.
The 5-foot-9 Turner didn’t score a point on varsity this season but made the most of his opportunities after taking over the starting point guard role this season.
Turner led City High in scoring at 11.7 points per game and added three rebounds and 1.2 assists.
Solon juniors Luke Ira and Ben Krutzfeldt
The stats for the backcourt tandem don’t pop off the page but the growth of Ira and Krutzfeldt was a huge factor in Solon posting its first winning season since 2013-2014.
Krutzfeldt (9.4 ppg) and Ira (9.1 ppg) ranked second and third respective in scoring for the Spartans and combined for 173 assists and an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.8.
Comeback Player of the Year
City High senior Chuck Johnson
Johnson missed the first eight games but didn’t let the late start stop him from having a big senior season.
The 6-foot-5 forward returned in January to averag 11.5 points and a team-high 8.4 rebounds per game while shooting 55 percent from the floor.
Defensive Player of the Year
Devontae Lane West High
Lane made a name for himself early in his career on the defensive end and built that reputation into one of the state’s top lock down defenders this season.
The 6-foot-2 guard ranked second in Class 4A with 3.1 steals per game and added 3.7 rebounds per game.
Bench Player of the Year
West High Bench
Take your pick from a number of players that came off the West High bench this season to make big plays.
Seybian Sims and Nate Disterhoft took turns starting games but when they weren’t both made contributions off the bench.
Disterhoft averaged 3.6 points per game and played his best basketball at the state tournament while Sims shot 69 percent from the field and averaged 6.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
Junior Evan Flitz averaged 4.1 points and shot 50 percent from 3-point range (27-for-54) while Hakeem Odunsi averaged 4.7 points.
Most Valuable Player
West High senior Connor McCaffery
The all-state senior point guard didn’t just lead West High to the Class 4A state title, he did everything imaginable along the way.
McCaffery led West High in scoring (19.6) and rebounding (4.8) and ranked second on the team in assists (3.7) and steals (1.8).