They lost the best player in school history to graduation, but the North Cedar Knights ended this regular season with a better record than last regular season. Go figure.
North Cedar’s 57-48 win Tuesday night over West Branch secured it its fifth consecutive Cedar Valley Conference championship. It takes an 18-3 record and 11-game win streak into next week’s postseason.
All this success without all-stater Jordan Hay, who is a freshman at Upper Iowa. Three other starters also graduated.
“I tell you what, we graduated quite a bit last year,” said North Cedar coach Scott Jackson. “You never know how things are going to go. I knew we had some good kids coming back. They have played really, really good basketball at times this season.”
Jackson has molded a true program in Stanwood. That’s why the Knights have made the state tournament two years in a row.
That’s how a kid like Marshall Shedeck can go from averaging 5.7 points last season to a team-best 16.9 this season. Sophomore wing Jayden Johnson averages just under 13 points and junior Jacob Hay 10.4 He is Jordan Hay’s younger brother.
“When Jayden goes, we go,” Jackson said, also mentioning point guard Josh Kintzel as a key contributor.
Two of North Cedar’s losses were to 4A teams Davenport North and Cedar Rapids Jefferson. The other was avenged Tuesday night.
The Knights have a reasonable Class 2A district, then could very well hook back up with West Branch in a substate final.
“We’ve got some really good kids in the program right now,” said Jackson, an all-state guard back in the day at Lincoln Community, which merged with Clarence-Lowden to create North Cedar. “They get along very well. They’ve done a real nice job.”
This and that
- It’s not often you get a game like this to end the regular season. Class 1A top-ranked Danville and No. 2 Lone Tree meet Friday night at Wellman in the Southeast Iowa Super Conference championship game.
The teams are a combined 41-0. THe SISC pairs its first-place teams in each division, second place, third place, etc., in a one-night affair.
- Class 1A and 2A postseason play gets underway Monday. Class 3A and 4A brackets were announced this week, with no real surprises.
Opening games of note include Cedar Rapids Washington and Cedar Rapids Kennedy at Kennedy. Washington won both regular-season games, including Tuesday night.
Western Dubuque received a No. 2 seed in its substate despite being unbeaten because of its predominantly 2A-3A schedule.