Thursday’s games at the boys’ state basketball tournament:
CLASS 1A SEMIFINAL
No. 6 North Tama (26-1) vs. No. 4 Boyden-Hull (23-3)
Time: 12:15 p.m.
Quarterfinal Games: North Tama rallied from 25-15 down at halftime to knock off Ankeny Christian, 47-45. Boyden-Hull came from three points down at the half to overcome Lone Tree, 58-54.
Synopsis: North Tama will have to play a lot better than it did in its quarterfinal if it wants to have any chance against the defending champion. The Redhawks simply overpowered Ankeny Christian in the second half, thanks to wide bodies like Nolan Hefty and Skyler Kvidera. Forward Mitchell Boerm had a nice game of 19 points and seven rebounds and must make his presence felt here as well. North Tama was just 14 of 32 from the free-throw line, which won’t cut it against Boyden-Hull. B-H is an experienced team with balanced scoring. Guard Riley Francis hit a pair of big shots down the stretch against Lone Tree as part of a 14-point game. Colin Bolkema led the Comets with 16 points. Likewise, Boyden-Hull struggled at the free-throw line, making just 12 of 24. The Comets have not lost to a 1A team this season. Then again, neither has North Tama.
Prediction: Boyden-Hull by 15.
CLASS 2A SEMIFINAL
MFL/Mar-Mac (22-3) vs. No. 1 West Fork (25-0)
Time: 2 p.m.
Quarterfinal Games: MFL/Mar-Mac got a huge performance from unsung guard Jordan Vorwald in the final minute-plus to overcome North Cedar in a terrific ballgame, 67-64. West Fork withstoood pesky Dike-New Hartford, 45-36.
Synopsis: Plain and simply, this game will likely come down to who controls tempo. If it’s an up-and-down game, that favors MFL/Mar-Mac. If it’s a halfcourt game, it’s to West Fork’s advantage. MFL leading scorer C.J. Mason was a non-factor offensively against North Cedar, struggling with foul trouble, shooting and his back in a four-point game. Younger brother, Cody, stepped up big time, however, with 26 points. You’d think both Masons must be good if MFL is to win. The Bulldogs had just four turnovers against North Cedar, a credit to guards Vorwald and Carter Snitker. Vorwald had the go-ahead basket with 1:14 left and followed with four big free throws against North Cedar. West Fork will likely try to power the ball inside to 6-foot-8 center Payton Plagge and 6-foot-4 forward Sam Amsbaugh. Plagge uncharacteristically was held to eight points against Dike-New Hartford, nine under his average. He shoots 72.6 percent from the field. Amsbaugh shoots 63.2 percent. How will MFL/Mar-Mac defend those two?
Prediction: MFL/Mar-Mac by 4.
Other Games Thursday
Class 1A Semifinal – Danville (26-0) vs. Storm Lake St. Mary’s (25-1), 10:30 a.m.
Class 2A Semifinal – Carroll Kuemper (17-8) vs. Sheldon (23-3), 3:45 p.m.
Class 3A Semifinal – Harlan (19-6) vs. MOC/Floyd Valley (21-4), 6:35 p.m.
Class 3A Semifinal – Davenport Assumption (19-6) vs. Waverly-Shell Rock (21-4), 8:15 p.m.