The Iowa High School Athletic Association Monday released the brackets for the Class 1A and 2A state basketball tournaments.
The Lake Mills Bulldogs compiled a 23-2 record throughout the regular season and district tournament. The Bulldogs only fell to conference foes Bishop Garrigan, Algona, and Forest City. The Bishop Garrigan Golden-Bears received the second seed for the 1A tournament with a 22-2 record going into state. Lake Mills and Bishop Garrigan split the regular-season series, but the Bulldogs won by 18. Could we be lucky enough to see the rubber match in the state title game? That will be determined next week inside Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. West Fork will also represent the Top of Iowa Conference as the six seed.
The Bulldogs will play their opening-round game against Wapsie Valley, Fairbank (18-7) on Monday, March 9th at 11:15 AM – can be heard live on KIOW.
Lake Mills will be making their second trip to the Iowa High School Boys’ State Basketball Tournament and their first since 1986. This is the highest starting seed and the Bulldogs are looking for their first semifinal appearance. This is also the highest seed a North Iowa Conference or Top of Iowa West Conference team has been given since Forest City was the number one seed in Class 3A following the 2007-2008 season.
Their first trip came in 1973 but ended after falling to Solon 45-36 in the quarterfinals. They were joined in Des Moines by conference opponent Belmond, who also fell right out of the gate to Mount Vernon, 73-66. Mount Vernon went on to win the 1A title that year beating Solon in the semifinals and H-L-V in the finals. It was a North Iowa party in Des Moines that year; Algona and Clear Lake both qualified in Class 2A, but both also bowed out in the opener.
Lake Mills returned in 1986 led by Hall of Fame coach, Bob Horner. The Bulldogs fell to Tri-Center in the opening round, 72-56. Tri-Center won their semifinal matchup in overtime but fell in the finals to Unity Christian. Another team was making its second state tournament appearance in 1986. Waspie Valley qualified for the second time in history that year, they fell to Grinnell 54-53 in the first round of the 2A tournament. The Warriors have since been back six times – 1989 3rd, 1996 3rd, 2003 2nd, 2004 participated, 2010 participated, and 2013 participated.
This year’s Warriors are led by Kiks Rosengarten, the senior is averaging 19 points per game. They also see scoring by junior Blayde Bellis 10 points per game, junior Kobe Risse 9 points per game, and sophomore Gunner Meyer 9 points per game. Wapsie Valley won their substate game over Edgewood-Colesburg 55-38 on Saturday to qualify. The Warriors are coached by Hall of Fame coach, Marty McKown. Coach McKown is in his 38th year at Wapsie Valley he has won 593 games and only been defeated 271 times. Wapsie Valley was the number 4 seed entering the postseason, but have strung together a hot streak to reached Des Moines for the eighth time.
If the Bulldogs win on Monday they will be guaranteed two more games. They will then play a semifinal game on Wednesday and then either a title game on Friday or a consultation game on Thursday. The winner of Lake Mills vs Waspie Valley will play the winner of the four-five match up which pits #4 Montezuma against #5 Martendale-St. Marys.
KIOW and KIOW.com will have full coverage of the IHSAA and IGHSAU State Basketball Tournaments for all local teams over the next two weeks.