Sixth-seeded IMS (22-4) finished 2nd in Southeast Iowa Super Conference – North Division with 15-3 record and is making their 12th trip to the state tournament, all of them under the guidance of head coach Dwight Gingerich, who joined the Coaches Corner on AM and FM KCII Saturday morning to preview the matchup. Like their opponent Boyden-Hull, IMS has one state championship (’92) and, like their opponent, enters this game on a 10-game win streak. Both head coaches were at the helm when their respective schools won their state title.
Located in the northwest corner of Iowa, the third-seeded Comets have put together a 22-3 record and finished 16-2 in the Siouxland Conference, respected as one of the top basketball conferences in the state and this season is no different, with three teams qualifying for the state tournament (MOC-Floyd Valley, Sioux Center). It’s the 19th state tournament appearance for Boyden-Hull who won their lone championship in 2003 under the tutelage of head coach Bill Francis who joined the Coaches Corner as well.
With the multiple state tournament appearances by both teams, it’s rather surprising they have met just once before with IMS defeating the Comets 62-52 in the semifinals of the 1991 tournament played at the old barn, Veterans Auditorium.
Strength of Schedule:
I bring up schedule strength because it is important to keep in mind when comparing statistics in the segment below. The Siouxland Conference, and northwest Iowa in general, is knowns as having some of the best basketball in the state, as evidenced by three members of the conference making the state tournament in class 1A (Boyden-Hull), 2A (Sioux Center), and 3A (MOC-Floyd Valley). BCMoorerankings.com is an interesting website that uses many statistical formulas to compare and rank teams. They make the comparison of each team’s strength of schedule and have Boyden-Hull with the fifth-toughest this year featuring nine games against 2A schools (seven with winning records) while playing 3A state qualifier and unbeaten MOC-Floyd Valley, losing by three in the last matchup, a game coach Francis called the turning point of the season.
When you take a look at IMS, BC Moore has them with a schedule strength ranked 72nd. Despite playing 12 games against 2A opponents, only six were against a team with a winning record. The other six games were against opponents with a combined 26-108 record. The Southeast Iowa Super Conference-North, while there are some quality teams at the top, does not have the depth of the Siouxland.
I’ve already mention the 3A team that the Comets squared off against twice this season, losing by 10 at home and by three on the road against the top-seed in the class 3A state tournament. IMS played just one game against a 3A opponent this season, and lost on the road 67-56 against a Washington team that finished 13-9 after being ousted in the first round of district play. It was bad shooting game for IMS who had a couple players sick at the time, and it was early in the season before IMS found their game on the defensive end, but it’s still an interesting comparison between these two teams when looking at not only who they played, but how they did against them.
By the Numbers:
When you look at these two teams By the Numbers, a couple of things stand out. Their both top-10 in scoring differential; both teams are top-five in shooting, and while IMS ranks 3rd, scoring 70.0ppg, Boyden-Hull is not far behind, ranking 13th in scoring 64.6ppg. Both are good passing teams and neither is especially solid in the rebounding game.
Neither team is very big.
IMS has five players scoring in double figures on their roster led by their senior point guard Chance Miller (13.4ppg) who has dished out 141 assists and committed 77 turnovers, or a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio. In the front court, Brian Hagedorn is averaging 10.8 points-per-game and leading the team in rebounding, snagging 5.4 per game. IMS will need some solid post-play from senior Johnny Lackender as well to compete in the paint.
The Comets have three scoring in double digits. 6’5” senior Byrce Moss is the only size that Boyden-Hull puts on the floor but he’s their top player, scoring 15.1 points-per-game while him and fellow senior post Nathan Alexander (7.8ppg) are each averaging 5.7 rebounds-per-game. One of the two coaches sons, 6’2” senior Taylor Francis, is the top threat for the Comets from outside, connecting on 48-of-136 three-point attempts (35.3%).
You can hear the game live on AM and FM KCII starting with the pregame show at 1:30. Due to state regulations, there will be no live broadcast streamed online at kciiradio.com but the game will be archived in radio plus no more than 24 hours before the game concludes.