They already have double-digit wins with a week remaining in January.

Point guard Kenny Clay etched his name into the record books recently as the school's career assist leader. Mark Bigler collected his 400th career coaching victory Saturday. And the team is sniffing the top 10 of the Class 4A state rankings.

There has been a lot to celebrate for Davenport West's boys basketball program this season through 13 games.

Projected to finish seventh by the coaches in the preseason Mississippi Athletic Conference poll, West (10-3) is riding a season-high six-game win streak heading into Tuesday night's game at Bettendorf.

"It has been a championship mentality this year," senior Balene Mitchell said. "We get along, don't have many arguments and we all accept our roles.

"It is like we're a bunch of brothers."

Since the calendar flipped to 2018, West is 5-0.

It has won decisively over Davenport North, Geneseo, Maquoketa, Central DeWitt and Burlington.

It also has pulled out a couple white-knucklers — a 49-48 decision over a ninth-place Clinton team and a 45-44 triumph on the road over an Assumption team without Dylan Peeters. It beat Muscatine on a night it was without all-stater Joe Wieskamp.

But to those in the program, this success is not a stunner even though West has been 5-18 and 6-17 the previous two seasons.

"If anything, we're surprised we're not better," post Brett Erwin said. "We're close to being a 13-and-0 team right now.

"If we execute a little better in the second half of the season, we can still contend and make a run at the state tournament."

The Falcons defeated several state-ranked programs during the summer.

They have size with Trey Sampson and Erwin, the team's top two scorers at 15.8 and 13.7 points per game, respectively. Clay has been one of the league's best facilitators the past three seasons.

Others have chipped in as well.

Aaron Gilliland had 17 points and the game-winning shot against Clinton. Malik Westerfield recorded nine points and seven steals in a home victory over Muscatine. Mitchell and Bailey Garnica have provided big baskets at times, too.

"We're more coachable this year and our coaches have picked up the intensity," Erwin said. "They realize our potential, we realize our potential and fans realize our potential."

The next hurdle for West, currently in third place in the MAC, is beating state-ranked foes such as North Scott and Pleasant Valley.

West lost to North Scott by eight on its home court last month and was within six points of PV on the road after three quarters.

In the next three weeks, the Falcons face both those squads along with Assumption and an improved Davenport North squad on the road.

"Once we can start beating people like PV and North Scott, it will make us feel we can play with anybody," Garnica said. "We really believe there is nothing that can hold us back except ourselves."

Peeters out for year: Assumption boys basketball coach Matt Fitzpatrick confirmed Monday sophomore Sean Peeters will miss the remainder of the season with a broken right foot.

The 6-foot-4 Peeters, who had a career-high 31 points in last Tuesday's win over Alleman, is the Knights' second-leading scorer (12.4 ppg.) and top rebounder (7.8 rpg.) He suffered the injury in the second quarter of Friday night's 52-47 loss to Pleasant Valley.

Assumption (6-7) has been hit by injuries this season. Landon Dugan has been out with a knee injury since the second game of the year and Dylan Peeters missed multiple games before Christmas with a back injury.

Road to Des Moines?: The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union is expected to release its regional girls basketball pairings Thursday afternoon for Class 1A, 2A and 3A schools. The 4A and 5A assignments will come out the following week.

Meanwhile, the Iowa High School Athletic Association is scheduled to release district and substate assignments for Class 3A and 4A schools Friday morning. The actual pairings won't be determined until early February by coaches at seeding meetings.


Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.