Muscatine's Joe Wieskamp (21) is interviewed by local media after their game against Clinton last month. Wieskamp is 31 points from passing Jeff Horner as the all-time leading scorer in Iowa Class 4A basketball.

Andy Abeyta, Quad-City Times

Joe Wieskamp has been climbing the Iowa boys basketball Class 4A career scoring list at a frenetic pace all winter.

In recent weeks, he has eclipsed some of the best players this state has produced -- Marcus Paige, Fred Hoiberg, Harrison Barnes, Matt Gatens and Dean Oliver.

The Muscatine standout has only one more individual to pass before reaching the 4A scoring summit.

And weather permitting, it could come Tuesday night in his home gym.

Wieskamp enters the Mississippi Athletic Conference tilt against winless Burlington at 2,164 career points -- 30 behind former Mason City and University of Iowa standout Jeff Horner.

When Horner finished with 2,194 points in 2002, Wieskamp was a toddler.

"I'm not surprised the record has held on for that long," Horner said Monday night. "It was one of those things you knew a special guy would have to come along, and Wieskamp is that type of kid you root for and cheer for.

"He's doing whatever he can to help his team win and probably hasn't cared about the scoring record. That's why it is going to fall."

Wieskamp is averaging a state-best 34.8 points per game. If he supplants Horner on Tuesday, it would take him just 85 games.

The 6-foot-6 senior is coming off a career-high 54 points against Bettendorf on Friday, a game in which he made eight 3-pointers and scored Muscatine's first 31 points.

"I haven't seen a performance like that," Bettendorf coach Curtis Clark said.

Illinois Hall of Fame high school coach Jay Hatch tweeted it was the greatest individual effort he had ever seen in person.

Horner, Wieskamp and Sioux City North's Daniel Tillo are the only players in Iowa 4A basketball to accumulate 2,000 points.

There is one common thread among them.

"We weren't your typical freshmen," Horner said. "You see kids score a ton of points their junior and senior seasons but they're not even close to 2,000 (career) points. It takes a good freshman and sophomore year.

"Playing 4A basketball, you're playing kids that are bigger and more physical athletes. All three of us were well built to handle that our freshman year."

Horner is in his third season as an assistant coach and fourth overall with the University of North Dakota. While on the recruiting circuit, he has seen Wieskamp play numerous times with the Iowa Barnstormers.

"He's a really smooth player," Horner said. "It almost looks like he's not playing hard because the game comes real easy for him. He can shoot the crap out of the ball and really has taken his rebounding to a new level.

"With his length and maturity, he's going to come into the Big Ten next year and be an impact player right away. He's so versatile."

Wieskamp is 20th on Iowa's all-time scoring list. He won't catch Wapsie Valley's Brooks McKowen (2,831 points), but would creep into the top 10 with his current pace.

Like Wieskamp, Horner committed to Iowa early in his high school career. He understands the pressure to perform each Tuesday and Friday night in front of fans who want a glimpse at what's coming for the Hawkeyes.

"Every game was packed, night in and night out to watch you play," Horner said. "Being an Iowa kid, bleeding black and gold, there definitely was some added pressure because you didn't want to disappoint anyone."

Horner won't make the trip to Muscatine. North Dakota leaves at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday for a Thursday night Big Sky contest at Weber State.

Wieskamp's exploits have put Horner's achievement back in the spotlight. His players, which include North Scott alums Cortez Seales and Marlon Stewart along with United Township's Tray Buchanan, have sent him screenshots throughout the season of Wieskamp closing in on his mark.

"It is kind of cool to look back on it," Horner said. "To this day, I'd still take a state championship over the record, but many kids I'm recruiting now in Iowa who probably didn't know who I was as a player can see, 'Hey, he could play a little bit.'"

Substate seeding: Iowa boys basketball coaches in Class 3A and 4A will converge Wednesday night to determine district and substate seeding.

The 4A Substate 4 meeting should be interesting. Pleasant Valley (15-2) figures to be the top seed and Burlington (0-17) the sixth seed, but the two, three, four and five seeds are not as clear cut.

Davenport North (12-5), Muscatine (12-6), Linn-Mar (8-9) and Cedar Rapids Jefferson (8-9) are the teams.

North has the best record, including wins over PV and Cedar Rapids Prairie. Muscatine has two head-to-head wins over North despite home losses to PV and Prairie. Linn-Mar has six losses to state-ranked teams and Jefferson just nipped the Lions on Friday, 55-54.

The second seed is vital because it comes with a first-round bye and a substate semifinal home game.

In Substate 3, Dubuque Senior (13-4) and North Scott (14-3) are in line to be the top two seeds. Davenport West (11-6) and Bettendorf (8-9) anticipate to be the three and four, and Davenport Central (4-13) and Clinton (2-15) expect to be the bottom two.

Girls MAC crown on line: PV and North Scott head into the final week of the regular season tied for the top spot in the MAC standings at 15-1.

PV closes with home games against third-place Bettendorf and Clinton. North Scott finishes with a road game at Davenport Central and a Friday home tilt with Davenport North.

The Spartans are looking for at least a share of their third league title in four years. North Scott never has claimed a MAC title under coach T.J. Case.


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.