WAPELLO, Iowa — Ken Spielbauer has seen a lot of good basketball players pass through Wapello in his 34 years as the boys basketball head coach.
But he had no hesitation stating senior Trenton Massner is the best he's ever coached at the school.
“He’s very skilled and he’s also very athletic,” Spielbauer said. “He’s 6-2 and his arms measure a lot longer than 6-2.”
But Wapello still has an arsenal of talented players that have played a major role in leading the Indians to a 23-1 record and their first state tournament appearance since 1994.
Junior Keaton Mitchell averages 14 points per game, while seniors Logan Belzer and Gage Witte average 13.4 and 10.1 points per game, respectively. And they all do it on better than 45 percent shooting.
But they all know none of that would be possible without Massner, who provides the power for a Wapello team that has delivered so many knockout punches this season.
“He’s our main source,” Belzer said. “He’s such a good passer, shooter, and has vision, just everything you could ask for. He does everything for you basically, he just sets you up.”
Now both Wapello and Massner will continue their stellar season on the biggest stage Iowa high school basketball has to offer at the Wells Fargo Arena for the Class 2A state tournament.
After months of work following a disappointing 2017 season, the Indians reached their goal with a 55-46 win over Northeast in the substate championship.
But they know they’re capable of so much more.
“At first it was just kind of like, 'Oh, we made it,’ and everyone thought that was it,” Massner said. “The first step was to make it there, now that we made it’s like, 'We actually have a shot to win this whole thing.’”
The road won’t be easy for Wapello after receiving the No. 8 seed, which players felt was a product of its perceived weak schedule. It will take on the No. 1 seeded Treynor (24-0) at 4:30 p.m. today at Wells Fargo Arena.
“People didn’t think we could beat (Northeast) Goose Lake because their league was way better,” Massner said. “Everyone has kind of been down on the fact we can beat these other teams.
"If they’re going to keep doubting us, we’re going to keep winning.”