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Camanche's Dev Patel tries to score over a Western Christian defender in last year's state tournament. Patel is one of two starters back from the Indians' fourth place squad. 

Teams to watch

Camanche: The Indians return two starters from last year's 23-win season that ended with a fourth-place finish at the Class 2A state tournament. Senior Dev Patel and sophomore Cameron Soenksen give Camanche firepower in the backcourt. Camanche has only two seniors in its rotation, but coach Josh Davis said this might be the deepest and most athletic team he's had in nine seasons.

Central DeWitt: The Sabers won only five games last year and finished the season with a 10-game losing streak, but they bring back three starters. Six-foot-5 sophomore Alex McAleer has averaged 20 points in the first two games. He's joined by captains BJ Frick and Cam Steffens. Coach Jeff Frick said the team's depth is a big asset and will allow the Sabers to play big or small.

Northeast: Coming off an 18-win season, the Rebels will have one of the best frontcourts in the area with 6-foot-6 senior Luke Empen and 6-4 Braden Hoyer. Northeast did graduate 105 made 3-pointers from last season, but coach Travis Eversmeyer believes junior Dawson Stoll can help fill that void. Defense has been Northeast's identity. It held 13 teams below 50 points last season.  

Tipton: Powered by senior Logan Hoffman and junior Andrew Stewart, the Tigers are trying to build on last year's 13-win season. Hoffman, a River Valley Conference Elite team choice, and Stewart teamed for 38 points a game. Hoffman turned in a 41-point, 11-rebound showing in a season-opening win over Mid-Prairie. Luke Becker, Frank Bierman and Jacob Tischuk also are back for Matt Fouch's club. 

Wapello: All-state guard Trenton Massner leads a team that returns all five starters from a 14-9 campaign. Massner averaged nearly 23 points a game along with leading the team in rebounding, assists and steals. Logan Belzer also averaged double figures a season ago for Ken Spielbauer's team, which tipped off season with 70-26 rout over Winfield-Mount Union.

Players to watch

Nate Brinker, sr., Bellevue Marquette: He was fifth in the Tri-Rivers East division in scoring last year at 13 points per game and among the top 10 in rebounding. 

Mason Compton, jr., Durant: The Wildcats' second-leading scorer as a sophomore, he filled the stat sheet in the season opener against Danville with 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. 

Cade Daugherty, sr., Bellevue: After an all-state football season, he has averaged 28 points, 7 rebounds and 4.5 assists in the Comets' first two games. He was team's top scorer a year ago at 18.9 per contest.

Logan Miller, sr., Easton Valley: The 6-foot-4 forward averaged a team-high 17 points and 7.8 rebounds a season ago in earning first team all-Tri Rivers honors. He has the ability to score from around the basket and the perimeter.

Brady Walker, sr., Louisa-Muscatine: Listed at 6-3, Walker recorded 17.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per outing last winter. He shot better than 59 percent from the field and 70 percent at the foul line. 

— Matt Coss


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.