The Waverly-Shell Rock boys basketball team opens play at the State Basketball Tournament tonight when they face Grinnell in a quarterfinal round match-up. The second ranked Go-Hawks are back in Des Moines after finishing second in Class 3A a year ago.
Senior guard Connor Coleman was a member of the All-Tournament Team last year and says the team has unfinished business. Waverly-Shell Rock coach Nate Steege hasn’t directly addressed last year’s tournament with the team, but says he knows it has been in the back of his players’ minds.
The Go-Hawks face a Grinnell team that is making its first State appearance since 2007. Senior forward Jesse Hendrickson says that while he doesn’t know a lot about Grinnell yet, he thinks the experience of having played at Wells Fargo Arena last year will be an advantage.
Waverly-Shell Rock trailed going into the fourth quarter of their last two wins along the tournament trail. Steege says that he was pleasantly surprised by how his team was able to adapt to playing from behind.
Coleman says the team was letting the mental aspect of the game get the better of them in those close games, something they’ll look to avoid in Des Moines. The Waverly-Shell Rock vs. Grinnell matchup is one of three Class 3A games being played at Wells Fargo today.
Top seeded MOC-Floyd Valley takes on Sioux City Heelan in the first 3A contest, with Western Dubuque facing Davenport Assumption as well.
By Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls