Iowa boys' state basketball: Waukee advances to 4A final after running past Ames
Waukee's historically talented boys' basketball roster can make school history Friday.
The second-seeded Warriors dominated third-seeded Ames from whistle to whistle in Thursday night's Class 4A semifinal, beating the Little Cyclones 71-36. That means Waukee will have a chance to win its first state title in program history Friday night.
The Warriors (15-2) jumped out to a 16-1 lead and were up 31-17 at halftime. Tucker DeVries began the third quarter with a layup through contact, and he sank his free throw to give Waukee a 34-17 lead. Ames (18-4), which entered Thursday on a 13-game winning streak, never pulled within 17 for the rest of the game. After a 14-0 scoring run, Waukee led 48-17 just a few minutes later. Waukee head coach Justin Ohl pulled his starters with 6:22 left in the game, when his team led 63-28.
DeVries led Waukee with 18 points. Omaha Biliew scored 12 points and grabbed nine boards. Payton Sandfort and Pryce Sandfort each score 10. Malik Allen scored seven off the bench.
Keyshaun Brooks led Ames with 10 points. Tamin Lipsey, the Register's No. 1 in-state 2022 prospect, logged nine points and three assists, and he played much of the game in foul trouble. Ames was without starting forward Trevion LaBeaux, the Register's No. 9 in-state 2022 prospect, who missed the quarterfinal and semifinal due to an undisclosed reason.
Since before the season began, it seemed like a forgone conclusion Waukee would at least advance to the 4A championship. There's just too much talent on the roster.
You've got DeVries, a Drake signee, consensus four-star prospect and the Register's No. 1 in-state 2021 talent. Then there's Iowa signee Payton Sandfort, one of the country's premier shooters who's the Register's No. 2 in-state 2021 prospect. Biliew is a consensus five-star, top-five national sophomore prospect with the likes of Kansas and Kentucky recruiting him. And Pryce Sandfort is one of the 2023 class' top shooters, with the likes of Iowa, Drake and Northern Iowa watching him.
Add Allen, 6-foot-7 sharpshooter Wyatt Heston and solid all-around guard Blake Papenberg to the mix, and you've got a juggernaut.
And Waukee has looked like one this week at Wells Fargo Arena.
Standing between Waukee and the state title is Johnston, the only Iowa team the Warriors lost to this season — albeit that was without DeVries or Allen. Johnston beat Waukee 49-48 back on Jan. 8.
The Dragons demolished top-ranked, previously undefeated Cedar Falls 64-51 (it wasn't really that close) in their semifinal, shocking everyone in Iowa outside Johnston's locker room. Johnston boasts some solid D-I talent itself in North Dakota signee Reid Grant, 2022 wing Steven Kramer (the Register's No. 5 in-state 2022 prospect) and 2022 point guard Trey Lewis (the Register's No. 13 in-state 2022 prospect).
Waukee vs. Johnston will tip at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.
Matthew Bain covers recruiting and pretty much anything else under the sports sun for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.