By Zach James Herald Assistant Sports Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — DES MOINES — The Central DeWitt Sabers are in new territory this week.
The Class 3A portion of the 2013 Iowa boys basketball state tournament begins Tuesday evening at 6:30 when the Sabers face off against the MOC-Floyd Valley Dutch, whose girls team won the Class 3A title last week against in-town rival Unity Christian.
DeWitt comes to central Iowa after beating Maquoketa in the district final at Yourd Gym and Benton Community in last Monday night’s substate final 58-47.
The Sabers have won 12 of their past 13 games, with the last loss coming Feb. 11 to Mount Vernon.
“The WaMaC has prepared us to play in these types of games,” Sabers senior Marty Green said. “There are so many good teams in there, and honestly, I think there are a couple other teams who could have made it.”
DeWitt is the lone WaMaC representative at the state tournament, but the Sabers are familiar with another team at the state tournament.
Dubuque Wahlert is the No. 5 seed at the tournament this week, and DeWitt lost to Wahlert 54-47 on Jan. 4. The two would not meet until the championship or consolation game.
The Sabers are the No. 3 seed with a 21-3 record, while the Dutch enter Tuesday’s game with a 19-5 record.
Three of those losses came in a row in early January with the last loss coming on Jan. 14 to Class 2A favorite Western Christian.
MOC-Floyd Valley’s leading scorer is Levi Jansen, a 6-foot-1 sophomore forward, who is averaging 21 points a game, which is second best among those in the Class 3A tournament field. Jansen isn’t afraid to shoot and has shot the ball well this season. He’s shooting at 51 percent on the floor, and 42 percent from 3-point territory.
Jansen is also the team’s leading rebounder at 154.
The leading individual scorer heading into the state tournament is Chariton’s Daric Laing (22 points a game).
Following Jansen in individual scoring for the Dutch is Parker Mulder at 12.3 points a game, thanks to shooting at 55 percent. Christian Korver is the team’s best free-throw shooter at 81 percent.
Kyle Bauer leads DeWitt at15 points a game, including eight last Monday night. Bauer is 10th among Class 3A state-qualified individuals.
Christian Wright led the Sabers in the all-WaMaC substate final in Cedar Rapids with 24 points.
If the Sabers can take down the Dutch, they’ll return to play Thursday night at 8:15 to play the winner between the No. 2 Waverly-Shell Rock Go-Hawks and the No. 7 Grinnell Tigers.
The top-seeded team in Class 3A is Harlan (22-2), whose girls team won the Class 4A championship last weekend.