By Zach James Herald Assistant Sports Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON — Five area players have been named to the Tri-Rivers All-Conference Eastern division first team this offseason, including three players who have just finished their season at the state tournament.
The Easton Valley trio of Logan Wilhelm, Craiton Andresen and Chase Zaruba were named to the premier squad of the conference, and in well-deserved fashion.
Easton Valley fell to Keota at the state tournament on March 10 in the first round, but the three who were named to the first team were a big reason why they got there.
As an added bonus, the three were all unanimous selections.
“It’s been a fun year, especially playing with these guys in my senior year, taking Easton Valley to state,” Zaruba said following the state quarterfinal loss.
Zaruba entered the state tournament scoring 23 points a game, including scoring a season-high 33 points on Jan. 17 against Cedar Valley Christian. The top gun for the River Hawks shot over 50 percent on the season and hit his 50th 3-pointer of the season against Keota.
Zaruba’s 23 points a game was second-best among state tournament qualifiers behind Mr. Basketball nominee Jeremy Deemer from Lamoni.
Wilhelm used all of his 6-foot-7 frame to crash the boards for the River Hawks, leading the team with 221 total rebounds. Wilhelm also averaged 16 points a game, and also led the team with 88 made free throws.
Andresen is the third fiddle to Zaruba and Wilhelm, but he put in his fair share each game by averaging 11 points a game entering the state tournament while having 138 assists. That number was the 12th best in Class 1A and third-best among student-athletes that made it to the state tournament. (It was 22nd-best in all classes.)
Easton Valley coach Dan Beck was named Coach of the Year in the Tri-Rivers East, while Jarod Lee was named onto the honorable mention group.
Two Prince of Peace seniors —Nic Roth, who was unanimously selected, and Lucas Laufenberg — also found themselves onto the East’s first team.
Roth and Laufenberg each had 13 points per game with Roth edging his senior teammate by two points. Roth had 288; Laufenberg had 286. They both shot 44 percent while Laufenberg had more free throw makes and attempts.
“Nic was our team leader,” Irish coach Gerry Murphy said. “He usually had to guard the opponent’s best player, and he did a lot for us this year; I thought he got in good shape, lost 50 pounds from the year before.
“I think he was a superhero for us,” Murphy said of Roth.
Meanwhile, Murphy kept seeing good things out of Laufenberg.
“He was a second teamer for us last year,” Murphy said. “Lucas has been steady for us the last few years; the two were our dynamic duo. When they had good games, we usually won or were right there at the end.”
Caleb Kitteringham was also named to the All-Conference honorable mention group.
“All three of us have been playing for a long time,” Roth said after the Irish’s final game on Feb. 20. “It’s been really fun to play with Caleb, Lucas, and AJ (Williams).”
On the second team, Marquette Catholic juniors Logan Schroeder and Grant Kilburg made it as well as Calamus-Wheatland senior Josh Poell and freshmen Garrett Rickels and Brett Kelting.
Poell led Calamus-Wheatland with 12 points a game while the two freshmen scored nine points a game.
Craiton Andresen, sr., Easton Valley; Chase Zaruba, sr., Easton Valley; Logan Wilhelm, sr., Easton Valley; Nic Roth, sr., Prince of Peace; Dalton Harms, sr., Midland; Lucas Laufenberg, sr., Prince of Peace.
Garrett Rickels, fr., Calamus-Wheatland; Brett Kelting, fr., Calamus-Wheatland; Logan Schroeder, jr., Marquette Catholic; Grant Kilburg, jr., Marquette Catholic; Colton Dirks, jr., Midland; Josh Poell, sr., Calamus-Wheatland.
Jarod Lee, jr., Easton Valley; Carter Kilburg, jr., Marquette Catholic; Caleb Kitteringham, sr., Prince of Peace; Ben Carstensen, sr., Midland; Justin Schwennen, jr., Calamus-Wheatland.
Coach of the Year — Dan Beck, Easton Valley.
Elias Nissen, sr., Springville; Greg Pauly, jr., Springville, Alec Philipp, sr., Alburnett; Ben Dzaboff, sr., Maquoketa Valley; Ryan Light, jr., Lisbon; David Mosher,sr., Central City.
Sam Scriver, sr., Springville; Joey Philipp, so., Alburnett; Ryan Moyle, so., Alburnett; Brock Givens, jr., Lisbon; Brandon Stepanek, so., North Linn; Chad Griggs, jr., Central City.
Peter Brooks, sr., Springville; Tim Sadler, sr., Alburnett; Tyler Svatosch, sr., Lisbon; Andrew McEvoy, sr., North Linn; Nick McCarry, sr., Central City; Zach Salow, jr., Maq.Valley; Luke Passick, sr., East Buchanan.
Coach of the Year — Nick Merritt, Springville