By Zach James Herald Assistant Sports Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON — The first team of the River Valley Conference North division was dominated with North Cedar and Cascade players, but there was one Northeast and Bellevue player apiece who made that squad.
Northeast’s Matt Haferbier and Bellevue’s Tyler Banowetz are two of three juniors who made the North first team joining Jayden Johnson of North Cedar.
“Matt was a player who definitely improved this season,” said Rebels coach Travis Eversmeyer. “He was our No. 2 scorer with the ability to stretch any defense.”
Haferbier scored nine points a game on 215 points on 41 percent shooting, while leading the Rebels in 55 made free throws. Eversmeyer was impressed with those stats, but in the offseason, the challenge for Haferbier was on defense.
“He bought into what we needed him to do on defense in the offseason,” Eversmeyer said. “He knew he had to get better after we talked about it during an offseason individual meeting this summer.”
Haferbier was the Rebels’ second-leading rebounder with 117 rebounds.
“Matt did things we needed him to on defense, and he had a really good season,” Eversmeyer said.
Meanwhile, a little farther north, Banowetz became the only Comet to be recognized on the first or second teams in the All-RVC North team.
Banowetz was the team’s clear go-to scorer by averaging just under 14 points a game. He scored 320 points on 35 percent shooting while hitting 75 percent of his free throws by making 105 of 140 at the line.
Banowetz’s scoring average was the fourth-best in the division behind Haris Takes from Cascade, Johnson (North Cedar) and Monticello’s Sawyer Herman. It should be noted that those three made the River Valley Elite team. The Bellevue guard’s 105-for-140 mark at the free throw line was also third-best in the North of those who had more than 50 free throw attempts.
He also led the Comets with 69 assists and 40 steals.
The Rebels had two second team representatives — Nick Wall and Eli Kaczinski. Wall gets the honor during his junior year while Kaczinski got the nod in his senior season.
Wall was the co-leading scorer and rebounder for the Rebels. Wall led Northeast with 9.7 points a game while hauling in 128 rebounds. Wall nearly half of his shots this season (80-for-163) while visiting the free throw line the most often (116) by shooting 60 percent.
“He’s a guy who can create his own shot,” Eversmeyer said. “He’s one of the better athletes in the conference, and he certainly is a gifted player.”
Meanwhile, Kaczinski was the Rebel who made their deep shots. Kaczinski, who averaged 9.7 points a game, made 44 3-pointers, which by far and away led the team, but still wasn’t close to the North leader in made 3-pointers. Jacob Hay from North Cedar has that honor with 64 made shots from the perimeter.
“Great shooter, great kid,” Eversmeyer said. “He was our offensive spark plug and since he was a senior, he felt he needed to step up, and he did.
“There’s no better kid with a personality that he has in our school and conference,” Eversmeyer said.
Eversmeyer said his team didn’t have that one dominating player, which made it difficult for the committee to choose which Rebel to put where.
“It was hard to choose between people,” he said. “We were so balanced; we got all five guys we nominated onto All-Conference, and that’s what we wanted.”
Two Camanche underclassmen join Wall and Kaczinski on the second team. Indians sophomore Dylan Busse and junior Tanner Atkinson make the North’s silver squad.
The two are the top two scorers for the Indians — Atkinson put up 7.7 points a game while Busse scored 7.3 points per game while leading the team in made field goals with 75. Atkinson’s go-to was the 3-pointer by making 37 shots from 3-point territory.
The following made the North honorable mention team:
• Northeast: Will Hasken and Damon Diedrich.
• Bellevue: Colby Mangler and Chase Putman.
• Camanche: Brady Beal and Brody Lodge.
ALL-RIVER VALLEY CONFERENCE TEAM
Haris Takes, sr., Cascade; Devin Green, so., Cascade; Jayden Johnson, jr., North Cedar; Jacob Hay, sr., North Cedar; Matt Haferbier, jr., Northeast; Tyler Banowetz, jr., Bellevue; Sawyer Herman, sr., Monticello.
Mitchell Oberbroeckling,sr., Cascade; Josh Kintzel, sr., North Cedar; Nick Wall, jr., Northeast; Eli Kaczinski, sr., Northeast; Dylan Busse, so., Camanche; Tanner Atkinson, jr., Camanche; Garrett Rieniets, so., Monticello.
Mitch Recker, jr., Cascade; Ries Rausch, jr., Cascade; Andrew Fields, sr., North Cedar; Seth Hamilton, sr., North Cedar; Will Hasken, so., Northeast; Damon Diedrich, sr., Northeast; Colby Mangler, sr., Bellevue; Chase Putman, jr., Bellevue; Derek Manternach, so., Monticello; Matt Manternach, so., Monticello; Brady Beal, jr., Camanche; Brody Lodge, jr., Camanche.
Drew Cook, jr., Iowa City Regina; Tyler Hetzler, sr., Wilton; Kyle Miller, sr., West Liberty; Derek Nebergall, jr., Tipton; Nick Stimson, sr., Mid-Prairie; Brad Arp, jr., West Branch; Brett Becker, sr., West Liberty.
Von Glaser, sr., Durant; Drew Lilienthal, sr., Durant; Dayton Hall, sr., Mid-Prairie; Javin Drake, so., Wilton; Nathan Stenger, jr., I.C. Regina; Phil Arendt, jr., I.C. Regina; Mason Hays, jr., West Branch.