Two Trojans selected to All-GTNS basketball teamFitzsimmons and Long make small schools squad
Fresh talent and new names highlight the 2013-14 All-GTNS boys’ basketball team this season. The coverage area produced one state qualifier and countless players worthy of recognition.
The All-GTNS squad may look different from last year’s team, but the name at the top of the list is one that everyone in the Southeast Conference knows well. Mt. Pleasant coach Paul Rundquist guided a team that had very little varsity experience as a result of last year’s state-qualifying team graduating seven seniors, including all five starters. The Panthers finished the year 9-13, the best mark among GTNS large school teams, and as a result, Rundquist earns All-GTNS Coach of the Year honors for the fifth straight time.
Trey Magnani had a team and Southeast Conference high 55 steals this season, leading a Mt. Pleasant team that aims to let its defense feed its offense.
He also created his own scoring opportunities this season and helped teammates put points on the board. The senior point guard led the Panthers with 15.7 points per game and 102 assists.
Magnani shot 35.5 percent from three-point range and also was able to drive to the basket for a layup — or to draw a foul. He often made opponents pay for the latter, sinking 78 of his 108 shots from the free throw line. He makes his first appearance on the All-GTNS boys’ basketball team, and he does it as this year’s captain.
Magnani is joined on the roster by two of his teammates, Zach Mulford and Dustin Amos.
Mulford, also a senior, made key contributions for the Panthers both beyond the arc and under the basket. He made 46 three-pointers this year, leading Mt. Pleasant in the category. He was second on the team with 11.3 points per game.
He also was second for the Panthers in rebounding with 4.7 boards per game, behind only Amos in the category. Amos averaged 6.6 rebounds per game for Mt. Pleasant, the highest among area large school players, and 49 of his 146 boards were offensive. The Panther senior was third on the team with 9.8 points per game.
Both Amos and Mulford make their first appearances on the All-GTNS boys’ team.
The Fairfield Trojans were led by speedy guard Federico Ferretti. The junior Italian foreign exchange student averaged 15 points per game and shot 79 percent from the free throw line. His 69 assists and 44 steals led the Trojans. Ferretti, in his first and probably last season wearing a Trojan uniform, was a unanimous selection to the All-SEC first team.
Ferretti is joined by teammate Landon Gamrath. The 6-foot-9-inch senior center was voted the most improved player by his teammates, and his hard work did not go unnoticed. He averaged 10.2 points per game and led the SEC with 27 blocks. His 130 rebounds were good enough for second on the Trojans. Gamrath was selected to the All-SEC second team.
Finishing up the large schools team is Washington junior Thomas Bump. Bump was given first-team All-SEC honors and finished the season leading the Demons in average points per game (12.8), assists (58) and steals (32).
Small Schools team
The only team in the GTNS coverage area to make the state tournament, the Keota Eagles were led by small schools Coach of the Year, Dan Stout. Stout has been at the helm of Keota for 12 years. This season, he led the Eagles to a 25-3 record, a South Iowa Cedar Conference title and fourth place in the Class 1A state tournament. Keota finished the season ninth in Class 1A in points scored and fourth in rebounds.
The Eagles were led on the floor by small schools captain Luke Lyle. Lyle was an all-around performer in his senior season, earning his second nod to the All-GTNS team. Starting all 28 of Keota’s games, he averaged 18.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.61 assists and 2.64 steals per game. His 74 steals and 294 rebounds led Keota. His rebound total was tops in the South Iowa Cedar Conference and fifth in the state among Class 1A teams. Lyle was also sixth in his conference in assists and second in steals. His 507 points were the eighth-most in the state.
Lyle’s teammate Kolton Greiner joins him on the team. Greiner averaged 18.4 points per game, and his 514 points not only led Keota but the entire South Iowa Cedar Conference. Greiner’s 79 assists led the Eagles for the year and was the fourth-highest total in the conference. Greiner was named to the Iowa Newspaper Association’s All-State second team.
Van Buren’s Thomas Fitzsimmons makes the All-GTNS team for the second time in as many years. The senior center anchored the Warriors, who finished the season 21-4 and lost in the substate game to Keota, on both ends of the court. Fitzsimmons not only averaged 15 points per game, but also made 50 blocks, which was good enough for second in the Southeast Iowa Super Conference South. He also led the Warriors and was second in the conference with 210 rebounds. Fitzsimmons was selected to the Iowa Newspaper Association’s All-State third team.
Pekin’s Brody Long battled against Fitzsimmons under the basket in the regional final and finished with a double-double. Long was a huge part of the Panthers winning 19 games. Tall and dependable under the basket, Long finished the season with 230 rebounds to lead the SEISC North. The senior averaged 13.1 points per game and was selected to the All-SEISC first team.
Making his first All-GTNS team is IMS standout Dallas Nye. His 14.3 points per game, 106 assists, 33 blocks and 197 rebounds were all tops for IMS. The senior player finished third on his team in steals with 26 and was selected for the Iowa Newspaper Association’s All-State third team this season.
Rounding out the All-GTNS team is Highland’s Josh Brase. Brase had a record setting year for Highland in his senior season despite missing three games. His single-game point total of 51 on Feb. 7 at Mediapolis was a new school record. Brase’s season totals were 401 points, 30 assists, 18 steals, 18 blocks and 81 rebounds. He was named to the All-Conference and All-Substate first teams as well.
The Golden Triangle News Service teams are selected by sports editors Ashlee De Wit (Mt. Pleasant News), Allyus Fritz (The Fairfield Ledger) and Derek Helling (The Washington Evening Journal).