You might be surprised by what Keota’s boys’ basketball team was able to accomplish in the regular season. But their coach wasn’t surprised.
“I kind of expected it out of these guys, honestly,” Dan Stout said. “I don’t think I expected us going 18-2, but I was counting on us having a pretty good season.”
That was despite the graduation of Stout’s son, J.D., an all-state guard and one of the more prolific players in the South Iowa Cedar League in recent years. J.D. Stout was second in the state in scoring last season, his 29-point average helping Keota to a 20-4 record.
You usually don’t take a kid like that out of your lineup and improve, but this team did, at least from a win-loss standpoint. The postseason gets ratcheted up big time Monday, with Class 1A and 2A district action around the state.
“I don’t know if it was surprising,” Coach Stout said. “When I looked down at our schedule, I thought we could be pretty decent if we found some scoring. I think Luke Hammen and Carson Sprouse have done a great job of scoring this year. Brady Duwa has just been able to use his athletic ability to do things. Sam Sieren has come on lately shooting the ball, so that has helped us out a lot. Teams haven’t been guarding him, and he’s knocked down some 3s for us.”
Guards Hammen and Sprouse have produced virtually identical numbers, with Hammen averaging 16.6 points per game and Sprouse 16.4. They both average 2.3 assists per game, and Hammen is tied with Duwa for the team lead in rebounding.
The trio are part of an all-senior starting lineup for Keota. There are nine seniors on the 13-person roster.
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“It was just a great year,” said Stout, who recently won his 300th game in his 19th year as head coach at the school. “I had a bunch of seniors back, have got nine seniors on the team. Five seniors start, so there is a lot of experience. All of those guys have played with J.D. since they were sophomores and learned a lot with him. They’ve just kind of continued that tradition on this year, which has been awesome.”
Keota, ranked 10th in 1A, ended up winning the SICL East Division championship and tied with seventh-ranked Montezuma for the overall league title. Monte handed the Eagles one of their two losses, with the other coming in the regular-season finale Friday night to Cardinal.
District 11 contains top-seeded Montezuma, second-seeded Keota and a 15-4 North Mahaska team that Keota edged by a point in the regular season. Keota was paired with Twin Cedars in the district opener Monday night, though Stout said that game will be canceled because Twin Cedars is on a COVID-19 pause.
That’s unless the extremely cold weather forces a postponement. Twin Cedars would be eligible to play Tuesday.
“You try to win the first one, then hopefully we get another shot at North Mahaska on Thursday,” Stout said. “Then hopefully we get to play Monte again after that. It is kind of a conference tournament. We’ll take them one game at a time and see what happens.”
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