The Northwest Conference boys basketball Jamboree here Friday night confirmed in most coaches' minds what they already knew - that Newell-Fonda will be the team to beat in 2003-2004.
"Newell-Fonda looked awfully strong," said first year Schaller-Crestland basketball coach Dale Tokheim Sunday night.
The Mustangs, coming off a 27-2 season and a runner-up finish at the Class 1A state basketball tourney, beat West Bend Mallard 48-21.
In other games, a strong Sac City team beat St. Mary's 46-17, Sioux Central looked strong in beating Aurelia 41-20, while Alta came from behind to defeat Pomeroy-Palmer 32-27 and Schaller-Crestland bested Albert City/Truesdale 26-21.
According to 17-year Newell-Fonda coach Paul Loos, his team was down 9-2 to West-Bend Mallard early.
"They came out and hit three three-point shots right away," Loos said. "But we played better after that. We extended our defense and didn't let them have those shots. Overall, it was a good defensive game for us, except for those first few minutes."
Loos said a trademark of his teams recently has been balanced scoring. That was the case against West Bend-
Mallard. Point guard Beau Artist and Tim Seagran each led the way with ten points while Andrew Podraza and Austin Wells finished the two-quarter game with six points each.
"We moved the ball around well on offense and got some good shots," Loos said. "But I thought most of the teams in the conference looked strong.
"Sac City returns a lot of players and shoots the ball well. Sioux Central is a very athletic team and Alta also looked good in their game. Pomeroy-Palmer will play better as the season goes on. They usually shoot the three-pointer well but went a little cold in the Jamboree."
Alta, was behind early 17-12 to Pomeroy-Palmer after the first quarter, according Cyclone coach Larry McNutt. But they rallied to come away with a 32-27 win.
"We got off to a slow start," he said. "But we played well in the second quarter. It was a pretty typical Jamboree game. It's for ironing out the kinks and finding out what you need to work on."
McNutt said his team turned the ball over too much in the first quarter, but played more sound offensively in the second and finished with some balanced scoring.
"We did a good job defending their three-point shooting," he said. "Whenever you play Pomeroy-Palmer, you're going to have to defend beyond the arc very well."
Meanwhile, McNutt agreed that both Sac City and Sioux Central looked strong.
"And Pomeroy Palmer is going to play better in most games than they played against us in the Jamboree."
Sioux Central used it's physical strength to dominate an equally physical Aurelia team 41-20.
Sioux Central was led by Jason Ferguson, who scored 12 points in the two-quarter competition.
"I thought our kids played well and showed that we are an athletic team," said second-year Sioux Central coach Chris Wildeman. "We stuck to the basics and didn't do anything fancy, but our kids executed the offense and defense well.
"And our post play was sound. Even though we don't have a lot of tall kids in those positions, we will be strong there. One thing we might need to improve on is our outside shooting. Other teams are going to start keying on our inside game and we'll need to kick it out and hit some perimeter shots."
Despite the fact that Aurelia returns three starters from last year, it is restructuring its offense and defense under first year coach Grant Peckenschneider.
"The Jamboree showed us that we have a lot to work on," the young coach said. "The most important thing we have to learn is basic positioning on defense.
"We also need to be more patient on offense and right now, we aren't a good-shooting team. We'll eventually get there, but it might take a while. We have good athletes, but now we have to get down to the basics again."
Schaller-Crestland got 11 points from its versatile 6-3 post player Kevin Drake and cruised to a 26-21 win over Albert City-Truesdale.
"I was happy the way our offense was able to execute against both man-to-man and zone defenses, but we might have needed to up the intensity a little bit," Tokheim said.