At crunch time, there usually weren't any surprises.
Most people in the gymnasium knew that Sioux City North sophomore Daniel Tillo, IKM-Manning senior TJ Sterk and Riverside senior Ricky Williams were going to get the ball. More often than not, they did get the ball, and something good happened for their team as a result.
For their spectacular all-around seasons, Tillo (Class 4-A/3-A), Sterk (2-A) and Williams (1-A) are the honorary captains of The World-Herald's All-Western Iowa boys basketball teams for 2012-13. Williams repeats as the small-school honorary captain.
The newspaper again selected two five-player teams in each division.
At Sioux City North, Tillo's talents already are well-known throughout the state. At 6-foot-4, he possesses tremendous rebounding ability with a feathery 3-point touch. Tillo finished second in 4-A in scoring (22.5) to Iowa recruit Peter Jok of West Des Moines Valley (23.6), and led his class in rebounding (12.2).
Tillo also tied for third in 4-A with 59 made 3-pointers, shooting a stellar 42.4 percent from long range, a higher mark than anyone in the top five. Shooting 83.9 percent from the free-throw line, he ranked second in 4-A to Jok. Tillo helped the 21-3 Stars reach the state tournament for the first time in five years, where they lost an 11-point decision to Cedar Falls. North will return its entire rotation next season.
Also at 6-4, IKM-Manning's Sterk likewise did it all for his team. He combined outstanding perimeter shooting with a knack for rebounding and creating his own shot off the dribble. Sterk led the 21-2 Wolves in scoring (17.5), rebounding (9.3), assists (4.5), steals (2.4) and free-throw percentage (78.9). He ranked second in 3-pointers made (36) and 3-point percentage (37.5), but also excelled in the post when he was guarded by a smaller defender.
“He's got multiple moves with the ball,” IKM-Manning coach Keith Wagner said. “I always tell him that not too many people are going to block his shot because he jumps well. It's very difficult to defend.”
Sterk's season came to an unfortunate end. He was hampered by an ankle injury in his team's 15-point district final loss to eventual state third-place finisher Carroll Kuemper.
Sterk and Tillo become two-time All-Western Iowa selections, after both made their respective second team last season.
At Riverside, the 6-7 Williams completed a fabulous career by leading the school to state for the first time with a 24-2 season. He finished second in the state regardless of class in scoring with 26.7 points per game, and tied for first in rebounding at 14.7 while shooting 60 percent from the field.
Williams, who will play at Briar Cliff in Sioux City, finished with 1,994 points and 1,208 rebounds, narrowly missing becoming the fifth Iowa prep to end with 2,000 points and 1,000 boards. His rebounding total ranks fifth in state history.
“Great players find a way, and he just finds a way,” Tri-Center coach Chad Harder said after Williams posted 38 points and 18 rebounds in a 16-point regular-season Riverside win.
Another great Western Iowa Conference player who concluded his prep career was Harder's senior, Britton Barrier. Barrier joins Williams as three-time, first-team All-Western Iowa selections after averaging 22.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists.
In Class 4-A/3-A, Sioux City Heelan senior Shane Graves — who will join Williams at Briar Cliff — also becomes a three-time All-WI selection after making the second team as a sophomore and the first unit the past two years.
Two others are repeat first-team All-WI choices: Atlantic senior Dalton Franken in Class 4-A/3-A and Nodaway Valley senior Alex Welsch in Class 2-A. Denison-Schleswig senior Derek Hall marks his second year on an All-WI second team.
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All-Western Iowa teams
Class 4-A/3-A first team
Daniel Tillo, SC North, 6-4, sophomore, 22.5 ppg (captain)
Marcel Dunson, Sioux City East, 6-2, senior, 18.0 ppg
Dalton Franken, Atlantic, 6-6, senior, 16.0 ppg
Shane Graves, Sioux City Heelan, 5-11, senior, 18.4 ppg
Trey Lansman, Harlan, 6-6, junior, 16.4 ppg
Derek Hall, Denison-Schleswig, 6-3, senior, 17.1 ppg
Kyle Heaton, Sioux City Heelan, 6-6, senior, 17.7 ppg
Sam Markham, Atlantic, 6-1, senior, 12.5 ppg
Grant May, Glenwood, 6-1, senior, 12.9 ppg
Luke Neitzel, Creston, 6-2, senior, 11.4 ppg
Class 2-A first team
TJ Sterk, IKM-Manning, 6-4, senior, 17.5 ppg (captain)
Britton Barrier, Tri-Center, 6-1, senior, 22.8 ppg
Brad Baudler, Nodaway Valley, 5-10, senior, 16.0 ppg
Sam Brincks, Carroll Kuemper, 6-6, junior, 16.5 ppg
Alex Welsch, Nodaway Valley, 6-7, senior, 16.4 ppg
Tanner Johnson, Red Oak, 6-3, senior, 12.9 ppg
Connor Moran, CB St. Albert, 6-1, senior, 14.3 ppg
Cole Neary, Carroll Kuemper, 6-6, junior, 15.3 ppg
Alec Sorensen, Treynor, 6-3, senior, 14.5 ppg
Pete Walker, Red Oak, 6-2, senior, 12.3 ppg
Class 1-A first team
Ricky Williams, Riverside, 6-7, senior, 26.7 ppg (captain)
Devin Bates, Griswold, 5-11, senior, 17.2 ppg
Travis Herzberg, Villisca, 6-0, senior, 17.3 ppg
Austin Konsor, Underwood, 6-4, junior, 14.9 ppg
Josh Westendorf, West Monona, 6-2, senior, 16.0 ppg
Jameson Delaney, Woodbine, 6-2, senior, 16.7 ppg
Trevor McKee, CAM, 6-3, senior, 17.3 ppg
Brady Ryun, Riverside, 5-10, junior, 9.0 ppg
Kolten Sefrit, Bedford, 5-10, senior, 14.4 ppg
Damon Sunderman, Villisca, 6-1, senior, 14.9 ppg
Boys honorable mention
Corey Bertini, Glenwood; Nathan Cave, Harlan; Chad Christensen, Atlantic; Eli Cleveland, Carroll; Brian Collinson, CB Thomas Jefferson; Deontre Dean, Sioux City North; Carlos Elizalde, Sioux City North; Briar Evans, Creston; Trevor George, Sergeant Bluff-Luton; Nate Glisar, Sergeant Bluff-Luton; Greg Kirwan, Sioux City East; Cody Netusil, Carroll; Alex Reed, CB Lewis Central; Addison Ross, Carroll; Colby Taylor, Creston; Colton Tracy, CB Abraham Lincoln; Thomas Wisecup, Sergeant Bluff-Luton.
Jackson Baker, Shenandoah; TJ Bower, Nodaway Valley; Tucker Culjat, CB St. Albert; Dan Ehrsam, Nodaway Valley; Shawn Flanigan, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto; Jacob Flathers, Treynor; Chris Halbur, Carroll Kuemper; Korey Kuhlmann, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto; Jose Perez, Red Oak; Alex Rindone, CB St. Albert; Ed Talbott, Treynor; Christian Way, Tri-Center; Sam Wegner, IKM-Manning; Michael West, Missouri Valley; Dakota Woods, Clarinda; Austin Zobel, OA-BCIG.
Cole Anderson, Exira-EHK; Brennan Azinger, Logan-Magnolia; Schuyler Brennan, Nishnabotna; Thomas Hamilton, Glidden-Ralston; Michael Hanigan, Boyer Valley; Colden Hillyer, East Mills; Brandon Koch, Ar-We-Va; Devin Kopera, CB Heartland Christian; Wade Martian, Whiting; Noah McKeever, Sidney; Ean Patrick, Riverside; Jacob Peterman, South Page; Mason Peterson, Lenox; Austin Reitz, West Monona; Jake Roden, West Harrison; Ryan Spiegel, Underwood; Austin Stoelk, Ar-We-Va; Dakota Thomas, Fremont-Mills; Lee Whyte, A-H-S-T.