The Bettendorf basketball team returned to the Wells Fargo Arena for the first time since the era of Nicholas Baer, Dylan Sortillo, and Cole Clearman. Since that 2013-14 state tournament run, the Bulldogs have yet to make it state until this year by narrowly defeating North Scott on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 46-44.
The Bulldogs faced off against the Sioux City East Black Raiders on March 8 at the Wells Fargo in Des Moines. The Bulldogs started off close with Sioux City as they fought back and forth for an early lead; however, at halftime the Raiders led the Bulldogs.
Black Raider junior Van Rees was dominating the offense with 25 points on the game, and following him was sophomore Aidan Vanderloo with 18. A majority of Sioux City points came from inside the three-point arc and 24 came from the free throw line.
Senior JMichael Young led Bettendorf in points against the Black Raiders with 20 and sophomore DJ Carton coming in behind him with 12. Bettendorf gave up 24 fouls compared to Sioux City’s 14.
Even with a surge of points after halftime that included a pair of dunks from senior Suni Lane, it still was not enough for the Bulldogs to pull past Sioux City, falling 61-53. When the last buzzer sounded, Bettendorf’s season was over after the first round of the state tournament.
The boys in black and gold had had astounding success this season, going 18-6 total in the season and winning the Mississippi Athletic Conference. The team was headlined by a strong senior class with multiple seniors leading the stat sheets. Dylan Clearman led the Dogs in points with 220, with 50 of those points coming from three pointers, leading the team in that statistic as well. Behind Clearman in total points came Young and Carton with 201 and 189, respectively.
Carton, a sophomore, has showed his worth on the squad as he led the PPG with a 10.5 average. Along with Lane, senior Mark Kallenberger dominated the boards with rebounds in the triple digits for both.
Looking towards next winter, the Dogs have quality talent coming back with Carton but have to fill in gaps that are left after a large senior class leaves the program this year. Open gyms have already started to begin the long journey back to the Wells Fargo Arena and a chance for a state title.