By Kurt Ritzman
Assistant Sports Editor
Preston’s district final against Lone Tree was postponed Thursday night because of the winter weather and rescheduled for tonight.
As with most things in life, there were both positives and negatives for the Trojans.
“I think it worked out OK for us,” Preston coach Dan Beck said. “We’ve had tape on them for a long time, but we were caught up in preparing for Calamus-Wheatland and Marquette Catholic. I think a second day of preparation is good.”
Preston’s game was postponed before 9 a.m. Thursday, and originally Beck was concerned that Dunkerton and North Linn would play Thursday night.The winner of that game plays the Preston-Lone Tree winner Saturday with a berth to the Class 1A state tournament on the line. That game was also postponed.
“Now we’re all on an equal playing field,” Beck said. “I think if we can win Friday, that gives us somewhat of an advantage Saturday. We’ve played six Friday-Saturday back-to-back games. So we’re pretty well tested in that way.”
Dunkerton (23-1) has played games on both Friday and Saturday three times this year and North Linn (20-3) has twice.
The bad news for Preston (20-3) is the game with Lone Tree moved from Bettendorf — 43 miles from Preston and 63 from Lone Tree — to Wilton High School — 70 miles from Preston and 31 from Lone Tree.
“I discussed that with the state,” Beck said.
Bettendorf hosts Davenport West tonight in a Class 4A district semifinal. So West High School, for example, should be empty tonight and is 48 miles from Lone Tree and 50 from Preston.
Regardless of the site, the Trojans still have to contend with a 23-1 Lone Tree team.
“They’ve got tremendous shooters,” Beck said. “Bryan Forbes — a 6-foot, 3-inch senior — is quick and a great ballhandler and shooter. He’s averaging 23 points a game. He can pass. He does it all.
“They have other really good shooters and athletes. Logan Forbes is a concern inside and he can step outside. They have four kids shooting 38 percent or above on 3-pointers. That’s pretty good.”
Beck’s Trojans can shoot the ball, too. Starters Colton Bormann and Craiton Andresen shot above 50 percent from beyond the arc, and three other regular players shoot above 38 percent from downtown for Preston.
The key for the Trojans may not be their outside shooters, but 6-7 junior Logan Wilhelm.
“We’re hoping to pound the ball inside, but that’s not a given,” Beck said. “I talked to some people who played them twice. They had a lot of success inside the first time, but the second time Lone Tree gave good weakside help. So we have to be flexible.
“Certainly the gameplan right now is to go right at them inside.”
Preston beat Marquette Catholic three times this season, twice by four points or fewer. Lone Tree beat Marquette by one point in the only meeting between those teams. But Lone Tree might be able to get a good scouting report on the Trojans from Marquette’s staff.
“One thing they have going for them is Jim Squires’ brother is the their coach,” Beck said. “I think (Squires) might have some very good tips for them.”
Lone Tree only had three games decided by fewer than 10 points. Another one of its close games was a six-point win over Springville. Preston beat Springville by 10.
“I think the level of competition we played all year gives us an advantage,” Beck said. “Danville’s quick defense really bothered them (in a 64-41 loss). Nobody else except Marquette gave them that look.
“I really like our chances. I feel pretty good about where we are going and our ability to defend them. I think they’ll have a hard time defending us.”